With 2020 still in the rear-view and 51 weeks ahead of us, it’s time to take one last look back at the challenges I laid out for myself over the past year and see how I did. I’ll also be looking forward into 2021, talking about what I’d like to be doing a bit differently going forward. Priorities need some revising, as is often the case.
Unlike in 2019, I’m happy to report that I actually managed to finish my 2020 Goodreads Challenge, with exactly 55 books read. It does inspire some mixed feelings, however, as I read 60 in 2019 (failing to meet a goal of 70). Nevertheless, 55 is what I wanted to reach and I did.
The split between prose/text-only books and comic books is 25 for the former and 30 for the latter. Each being a multiple of five is sincerely satisfying. I had to blitz reading through a lot of comics I’d let languish in order to meet this goal, but it’s actually only one more comic book than I read last year. I’m still trying to figure out why I neglected comics so much this year. Definitely something to be mindful of.
For 2021 I’ve given myself the challenge of 55 books again, just so I don’t shake things up too much. I don’t want to pressure myself too harshly to put reading before everything else, so I’d prefer it be more lax. If I read more than 55 this time around, I want it to be out of simple desire to read more.
If you’d like to check out the entire spread of books I logged on Goodreads in 2020, feel free to check them out here.
Scrappy To-Read List
Every year I like to compile a list of books to read on a scrappy piece of paper. I just like to cross them out. I’d never actually finished one before, as they’re typically pretty impulsive and ambitious. I was determined for 2020 to be the year I finished one.
Let’s see a before and after:
Since my last update, I read Alien: Sea of Sorrows by James A. Moore, Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh, Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn, Maskerade by Terry Pratchett, and Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky.
In the end, I completed 19 of 22 books listed, which is the closest I’ve ever come to completing one, though it’s also the shortest list. It’s all arbitrary anyway, so I’ll not be too hung up on this. I am happy I stayed on top of the books in a series I wanted to get through, at least, namely the four Discworld books I put on the list. I endeavored to read one every quarter of the year and I did. Go me! Small victories!
As I did last year, I intend to read the leftovers from this list at some point in 2021. I’ve already started Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray, though I’ve not decided when I’ll get to the other two.
For 2021, I’m changing up the list yet again. Now, it’s even more refined: I’ve got it down to 12 books, one for every month. I’m not insisting I read one of them each month, it’s just a good number for a list pertaining to an entire year. A restriction I’ve put on the list, since it is shorter than ever, is that none of the books can be a part of a series that I’m already reading through. This way, I’m forcing myself to read outside the box a bit.
Without further ado, here is the 2021 list, in all its scrappy glory:
Smaller than the others, which I’ll just record in these quarterly posts, is my series challenge for the year. First and foremost, this will include the next four Discworld novels I need to read: Feet of Clay, Hogfather, Jingo, and The Last Continent.
One of these will be read every quarter, so I should have Feet of Clay done by April 1st.
I also challenge myself to continue reading other series I’m in the middle of. Those I will commit to are the second book of the Wayfarers series, A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers, the third Hellboy anthology Oddest Jobs, the fifth Hellboy novel The God Machine by Thomas E. Sniegoski, and the third Alien novel River of Pain by Christopher Golden.
Other than River of Pain likely being read in October, I have no set time of year for the rest of these. I just want to stay on top of these series.
My writing goals were substantially compromised by the stresses of 2020, though I didn’t do nothing. Some outline work was done on the fantasy novel I’m writing, though not much. In any case, I’m going to try to take the advice I got at the end of 2019 and focus on writing more short stories. As much as I want to give attention to the novel, finishing a literal novel is a much more massive undertaking when creative writing is not enough of a habit for me yet. I’ll likely peck at it here and there, but I must actually finish things, and the best way to do that is short stories. Here’s hoping I can get it together. We must always push forward.
What are your reading plans for 2021? I’d love to hear about them.
Thank you for reading!