New year, new challenges! I for one love to make plans and plan out small projects, goals or challenges for myself, and reading is no exception. Last year I made a total of eight goals and had great success with most of the challenges. However, because there were so many different goals, some went completely haywire, which is why this year I’m shifting down a gear and setting myself only six reading related goals. For the past month I’ve been toying with many challenge ideas, such as rereading the entire Harry Potter series, The Continental Challenge etc, but I’ve nevertheless decided to go with goals and challenges that go with my current interests and that I know I could meet with just a bit more dedication. Aside from these six goals, I’ve set my Goodreads reading challenge to 52 books in 2016 (ideally one book a week) and I might also sign up to other challenges as the year progresses just to keep things interesting. However, 2016 will be a busy year for me as I will be graduating and starting the job hunt, so I expect there’ll also be a lot of other things to keep me occupied. We’ll just have to see how that affects my reading.
1. Read 20 books I already own. (And buy less books.)
2015 was a year of big book hauls. So much so that we had to buy a third bookshelf to our apartment. (Not that I’m complaining; I’m very much partial to the library esthetic.) Many of the new purchases, however, went directly to the shelves instead of lingering on my nightstand along with my TBR. In 2015 alone I increased my physical TBR with 30 unread books and read only about 10 books that I’d bought in previous years. If the trend continues, I’ll soon have a full shelf of unread books and a half empty bank account. Part of the problem is that I find myself too often prioritising the library books over my own, which is why I want to #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks in 2016. 20 might seem like a small number, but if I can focus on reading the books I already own for the first half of the year, it should give me more freedom to catch up with the new releases and shortlisters on the latter half of the year. To stop buying books would also be ideal but unrealistic considering that I received for Christmas not one but two gift vouchers to my favourite bookstores. So there’ll be some book hauls in 2016, but I plan to overall cut back on book buying.
2. Read 20 books from my TBR 274 list
Ever since starting this blog, I’ve read yearly around 20 books from my massive TBR 274. I’m currently at 92/274, so with this pace it should take me around nine years (?!) to read the entire list. Last year I managed to read 18 books, so this year I want to repeat the challenge but aim a bit higher. As my reading has begun to shift more towards fiction published in the 21st century, it’s good to have something to inspire me to pick up also the classics. There are still so many that I want to read!
3. Read at least 4 of the following :
- Anna Karenina by Fjodor Dostoyevski
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt
- The Illiad/The Odyssey/Medea/Metamorphoses or other classic text
- Middlemarch by George Eliot
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- A book by Kazuo Ishiguro
- A book by Charles Dickens
- A book by Haruki Murakami
I don’t know about you guys, but there are many classics or authors that I keep meaning to read but never do. This is mostly because the books are either big or sound very challenging. Thus I decided to write down a list of five classics that I would like to read soon and challenge myself to prioritise them this year. In true bookworm style I, however, ended up with six books and three authors. To read all of them might be a bit of a stretch, so I’m setting the bar to four books and aiming higher. Some of the books in this list might also count for my TBR 274 goal and some would classify to the translations goal, so I hope to tick off many of these in the coming year.
4. Read 16 books in translation (either in Finnish or English translation)
As a Translation Studies major I’ve always known that I read an appalling low number of books in translation. Last year only 10% of the books I read were translated, which is why I want to put more emphasis on reading translated fiction. In 2016 I want to read more books in translation, whether it be English books in Finnish translation or Russian books in English translation. Reading one book a month would be be good, but considering that I finished 15 books in translation in 2014, I decided to aim for 16 titles.
5. Read at least one book in Swedish and in German
This one’s a repeat from the previous years. I want to continue reading literature in other languages that I know and to keep up my reading comprehension in languages that I don’t use on a daily or weekly basis. Especially with German I know that I’m beginning to forget more and more, which is why in order to keep my language skills active I should keep reading texts in German. The Swedish side of this goal should be easier to meet as I will be taking a Swedish literature course in the spring.
6. Read 16 books by Finnish authors
The year 2015 was “The Year of Book” in Finland and to celebrate Finnish literature I vowed to read 15 books written by Finnish authors. Overall it was an amazing year and I soared through the challenge with a total of 21 books. Although meeting the goal was easier than expected, the challenge nevertheless inspired me to seek out new authors and helped me to discover new and interesting voices. This year my goal is to read at least 16 books by Finnish authors. I already have a few titles in mind, but for the most part I plan to target especially books that have been translated into English.
Lastly I have one goal that I’m not going to give a number for because it is simply this: Be more active in commenting. I am sometimes embarassingly slow when it comes to replying to your lovely comments and also guilty of just clicking the Like button after reading a blog post. Clicking on the button is, however, not as fruitful as commenting because it means that I often miss the insightful discussions. In 2016 I want to give more to other people. Most of the bloggers I follow are writing such intelligent and thoughtful posts, that I want to let them know that I appreciate what they are doing. After all, it’s the social element of blogging that makes this such a lovely hobby!
So there you have it! These are my six reading related goals for 2016. Let me know in the comments what are your reading resolutions for 2016 or which Murakami/Ishiguro novel I should start with. I’ve heard Norwegian Wood is a good place to start with Murakami, but for Ishiguro I have no clue. I hope you had a lovely weekend! x
These goals should make for a very interesting 2016! I would recommend Norwegian Wood for Murakami and Remains of the Day for Ishiguro, in both instances I think this is their most approachable work, but I haven’t read all they’ve written so better-read bloggers may have more insightful suggestions!
