In 2016 I set myself six different reading goals and managed to complete only one of them. The reasons for this are too numerous and tedious to go into here, but, in a nutshell, I fell out of blogging and thus didn’t visit these goals throughout the year.
So, new year, new me? Will 2017 be any different? To be honest, I don’t think 2017 will be much different. Reading and blogging have taken a slight backseat in my life and I cannot devote as much time into selecting the books I read. In 2016 I chose my books more impulsively than in the previous years and while I loved it, I also like to have some structure to guide and inform my reading. I enjoy setting myself a challenge and the exposure to new genres and voices that these challenges bring. Having learned my lesson from 2016, I’m nevertheless cutting down the reading goals by half.
My three reading goals for 2017 are:
1. Read 50 books by Finnish authors
For a Finn who enjoys reading, I read a miserable amount of Finnish fiction and non-fiction. When discussion turns to Finnish books, I’m usually the one in the party who keeps her mouth shut and pretends to know what others are talking about. However, in the last two years I’ve been trying to motivate myself into picking up more Finnish fiction and exploring authors that otherwise wouldn’t pop up on my radar. This project has led me into discovering new favourite authors – Tove Jansson, Kristina Carlson, Ilmari Kianto, Risto Isomäki etc. – as well as new voices that I wish to explore more.
But why 50 books? 2017 marks centennial of Finnish independence and, together with the national broadcasting company YLE, several Finnish book bloggers are aiming to read 100 Finnish books in 2017 – one from each year of the independence (1917–2017). I did for a moment consider joining in on the challenge, as I did 100 books in 2016 and could perhaps repeat the record again. However, going cold turkey on English, American and World literature for an entire year is not something I think I could do – or enjoy. So I think a compromise of 50 books is both manageable as well as exciting and will help me to keep the balance of structured vs. non-structured reading. It’ll be a huge challenge for myself and mean great changes and adjustments in my reading, but I know I can pull it off. And after all, it’s only for one year.
I’ll be updating my progress mostly on Twitter and Instagram (@bookarino) with the hashtag #50Finns2017, but I do also plan on blogging on some of the books.
2. Continue the Around the World in 80 Books reading challenge
To balance the massive increase of Finnish literature I plan to continue with the Around the World in 80 Books challenge (run by the fantastic women at Hard Book Habit). I know my reading choices are in general incredibly white and Western –Western European to be precise–, which is why last year I felt it was time to stop the navel gazing and reach out to other cultures. However, in 2016 I read only 13 books that fell within the limits of this challenge and still haven’t blogged about any of them (aside from the unforgetable Compartment no. 6 by Rosa Liksom). So even if I were do devote the other 50 books of this year for this challenge, there’ll be yet another year of world literature to look forward to. And that’s how I like it!
3. Re-read Harry Potter and/or the Moomin books
This is an idea that I’ve been toying with for some time now. I’m not a huge re-reader, and struggle to pick up books I already know and love instead of new exciting titles. Originally I’d already planned on re-reading the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling in 2016, but decided against it because I was already juggling so many goals and challenges. And boy was I right. However, I feel like now is the time to go back and revisit the world of witches and wizards. One of the inspirations for this challenge has been the podcast Oh Witch Please, where two brilliant female academics discuss and analyse all the books and the movies of the series. I’ve only listened to the first two episodes, but I’m already loving it.
An alternative to great Harry Potter re-read, is the Moomin series by Tove Jansson. I think I read this series between the ages of 7-10, so there are bound to be huge gaps in my memory as to what really happens in the series. I adore Tove Jansson and having read her biography, I feel the need to revisit this series and see the parallels to her own life with my own eyes. The series would naturally also count for my challenge of reading 50 Finnish books, although I think I’d really love to read them in the original Swedish instead of the Finnish translation that I’m familiar with.
Whether I’ll end up reading Harry Potter or Moomins, I don’t think I’ll be posting reviews for individual books. However, I’ll try to write a collective review of the entire series at the end of the project, so as to wrap up my thoughts and feelings on both the individual books as well as the series overall.
What are your reading resolutions or goals for 2017? Are you a planner or do you think plans make reading feel like a chore? Let me know in the comments. x