- Read 75 books
- Read at least one of the Canada Reads contenders
- Read at least one winner or finalist of a book award
- Read at least 12 books from my to-be-read pile
- 75 books
I’ll continue to aim for about 2 novels per month, but I’ve added a couple of monthly comics to my list and I’ve been reading more and more poetry books (which are short), so I’m going to increase my goal to 75 items. Last year, I read a lot more than that because I was catching up on past volumes of new-to-me comic series. Assuming I don’t find a new series to catch up with, I think that 75 is a reasonable number (and, I’ve already logged my first read of the year).
I think that I’m going to stop tracking kids’ books. I started tracking them partly because I wanted to rate them (good rating are a good way to promote authors). But, going forward (and, maybe even going back?), I think that I’ll just stick my ratings on Chapters and Amazon (and maybe my public library site).
- Canada Reads contenders
I’ve already purchased one from the longlist and there are several others that I want to read, so I’m happy to include this goal again. But, this year, I’m going to try and read it right away, instead of waiting for the library copy to become available (i.e., forever and ever because lots of people want to read the contenders). I think this was my downfall last year – I’d lost the momentum by the time I got the book.
- Book awards
Last year, I focused on the Scotiabank Giller prize. But, there are so many great awards: Governor General’s literary award, Man Booker Prize award, etc. I will focus on awards that are determined by a jury of experts (literary critics, authors, etc.), as opposed to people’s choice style awards.
- My to-be-read pile
I did a pretty good job of reading and weeding some of my to-be-read pile last year, but I’ve still got a big pile of them. For this goal, I’ll count all books from the pile, even if I don’t finish them. The goal is to reduce my pile, not force myself to read things.
I’ll also be continuing with my promises list. Last year, I found it to be a very useful reminder and a good way to add challenges that I didn’t need to stick to.
- I promise to continue to allow myself to quit books I’m not enjoying, but also to continue to be honest about what I quit and why.
- I promise to add more depth and breadth to my reading.
- Quitting books
I’m going to keep tracking these on Goodreads because I found it useful last year. These will not count towards the 75 books.
- Depth and breadth
This is new. For the past several years, I challenged myself (officially or unofficially) to read all of the Canada Reads shortlist books. I did this to try to push myself beyond my own boundaries.
When I was younger, I resisted reading anything that wasn’t by my favourite authors – which is silly, as it denies me the privilege of finding new favourite authors and keeps me bound to very few world views. Canada Reads gave me a bit of an outlet for trying new authors. I knew the books were good and the fact that they were Canadian was an added incentive (while I believe in reading globally, I also want to try and support my fellow Canadians and even my local authors/publishers). But, it occurs to me that I’m still limiting myself.
I decided that it would be best for me to have a broader promise, and to include some concrete ideas. This is one of the reasons that I broadened my third goal to include more awards.
I was going to add the book bingo challenge I found last year, but the group who hosted it seems to have vanished.
Thankfully, there are lots of other challenges. I noticed that my friend, Kandise, joined the Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to explore beyond your usual boundaries. It encourages you to “stretch your reading limits and explore new voices, worlds, and genres.” I’ve decided to join. I’m not sure how closely I’ll follow the challenge, but I will keep track of the criteria and try to include some of those books and challenges into my list. If I like the challenge this year, I may add it as a goal next year.
I’ve also been trying to explore genres and authors that are important to me as a Canadian. Currently, the focus is books by and/or about Indigenous people. This is in large part because I keep telling people that we should be supporting Indigenous authors (and the Indigenous people in general) – I thought it was time for me to put my money where I mouth is, so I bought a bunch of books that met the criteria.
So, my 2017 reading challenge is fairly typical for me, but the promises I’ve made myself will, hopefully, make for an interesting reading year.
*Please see my post, Re. reading Indigenous Canadian books, which I wrote after posting this. I will no longer be reading Joseph Boyden’s work because the controversy about his heritage. One of his books is featured in the picture above.