I’m going to follow your lead and also resolve to comment more frequently. 2015 has been manically busy & sometimes I click the like button to show I’ve stopped by & enjoyed, but I know it would be so much better to join in the conversation – hopefully 2016 will be quieter with more time for joining in 🙂
Thank you for your recommendations! I’ll make a note to look up Remains fo the Day during my next library visit to see if they have a copy. And yes, when you’re busy it’s sometimes easier to just check in and then leave without commenting. At first I kept promising myself that I’d go back and comment, but that honestly never happened. Good luck with your resolution! 🙂
Last year I set myself the challenge to read a Dickens book. I’m not a fan of his in general but really enjoyed Bleak House. Great Expectations is also brilliant.
I’m currently reading Middlemarch. Progress is slow as I keep getting distracted. I do however enjoy it. Good luck if you do read it and don’t be put off by what some people say about it. The size I think is people’s main problem.
I loved Bleak House! It’s one of his best. I have only seen an old film adaptation of Great Expectations, so maybe I should consider that as my next Dickens novel.
The size of Middlemarch is honestly daunting, but if the storyline is interesting enough, it should be no problem. I look forward to reading your thoughts on it once you finish! 🙂
Great Expectations is probably his best. It certainly has some of his best characters.
I think the only way to do Middlemarch is slowly interspersing with other books. I know personally I’d end up getting fed up with otherwise because I’d be eager to read other stuff.
That’s what I tend to do as well. Although I generally dislike reading more than one book at a time, it helps when reading chunkier, slow-going tomes.
I can sympatise since I too fell behind on challenges. And also did lots of book buying. Given yiur interest in Finnish literature I’d love to get yiur reactions to this post. Would you agree with those recommendations?
Thank you for your lovely comment. Sometimes – feels like most of the time – life gets in the way of reading challenges, but I’m trying not to beat myself up for it.
Oo, I didn’t realise you’d written a post about Finnish literature! I shall definitely read it and let you know if I have anything to add to your list of recommendations! 🙂
What an interesting list of goals – good luck with them!
These sound like good resolutions – I’m impressed by the range of languages you have, being completely monolingual myself. I used to be able to read some French but I’ve pretty much lost that ability through lack of practice, sadly. I’d second Remains of the Day for Ishiguro (it’s the only one of his I’ve read admittedly!) and do hope you’ll find time to squeeze in some Dickens…
Thanks 🙂 I studied French for one year, by the end of which I could read magazine articles with the help of a dictionary, but I too fell out of it quite quickly. Maybe you should try reading something short and easy-to-understand to see how much you still understand? Le Petite Prince is the first one that comes to mind. It also helps if you already know the story beforehand, so fairytales in general might work.
And thank you for the recommendation! I always try to squeeze in some Dickens, so maybe I should add Great Expectations to the list…
The Secret History is freaking brilliant. I do hope you get around to reading it. I know it’s daunting but I remember that I flew through it in two days because it was unputdownable! 🙂
Good luck with your goals. ❤
Thanks for the recommendation! I’ve heard nothing but praise for The Secret History, so I’m quite sure it’ll be one of the books I do end up reading. Unputdownable sounds perfect to me 😉
Hyviä haasteita. Itsekin aion (jälleen kerran) lukea enemmän oman hyllyn ja ostaa vähemmän kirjoja. Ja voi hitsit, lue ihmeessä Anna Karenina! Se on massiivinen, eikä alkuun ehkä ihan helppo, mutta ainakin minä rakastin sitä. Yksi lempikirjani. Samoin Tarttin kirja on hyvä. Ja Ishiguron kirjat ovat olleet mieleeni 🙂
Kiitos suosituksesta! Anna Karenina on ollut lukulistalla jo niin pitkään, että alkaakin olla jo aika lukea se. Toivottavasti ihastun siihen yhtä paljon kuin säkin 🙂
Wow, those look like some major reading challenges you’ve set yourself, but what great titles you have lined up! I’m a huge Murakami fan, but was disappointed with ‘Norwegian Wood’. I’d recommend ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’ as you get a lot more of the crazy surrealism that Murakami does so well in that, and it’s such an engaging read. Here’s to a year full of great books! 🙂
Thanks! I’ll keep that in recommendation in mind in case I can’t find a copy of Norwegian Wood! Or maybe I’ll read both to experience the different sides of Murakami 😉
Oh, I love Anna Karenina and The Secret History so much I’ve read them each about three times. Which is to say, I hope you like them as well as I did. I plan to read Anna Karenina yet again in 2016, in fact I want to read many of my books again.
I join you in wanting to get to Middlemarch.
And, I’m listening to Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant as I drive to work, and it’s fantastic. Although he’s probably going to be best remembered for Never Let Me Go.
Glad to hear that you loved both Anna Karenina and The Secret History! With all this praise, I’m getting super excited about both of the titles.
I hope at least one of us will get to Middlemarch this year! Just kidding 😀 I hope you’ll enjoy it if you do get around to reading it.
Happy 2016 to you and hope you enjoy your reading this year. Lolita and Anna Karenina is definitely on my list for this year!!
Thank you! I hope you’ll have a wonderful reading year as well 🙂