Looking Back at 2022 & New Challenges for 2023

I’ve admittedly been very unmotivated to put this post together, though it’s actually no later than its equivalent last year. For me, 2022 was a bit of a dud as far as reading goals go. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, my freelance job has made getting reading done a lot harder, more so than I thought it would, and this was felt all throughout the year. By no means would I spurn a job I find to be worthwhile for a hobby, but it gets you down all the same.

All this being said, I’m really re-evaluating how I want to be approaching reading going forward, in a much more serious way than last year. But first, I would like to review just how my challenges ended up with all said and done.

Goodreads Challenge

The expectations vs. reality for this challenge were perhaps the most startling. I had hopes to read 50 books in 2022, which was meant to be a more modest goal than 2021, but I only managed to read 27 books in total: 13 of these were comic books, 1 was an art book, and 13 were novels, poetry, etc. (Check out the full rundown here.)

What I am perhaps most surprised by is how much I allowed my interest in reading comics to dwindle over the past year. Unlike the time investment of a novel, most graphic novels can be finished in a sitting or two. I’m not sure why I shunned reading them so much this year, but it is noticeable that I barely touched my digital collection. I suspect that Amazon’s butchering of the Comixology app, which has been somewhat corrected since last year, discouraged me from bothering. Was it spite? Maybe. I don’t think there was a lot of conscious thinking with respect to this, otherwise I wouldn’t be surprised to find that I only read one digital graphic novel in all of 2022.

This year, I have chosen to commit to just 35 books, which feels more doable, especially if I actually take care to read more comics again. So long as I can pass 30 so I don’t see the last year’s books anymore on my finished books shelf on Goodreads, I’m hpapy. I want to try to start reading at home more often too, which is actually where I read the least, but we’ll see how that goes.

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. Last year was the first time I ever completed a list; unfortunately, this was not the case this year, but it wasn’t from lack of trying. At a certain point I pretty much abandoned all challenges to try and prioritize this list, though in the end I didn’t let myself be completely constrained by it.

Since my last update, which was actually at the start of Q3 (I didn’t bother with the start of Q4), I completed The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig, The Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones, Pet Sematary by Stephen King, and Tracking the Chupacabra by Benjamin Radford.

This year…I haven’t felt like making one. What I’m actually finding so far is a determination to finish this list, rather than focus on a new one. Perhaps my mindset is adapting to circumstances, as I’m more accepting of crossover between years than I have been in the past. Already, I have started reading Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle, and I have my eyes on Springfield Confidential too.

Series Challenge

For the past couple of years, I started to do a couple small series challenges to try and keep up with book series I had started. The first of these two involved the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, which I try to read at least four of a year. In 2022, I only read one, The Last Continent, so that did not go as well as I’d have hoped.

The other four books, related to different series, fared only slightly better. I completely Thrawn: Treason by Timothy Zahn as I had wanted to, and by now I have finished A Carnival of Snackery by David Sedaris as well, which was the second volume of the author’s diaries, but the latter book was actually finished this year. If I’m honest with myself, most of it was read in 2023 as well. I may have started it in September, but I hadn’t cracked 100 pages by late December, so it’s basically my first book finished for this year. Still, that’s half of that part of that challenge done before making this post, so that still counts for something.

I will continue to try and stay on top of different series this year, but I don’t want to set anything in stone here. You can be sure I will keep pushing forward with Discworld books, and I have plenty of others that need attention too that will be seen to.

Reading Expectations Going Forward

For now, I think I’d like to approach 2023 in a more segmented way. Rather than laying out plans for the whole year, I want to set loose goals for the first three months:

  1. I want to read more comic books.
  2. I want to work on finishing 2022’s scrappy list.
  3. I want to pursue books I’m more enthusiastic about.

That last one may sound a bit odd, but let me explain. Oftentimes I have found that, after I’ve made a list, there are books I’m just more excited about that I’m letting sit on the sidelines so I can pursue my challenges. I would set my challenges so that I’m not just reading a bunch of Star Wars, for example. Well, this has resulted in books I’m actually pretty enthused about reading just not getting read. So, for now, I don’t want to be constrained by a list I committed to finishing. I want to read more of what I feel like reading, as the mood strikes me.

As it turns out, those feelings actually align with leftovers from last year’s list, but that’s just for the time being. I’m thinking I may make smaller lists for the quarterly updates of the year too, so I may throw something together by April.

What are your reading plans for 2023? I’d love to hear about them.

Thank you for reading!


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