Looking Back at 2019 & New Challenges for 2020

Though we’re about a week into 2020 now, me taking my little reprieve before throwing myself back into reading more intently, I wanted to take a little look back on my reading from 2019, as well as introduce my new reading challenges for 2020. It’s been an interesting year, to say the least, and has me rethinking my priorities a little bit going into the future.

Goodreads Challenge

For the second year in a row since I started in 2016, I did not meet my Goodreads challenge in 2019. I ended having read 60 of my 70-book goal. Though that’s ten books short, I read just as many books as last year, so at least there’s that.

The ratio between prose/text-only books and graphic novels is different as well. I read 31 of the former and 29 of the latter. I’m not sure why I read comparatively fewer graphic novels than last year, I never have a shortage of them. I just have to make a point of taking them off the shelf more.

For 2020, I’ve decided to give myself a more modest challenge of 55 books. I want to refocus more of my attention onto creative writing, while still continuing to read and review books. I’ve found a continual reminder that I’m behind on a reading challenge to have a subtly negative effect on me, so hopefully this helps me with reorganizing my priorities.

If you’d like to check out the entire spread of books I logged on Goodreads in 2019, feel free to check them out here.

Scrappy To-Read List

For the past few years I’ve compiled a list of books onto a scrap of paper for the express purpose of crossing them out as I finish them. I find it satisfying. I wanted 2019 to be the first year I actually crossed every single one of them off of a list. I did much better than 2018, but unfortunately still came up short. Here’s a before and after:

This year I completed 23 of 33. Not too shabby, but once again it’s 10 books shy of a goal. I’m sensing a pattern. I think my main problem here is I have a tendency to just cram a bunch of books onto the piece of paper, without much thought given.

Certain things I am a little proud of, however, are the little collections of books I was determined to get through. For one, while I do still have a few I need to read, I have ostensibly caught up on my backlog of Neil Gaiman books. There were a number I’d had for years and years and I’ve finally read them all. The remainder are ebooks or simply new.

Furthermore, I made marginally better progress on my Discworld read-through. Last year I only read two, but I managed to squeak by with three in 2019. It’s an improvement, so I’ll take it. This endeavour will still take me years and years to complete, so I won’t put too much pressure on myself.

This year, I’m changing up how I’ve put my list together. No more mindless cramming. I have more thoughtfully written down 22 books that I want to get through before 2021. Goodness knows why I can’t just make it a multiple of 10, but it should be more doable nonetheless and keep me from putting too much stress on it over my other goals.

Here is the 2020 list, in all its scrappy glory:

SAM_0604

Every book I didn’t read on my 2019 list has been included here. I especially want to finally read The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam. They’ve been on these lists since at least 2017, so I’ve procrastinated finishing this trilogy long enough. I think it’s been nearly a decade since I even read Oryx and Crake, but I remember enough that it shouldn’t be a problem.

I’ve once again added four more Discworld novels, with the more conscious intention of read one every quarter. With that in mind, Men at Arms shall be read before the end of March, and so forth.

The only book I was hesitant to put on the list was Moby-Dick. I’ve owned my copy for a while now, and it was one of first books ever added to my to-read list on Goodreads. I wasn’t sure, however, because I was afraid that its length and writing style might hinder my ability to get the list done. I cracked it open to a random page and gave it a read, however, and I think I’ll be able to manage it just fine.

Writing

My writing goals for the year are fairly straightforward. Firstly, I want to get more short fiction done. I spoke with my uncle over the holidays (who has written a couple of novels himself) and his advice was to focus more on getting shorter stuff done right now. It’s a thought I’ve had before, but having someone who knows better give me that little kick in the behind has me more committed to the idea. I have had some ideas languishing in my brain for a while now too, so I ought to finally commit them to writing.

That being said, I don’t want to put writing the novel to a complete halt. I will still work on it here and there, as it’s been bouncing around in my head simply too long. It’s probably for the best that it takes less priority, though, as short fiction will be better practice and easier to learn from when I make mistakes.


I hope you’ve all enjoyed your holidays and are looking forward to the new year.

Thank you for reading!

8 thoughts on “Looking Back at 2019 & New Challenges for 2020

  1. Though you didnt read as much as you wanted to, I still gotta say congrats. I read about fifty last year and can relate to how much of a time suck it can be when you want to read so much.

    Ooo, please read Stardust and Coraline! I have those on my shelves and absolutely loved them!

    • Oh, I know, I just read them this past year lol They were on my 2019 list. I’m happy I was able to get through them, as well as Fragile Things, since I’d been meaning to for so long.

    • Thank you! And you’re quite right, it’s only that I’ve done as much in the past that I’d wanted to again. I’m more conscious to the fact that I’m just not as into pushing myself for it yet again. Wouldn’t want to suck the joy out of it.

  2. 60 books is still something to be darn proud of, yo! I hope you’re able to focus more on creative writing this year, though. That sounds like a worthy thing to cut back your reading for. I’m still trying (and failing) to find a balance between reading and writing.

    Pfft, multiples of 10 are too clean and easy. 22 sounds like a perfect number! Best of luck with both your reading and writing goals this year!

    • Thank you 🙂 I suppose I ought to take a little more pride in that, I’m just a little bummed out about not hitting a goal. Worrying less about it will be for the best, especially if I can spur myself to write more stories. And I feel your pain; finding balance really can be hard.

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