Reading goals (2022)

Outline of a bookshelf in the page of a journal. Shelves outlined in sharpie, books outlined in a black pen, the space above the books shaded in with a pencil.

The above image is a bookshelf I drew in my journal last year, filled with the books I want to get through in 2022. It’s by no means a rigid reading list, and there are books I missed that I really want to read.

No matter how many times I design a reading plan, I can never stick to it. But regardless of how different my year in books may look by year’s end, my actual reading goal differs from the challenge I’ve set myself every other year.

Ordinarily, much like many booklovers, my reading goal is a set number of books to read within 12 months that I declare on Goodreads. This number is mostly arbitrary, high enough to push me to read if I get behind but low enough that I always hit my target. It’s never really been a challenge, and I’ve been content with that.

However, this year, I decided a challenge was necessary to achieve one specific reading goal I always set myself but never manage to complete.

My goal is to read more of the books that are sitting on my shelves, many of which have been neglected for years. Too often I’m led astray and buy new books, which obviously screws up any planned reading list. So this year I’ve challenged myself to spend more time looking at my own shelves rather than a bookstore’s.

The challenge: No buying new books this year.

This will be hard for me as I’m a sucker for a new book. And I know if I have a strict NO NEW BOOKS rule then I’ll eventually break it. So, I’ve allowed myself a few exceptions…

Purchasing with a gift card

I have gift cards to use, and it would be silly to not use them. Even if a gift card doesn’t cover the whole cost of a book, this is a lifeline I can use for any new titles I just cannot resist.

Borrowing from friends or the library

For someone who is an ardent defender of libraries, I really haven’t used a library much since leaving university. If I really can’t bring myself to read a book from my shelf, I’ll have to consider a library before a bookshop.

Furthermore, if there’s something on a friend’s shelf that they’re happy to lend, it would feel rude to say no.

Sending/receiving books as a gift

Books make great gifts. Buying other people books means I won’t have to completely swear off spending in a bookstore. And I figured receiving books was an acceptable exception to my rule. Plus, this will make Christmas and my birthday this year all the more special.

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You may be wondering if I’m still planning on reading a set number of books this year. Well, another new commitment to reading this year is ditching Goodreads.

I became bored of the website last year and only really used it to log what books I’ve read. However, I’d started keeping a physical record in my Bullet Journal, so it became twice the admin for no real purpose or benefit.

Moreover, now that StoryGraph exists, I can’t really justify to myself using a service owned by Amazon when there’s a more ethical alternative. Originally, I was going to move to StoryGraph this year, but now that I’ve fallen in love with journaling, I’ve opted to take an analogue approach to track my reading.

Besides, this website also fulfils a similar role: a digital tracker of all the books I love and loathe. Any book reviews/thoughts I share are posted here, so I wasn’t even using the social side of Goodreads. So I don’t feel there’s any real benefit for me to use any other website to catalogue my reading.

But if you like Goodreads or wanted to start using a website to record the books you read, I would encourage you to check out StoryGraph instead.

Aside from these commitments, my only other vague reading goal is to share more of what I’m reading online. This means trying to blog and post on social media more often. Hopefully, it’ll be a lot of fun, and fingers crossed this need for content will help propel me to read consistently.

I’m excited about all the reading I’m going to do this year. And I’m looking forward to sharing it with you!