I love doing end of the year/beginning of the new year blog posts. I always find it really interesting to think about what I predicted I would read over the course of a year versus what I actually did read, and I like seeing what I can learn from that to read more widely/more enjoyably in the future. I’ve already posted my most anticipated books for the first half of 2019 (here and here if you missed them; I ended up doing two posts since I left out a bunch in my initial post), and today we’re going to delve into the reading goals that I set for 2018 and whether or not those turned out to influence my reading over the course of the year.
Before we get started, I will say that I may have forgotten about my reading goals post for a good portion of the year, and definitely did not continue to refer back to it over the course of 2018. So, um, that didn’t exactly help.
Read at least one Catherynne M. Valente book. I did this! I read Space Opera in November and absolutely loved it. I will say that Space Opera was NOT the Valente book I had in mind when I set this goal, though; I specifically mentioned Radiance, Deathless, and Palimpsest. Spoiler alert: they’re on my 2019 TBR. But technically, I did accomplish this goal.
Read at least one Octavia Butler book. Failure. I mean, over the course of my reading life, I’ve read 5 Octavia Butler books, so it’s not like she was an author I’ve never read before, but I didn’t read any new-to-me books by her in 2018. This is one of the goals that I completely forgot I set for myself. That being said, I’ll absolutely continue to read more from Octavia Butler in the future; I just didn’t this year.
Read at least one Margaret Atwood book. See Octavia Butler. I’ve read a ton of her books, but in 2018 I specifically had wanted to pick up Stone Mattress and/or Hag-Seed, and I didn’t. Those are both books that I know I’ll absolutely read, but haven’t been in the right mood for yet.
Read more short story collections. I read 5 short story collections in 2018: Get in Trouble by Kelly Link, The Color Master by Aimee Bender, The Dark and Other Love Stories by Deborah Willis, Children of the New World by Alexander Weinstein, and The Merry Spinster by Mallory (who now prefers to be called Daniel) Ortberg. I think this is around the same amount that I read last year, but I don’t really count it as a fail, since I still read a decent number of short story collections. And I also read 2 nonfiction essay collections, which I place into a similar category.
Read more than one classic. Fail. I read one book that I think would be considered a modern classic (The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, pub 1959), which I really didn’t enjoy. Besides that, the oldest book I read in 2018 was Bellwether by Connie Willis, which was published in 1996.
Read big books. This is a continuing goal, mainly because I really enjoy giant novels but struggle to put them on TBRs because I’m worried I’ll somehow miss out on reading other, shorter books. In 2018, the biggest books I read were House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (709 pages; this book has been on my TBR for literally ever, so I was really glad to finally read it) (and then I ended up really disliking it, but oh well), The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (624 pages), and Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amy Kaufman (615 pages). I did read a bunch of books that were between 400 and 500 pages, though, which sort of counts. Ideally, I’d like to have read more big books in 2018, but I did OK.
Read more diversely. This is sort of an ongoing goal that you can’t really pass or fail at, since there is always room for improvement. In 2018, I did consider carefully what books and authors I was picking up, and tried to read more from authors of color while maintaining my mostly-female author ratio.
Find some new great YA authors/books. Definitely a success! Several of my favorite YA series were ending this year, so I had wanted to find new YA favorites to take their place. And I found a bunch! In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan, I Crawl Through It by A.S. King, and Furyborn by Claire Legrand were my favorite YA reads this year, but I also read first-in-series Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody and The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, and I’m planning to read the sequels to both in 2019. I also enjoyed standalones Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia and Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl. Overall, it was a great reading year for me YA-wise.
Read the ten books from my “Top 10 2018 TBR” list. This is probably the worst of my goal failures. I had chosen 10 books that I definitely wanted to read in 2018, and I only ended up reading 3 of them (An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon, The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, and The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill). I was also hoping that the books on my top 10 TBR list would be 5-star reads, wheres the three that I read ended up being 4 or 4.25 star reads instead.
#readmyowndamnbooks. A success! The vast majority of my reading this year was from books on my physical TBR shelf (around 68 out of 98 books, according to my rough count, since I haven’t done my stats post yet).
Overall, I didn’t do too badly, but there’s definite room for improvement in 2019. How did you do on your reading goals for 2018?