It’s a bit late for announcing the year’s reading goals, I realize, but I only came up with mine TODAY so actually, they’re quite prompt in the grand scheme.
When people talk reading goals, their first goal is always a numbered one. How many books are they planning to read per week, per month, per year? Well that freaks me right out; I prefer to read without any pressure on, thank you very much. I don’t really want to relegate this goal to just the year, either. This goal will be ongoing, for however long it takes.
Now, I love YA commercial fiction. It is my favourite type of book and I’ll definitely be reading more of it. But while I was walking around the bookstore today, I had a thought: I want to read more widely. So that is my reading goal. To help myself along, I’ve come up with some targets.
Read a Young Adult book.
This is here because I’m going to be reading it no matter what, and it’s nice to check something off a list. Just today I bought On The Come Up by Angie Thomas, having loved her debut, The Hate U Give, and am looking forward to getting to it!
Read an Adult book.
Again, this one won’t be too hard. My sister got me a box set of the Crazy Rich Asians series for Christmas, which will help to check this off.
Read a Middle Grade book.
Read a Children’s book.
Read a picture book.
I haven’t read much younger than YA in a long time. The last I can remember was How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, which I read in university as part of an assignment, and you know what? It was really good! Why am I depriving myself of entire age ranges of great books? Even better, they tend to be shorter so I’ll be able to finish more books in less time.
Read literary fiction.
I sort of dipped my toe in literary fiction for the first time last year with The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Demaline (review here) and it absolutely blew me away. I’m reading Claire Fuller’s Bitter Orange now, which will allow me to check this one off when I’m done. I used to be quite averse to literary, but I’m growing to like it.
I also got The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris for Christmas. I’m not sure whether it’s considered fiction or non-fiction, maybe somewhere in the middle since it’s based on the experiences of a real person. Either way, I’m eager to read this one.
This will be here and there, famous and not so. I’ve always liked classical poetry, like Robert Frost or Edgar Allan Poe. More recently the modern, less structured and more abstract poetry from writers like Rupi Kaur has found its way to my bookshelf.
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo is next on my list after I finish Bitter Orange. I loved the first book and am looking forward to seeing the duology through. I’ve also got the first book of a series I’ve heard good things about, A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab waiting on my bookshelf.
Another genre I haven’t been into for a while. I first read science-fiction with Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game in ninth grade, and all the related books thereafter, but science-fiction has never really been the first thing I reach for (though I think part of this may be that I don’t usually love the covers). I definitely need to explore the genre more.
Some of the most memorable books I’ve ever read have been non-fiction, including Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah, and Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy. I don’t read non-fiction very often, but I never regret it when I do.
So easily scoffed at, so often unappreciated. I can’t say there’s ever been a romance novel I absolutely loved and that changed my life, but I haven’t read that much to begin with. Besides, I still like romantic aspects of other genres. Maybe I need to learn to read more for myself, just for the fun of it.
I think I might actually hate horror. With the exception of Edgar Allan Poe, I’ve never read a horror I liked. You may have heard me talk about how I’ve been required to read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for school on three separate occasions and still to this day I haven’t read it. I did go through a Goosebumps phase in elementary school, but I didn’t like horror even then. I just read them because everyone else did. However, I think I have a lot to learn from horror: building mystery and suspense, making fiction seem real to a reader, introducing twists in a believable way. There’s skill to writing horror, and I’ve been too afraid to study it. That changes this year.
Read a classic.
Some of my favourite books are classics. Some of my least favourite books are classics. Either way, classics are usually able to stand the test of time for a reason. Time for me to find out why with one.
Read a comic book.
I let my prejudice against comics allow Maus I and II by Art Spiegelman to sit on the bookshelf unread for two years, and then I was bored one evening and opened one up, only to finish both back-to-back all the same evening. I couldn’t look away. Obviously, I’m letting some quality stuff get away from me, just because they come with pictures. No longer.
Read a book featuring lesbians.
This might seem weirdly specific, but the thing is, I try to read about a wide array of characters. Many genders, many races, many sexual orientations, many religions, many nationalities, etc. You get it. But when I think about all the books I’ve read featuring a same-sex couple, they’re all guys. Which is weird and kind of frustrating, and I’m not sure how that happened. But like, if you asked me to name five books featuring same-sex couples, I could tell you: A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Makenzi Lee, Hero by Perry Moore, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becki Albertalli, They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. But ask me to name a single book with lesbians in it? I can only really think of one, and I don’t remember the title and I haven’t even read it. So yes, one of my goals is to read a book featuring lesbians.
Read a book featuring a transgender character.
Because I haven’t read that yet, either. At least not one where the protagonist was transgender. I’ve only read about supporting characters that are trans. What’s the point of books if not to learn about experiences different from your own? (Of course, I rarely read about characters like me, so that isn’t hard for me to do. But you know what I mean.)
And that’s it!
If I manage to read one book in each category by the end of the year, I’ll have read 16 books (and however many poems), which I think is doable. Let me know what you think, and if you have any recommendations for any of the categories, I’d love to know them in the comments below!