Can you believe 2017 is here? It feel strange even writing the words but I am excited to see what the new year holds. In terms of reading, I had a great 2016. I challenged myself to broaden my horizons when it came to choosing new books and I fell in love with some new authors and genres I would never have gravitated towards otherwise. That’s why I want to take a moment to set down my reading goals for 2017. I am keen to keep expanding my reading material and fall in love with lots of new (and old) books!
I started off 2016, with a reading challenge. And while I really benefited from challenge myself to read different types of literature, I found that picking specific titles didn’t really work well for me. I actually only read half of the books on my list. So, this year I am setting myself goals rather than picking specific books.
Explore Contemporary Fiction
One thing I noticed last year was that classics are definitely my comfort zone. I think the clothbound ‘pretty’ classics trend is partly to blame for this, but there’s something nice and reliable about a classic. You’re pretty much guaranteed to ‘learn something’ from it and whilst I’m not planning to give up on Classics for good I do want to read more contemporary fiction. When I look at the lists of ‘best books of 2016’ that are popping up all over I realise that I haven’t actually read most of them! That’s why one of my reading goals for 2017 is explore contemporary fiction more.
Continue Reading About Different Cultures, Times and Places
Next up in my reading goals for 2017 is to read books that introduce me to different cultures. Although I am a huge fan of historical fiction, I can admit that my reading habits haven’t been all that diverse. In part, I think we read about things we can easily identify with and in my case that’s largely British and European literature. But last year, as part of my reading challenge, I deliberately picked some books that would change that. And it was as though a light had been turned on. One of the best things about reading is that books can transport us across borders, time-zones and into worlds we would never experience otherwise. I realised this when I was reading ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, a book which was amongst my favourite books of 2016.
Read More Non-Fiction
I feel like there has been an explosion of non-fiction lately. Too often I ignore this genre in favour of it’s escapist cousin, fiction. But since there seems to be an abundance of great non-fiction books available I am going to experiment more with it. One of the main reasons that I have chosen this as one of my reading goals in 2017 is that it gives me the chance to develop some of my other interests in tandem with reading. I’m not being too strict with my definition of non-fiction though; I’m going to include anything that isn’t fiction. So, biographies, memoir, travel literature all makes the cut.
Tackle The Unread Books I Already Have
I think any reader is guilty of having an ever growing number of books on their shelves that they haven’t read! The Japanese even have a word for it; ‘Tsonduku’ which means to buy books you have no intention of reading. Well, one of my book goals for 2017 is to change that. I am a bit of a book hoarder, so I am going to try and ask myself if there’s a book that I already have before I skip down to the bookshop to indulge my tsonduko tendencies. I predict that this will be the hardest goal to achieve, because bookshops are my happy place! If you’re familiar with the bookstagram community on Instagram you might have noticed that this is a common theme, it even comes with it’s own hashtag (#readyourshelves)!
Read What I Love, Love What I Read
Slightly contradictorily to the goals above, I want to focus on reading what I love this year. Reading, like any other hobby, should be something you enjoy and not something you resent. I think at times we all feel pressure to read books because we should, or because everyone else is reading them. But too often I find that doing so is not only a waste of time, but money. Reading for pleasure is the greatest gift you can give yourself. That’s why my main goal this year is to read books, in any genre, that I love the sound of. Maybe my Instagram account won’t look as pretty, but it’s worth it!
What are your reading goals for 2017?