Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

Reading Goals 2020

The end of January is traditionally the time when I give up on whatever it is I've resolved to do differently this year. This year, I'm trying something different -- not making the resolution until the end of January in the first place. Let's see if that works. πŸ™‚
A pile of four books: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, Jane Austen by Claire Tomalin, Rainfall by Barry Eisler, and Math with Bad Drawings by Ben Orlin
Four books from my currently reading pile. (Photo: Shala Howell)

In recent years, I’ve been completely focused on reading more books overall

I’ve been setting reading goals on Goodreads for years now. In the past, I’ve steadily increased the goal — from reading 70 books in 2016 to reading 135 in 2019. I’m really glad I did that. It helped me reestablish a habit of reading at a time when I needed it.

Because of it, my life includes such lovely things as 5 O’Clock Reading With Cat, Weekend Reading With Coffee, Reading While Crafting, and odd spots in my day when Reading Breaks Out Instead of Twitter.

A stack of four more books: The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove, Paris by Edward Rutherford, How to Bake Pi by Eugenia Cheng, and The Illuminator by Brenda Rickman Vantrease.
Yet another stack from my Currently Reading pile. (Photo: Shala Howell)

Fix one problem though, and another one crops up

In my case, my enormous reading goal encouraged me to set aside books that required actual contemplation (Sapiens, On the Origin of the Species), or fiction books that fell in the slower going but worth savoring category (such as Sarah Dunant’s In the Name of the Family), in favor of ones that I could read quickly for plot. I ended up tossing these slower reads on my Currently Reading list on Goodreads so that I wouldn’t forget to come back to them, but moving on to something faster just so I could rack up the total number of books read in a given year.

Between the print books, ebooks, and audiobooks I’ve started only to set aside last year, my Currently Reading list has exploded. When I started 2019, my Currently Reading list had roughly 8 books on it. At the time I wrote this post, my Currently Reading list contains 45 books. And that’s after removing all the ones that I don’t actually want to finish.

I clearly need to rethink how I read books.

Five more books: The Snow-walker by Catherine Fisher, The Magus by John Fowles, The Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson, The Likeness by Tana French, and Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari.
A few more of the books I started in 2019, only to set aside in favor of something faster. (Photo: Shala Howell)

My reading resolution for 2020: Finish what I’ve started

This year, my reading goal is simply to finish what I’ve started. I plan to measure my progress by pruning my Currently Reading list from its current 45 to just 2 or 3.

Pruning that list is going to mean reading a lot of books that simply take more time and attention. To allow myself space to do that, instead of increasing the number of books I plan to read this year, I’m setting it to roughly match the number of books on my Currently Reading List — 50. I hope that I’ll end up reading more books this year, but honestly, I’m going to try to be content with simply finishing the giant pile of books I’ve already started and any other books I need to read for the writing conference I plan to go to later in the year.

A pile of five books: The Illustrated Edition of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of the Species by David Quammen, The Witch of Cologne by Tobsha Learner, Hark! a Vagrant by Kate Beaton, Thessaly by Jo Walton, and In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant.
One last pile of books … for now. (Photo: Shala Howell)

Book reviews here on Caterpickles may change slightly in 2020 too

Turns out, y’all are pretty interested in hearing which books the kids at the library are checking out, even if I haven’t actually read them myself, so I’ll post more lists of what the kids in the middle school library are reading in 2020.

Naturally, I will also still review books that my daughter has actually read and recommends. A funny thing is happening with my daughter’s reading tastes though. She wants to read more adult books. Helping her find suitable adult books is proving a bit tricky, as many of the books I love just aren’t good picks for middle schoolers. Fortunately, some of them are ok, so when I come across a book categorized as Adult Fiction that I wouldn’t mind sharing with The Twelve-Year-Old, I’ll tell you about it on Caterpickles. I’ll do my best in these reviews to highlight issues in the book that you may wish to be prepared to talk over with your child if/when they read it.

And of course, I plan to keep writing the “Shala reads books and has questions”-style posts. Those are just too much fun to give up.

That said, I do better with accountability, so periodically I’ll update you on the progress I’m making with my Currently Reading list. I want to keep these updates as short and unobtrusive as possible, however, since the majority of the books on my Currently Reading list won’t share well with tweens. Most likely I’ll just start adding a line to the bottom of whatever the real book post is that says something like:

Number of books on my Currently Reading list: 45

What about you? What are your reading plans for 2020?

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12 Responses to “Reading Goals 2020”

    • Shala Howell

      Honestly, I’m finding a book a week to be a really nice reading pace. I love feeling free to relax into fat and/or fact-laden books again. πŸ™‚


  1. Taking stock of 2020 | CATERPICKLES

    […] I shared one of those goals here on the blog, I’ll let you know how that one went. Remember how back in January I posted that my goal for the year was to finish the books I had starte…? My hope was that through diligent effort, I could prune my out-of-control Goodreads Currently […]



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