Making Your Reading Resolutions and Challenges for 2010

BlogHer Original Post

This is one of my favorite times of the year. I have a clean and shiny year of 2010 reading stretching out in front of me. What do I want to do with it?

I didn't set any formal reading goals for 2009. I told myself I'd be happy if I read more than last year (done) but also back in the dark corners of my mind I had a magic number in my head. It wasn't an impossible number but it is more than I usually read in any given year. I secretly wanted to read 150 books in 2009. I've come close to it in 2006 when I read 145 books (and that year was The Moonstone year). I am looking at my numbers, currently at 118 books, and I have to give up on the dream. Even though I have the week between Christmas and New Year's off there is no way I can read 32 books in that time. I think the most I've ever read in a month is 21 and there were extenuating circumstances (hiding from evil upstairs neighbors who were in the process of getting evicted and were not at all happy about it).

Even more than not hitting my secret magic number what bugged me about 2009 is that I spent much of the year feeling like I was being stagnant. My reading choices were largely unexciting and I had a hard time finding books that kept my interest. I did not read a lot of "WOW!" books in 2009. I was feeling burned out on my reading choices and yet I didn't push myself outside of my reading comfort zone because none of the ideas and suggestions that came to me were very interesting to me either. I attempted to experiment with not getting many books out from the library at once (mostly with very little success...). In 2010 I need to work on pushing those boundaries.

So, I'm sitting here thinking about what I want my reading year to look like in 2010 and all things seem to be pointing in one direction - reading challenges.

The Literary Feline describes what I love about reading challenges:

They foster community and provide new opportunities to expand one's horizons. They also encouraged me get to some of those TBR books that had been sitting on my shelf awhile, at least initially. The excitement surrounding our beloved reading challenges is not only contagious but can also be inspiring.

Now I have to be honest, I SUCK at reading challenges. I SUCK at reading off a list. I SUCK at doing what begins to feel like "assigned reading." I really, really do. I rarely finish them. I'm lucky if I read more than one book off of any of the lists that I make. I remember when collective reading challenges were kind of new. Now there are so many reading challenges that there is a whole blog dedicated to them - A Novel Challenge. It's always my first place to look when I need some inspiration.

The Chunkster Reading Challenge is tempting me. I have some big books that I've been wanting to read except for one thing. One of the rules (yes, challenges have rules) is no e-books and my wrists are just not fond of reading actual chunksters. But that doesn't mean I can't add reading a chunkster or two to my reading goals for the year and read them my way - as e-books.

The RYOB (Read Your Own Books) Challenge is one that I pretty much have to do in one form or another. You do not want to know how many unread books I own. No. Trust me. You don't. How many books do I want to pledge to reading? Do I want to make a list of the books I want to read? Or just go with a number? There are pitfalls to both methods for me...

The Colorful Reading Challenge is kind of fun. You have to read a book with a color in the title. I think I'd like to read a certain number of different colored books. After all, I do arrange my books by color. Hmm I could combine this with the RYOB challenge and read different colored books from my own collection. Maybe two each red, orange, yellow, blue, green and purple? Oh but what about the browns, greys, blacks and whites? Hmm....

I don't have many books about the American Civil War but the American Civil War Reading Challenge reminded me that I have a lot of books about WWI and WWII that I need to read. And um, I may have just bought another one yesterday. (What? It's a biography of British nuns who served as military nurses. How I could not take it home?)

Just reading about the Children's Classics Mystery Challenge makes me want to go hunt down a bunch of Encyclopedia Brown books. Similarly the Nancy Drew Mystery Challenge is making me wonder what ever happened to my old Nancy Drew books.

The Our Mutual Read Victorian Reading Challenge would give me that kick in the pants to finally read A Tale of Two Cities. Really read it, rather than just pretend to attempt to read it while never making it past the old lady knitting on the porch. Not that I've ever done that...six times.

I'm always meaning to read more graphic novels so the Graphic Novel Reading Challenge could be a very good kick in the pants to do just that.

And the Bibliophilic Book Challenge? A reading challenge for reading books about books? Come on! Who wouldn't want to do that?

I think you can see how a reader's eye can get bigger than their bookshelf. The truth is that none of those reading challenges are a perfect fit for me. But I can pull ideas from them to make my own personal goals for the year. I can use them as inspiration. I can use them to say that...

In 2010 I want to read 150 books. Of those 150 books I want 50 of them to be from my own personal collection. Yes! A full one-third of the books I want to read this year I want to be from my own collection. Rereads won't count towards those 50 (though they may count towards the 150). Of those 50 books I want to read in colors so I want to read at least two each red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple books (the white and the black books outnumber everyone - all other colors are just a bonus). I want to read at least two chunksters, which I'm counting as 650+ pages. I want to read at least three of the WWI and WWII books I have on my own shelves (which may count toward the 50). I want to hunt down and read at least one Encyclopedia Brown book. I want to read at least five graphic novels. I want to read more e-books. And I want to finally start AND finish A Tale of Two Cities.

And now that I've typed all that out I want to go hide and pretend this never happened because it is seriously scary for me.

Have you decided on your reading goals for 2010?

Contributing Editor Sassymonkey also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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