Saturday, January 2, 2016

Review of 2015 Reading Goals

Happy New Year! The start of a new year is always a good time to set some goals, and I'll be sharing my 2016 bookish goals very soon. But first, it's important to look back at last year's goals and see how things went!

Below are the goals I set for 2015, and how I did with them.

1. Read some fun books I've put off
I read all of the fun books I'd planned on reading (Hyperbole and a Half, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Anna and the French Kiss, and Yes Please), as well as some other fun reads, like The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, The Rosie Project, and The Mysterious Benedict Society. Not all of them were as enjoyable as I'd hoped, but none of them were awful, and it was a nice change of pace from the heavier stuff I tend to read.

2. Read at least 100 books again
I wasn't sure when I made my goals in late 2014 whether I'd become a parent in 2015, and how that would affect my reading. As it turned out, we got the adoption call just a few days into the new year, and I exceeded my count from 2014, reading 129 books total in 2015. This was partly due to listening to many classic children's book on audio while feeding my son; now that he's more independent, we'll see whether I can keep up the same pace in 2016!

3. Rate and review every book I read
I accomplished this, except for intentionally choosing not to rate religious texts (#7). I also wrote a brief review/explanation for books I abandoned, though I didn't rate them either.

4. Read books recommended by people I know
I got through a ton of recommended books! Anna and the French Kiss, Boxers and Saints, Me Before You, Gilead, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, The Crossover, The Princess Bride, The Girl with All the Gifts, Brain on Fire, The Other Wes Moore, Invisible Cities, and The Unthinkable were all reads based on recommendations! And that's not counting recommendations from people like John Green and Anne Bogel, who both recommended several of the books I read this year.

5. Finally finish the "classics" list I've been working on since high school
Complete! It took me 15 years, but I read all 88 classic books featured on my middle school English teacher's classroom border. The last four I finished this year were The Canterbury Tales, Little House on the Prairie, The Miracle Worker, and Flowers for Algernon.

6. Read more classic children's literature I've overlooked
Thanks to the plethora of audiobook options available on OverDrive from our library, my son and I listened to a ton of classic children's books I'd never read before, including The Cricket in Times Square, Ballet Shoes, All-of-a-Kind Family, A Little Princess, Heidi, Because of Winn-Dixie, Mary Poppins, George's Marvelous Medicine, The Tale of Despereaux, Betsy-Tacy, Caddie Woodlawn, and Stuart Little, as well as some newer books, like How to Train Your Dragon, Fortunately, the Milk, and A Snicker of Magic.

7. Read some other religious texts
This is one goal where I failed pretty badly. I only got through the very short Tao Te Ching in 2015. I started The Qur'an and am halfway through now. Still on my to-read list are the Book of Mormon, the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita.

8. Read some graphic novels
I no longer have to say that I've never read a graphic novel! This year I read Boxers, Saints, Persepolis, Maus, and Blankets. Watchmen is still on my to-read list.

9. Reread at least one book a month
I am so averse to rereading that I couldn't quite get myself to do this, but I did use baby-feeding time to listen to some audiobooks of children's books I read in school a long time ago and remembered very little of. These were Summer of My German Soldier, Pippi Longstocking, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective, Sarah, Plain and Tall, Mr. Popper's Penguins, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and Number the Stars. I also reread The Glass Castle for book club. With nine books total, I didn't quite make my goal of one per month, but that was more rereading than I'd done in a long while!

10. Continue diversifying my reads
This was a pretty vague goal, but I did manage not to read only books by white Americans in 2015. (After avoiding them in 2014, I was afraid that's all I would read in 2015.) It certainly helped that one of my book clubs did a "year of reading around the world," with a book from a different country every month, so that's why I read The Garlic Ballads, The Book of Chameleons, Nervous Conditions, The Good Muslim, Death in the Andes, and On heroes, lizards and passion. Some books from other countries I read on my own were Persepolis (and Persepolis 2), Madame Bovary, A Small Place, The Death of Ivan Ilych, Annie John, and Invisible Cities. I also read a number of books by and about black Americans, including Sula, Between the World and Me, The Other Wes Moore, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, Twelve Years a Slave, Brown Girl Dreaming, and The Crossover. Certainly, though, the majority of the books I read were by white Americans, and I'm hoping to swing the pendulum back in 2016.

All in all, I think I did pretty well! My goals did what they were intended to do, which was challenge me and push me a little outside my comfort zone. I look forward to sharing my 2016 goals!

Did you accomplish your book-related goals this past year?

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