Setting Reading Goals

Sometime last year, I became curious about how many books I read in a year. I have never kept track and only had a vague reference of how long ago I’d read a particular book – last year? two years ago?

So I began keeping a list of books I read in 2012 and was shocked at how short the list was. Twelve. Twelve months, twelve books. Was that all, really? Take a look at my 2012 list.

Admittedly, 2012 was a bad reading year and I blamed it on the fact that I spent the majority of that year planning my wedding. But I knew, wedding or not, I simply wasn’t making enough time to read.

Jennifer Kierecki Blog Reading GoalsSo I decided to make a reading goal this year. My goal for 2013 is to read 40 books. It’s not a terribly ambitious goal compared to some, but I chose 40 because that’s a little bit more than 3 books a month which seemed reasonable for me.

I’ll admit I was late to the Goodreads party, but it is a great way to make a keep track of reading goals. It will tell me if I’m behind or on track, and right now, at 18 books under my belt, I’m right on track!

If you like to set reading goals, I recently learned about a blog called A Novel Challenge which is a great place to find all the latest reading challenges. I love the idea of challenging myself to read books by a particular author whose work I am interested in, or books related to a certain topic or genre. Maybe it’s not too late to set a summer reading challenge (or maybe I should stick to one challenge at a time!)

With my reading challenge for 2013 well under way, this may not have been the best time to read Stephen King’s 800+ page  11/22/63. Considering I could read two or three books in the time it will take me to read this one, it may set me back, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless.

I recently wrote about how good readers make good writers. And now that I’m really making time to read as much as possible, I’m finding that it is making a huge impact in my writing. Not only am I writing more, I want to write every chance I get.

I’m a believer now that it isn’t enough for a writer to simply read a book or two here and there. Reading is part of the creative process.

How many books do you read in a year? Do you have a reading goal? Please share your goals in the comments below!

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14 thoughts on “Setting Reading Goals

  1. I wish I could be as ambitious as you, but I know I’d never make 40 books. I set my goal this year at 20. Between work, writing, kids, that’s about all I think I can manage. Not to mention I’m a dreadfully slow reader. I’m almost on track with reaching my goal. Hoping to make up some time this summer. Great post!

    • 20 books is a good goal – that’s a lot more than I read last year! It’s hard to find the balance and everyone is different – I see people on GoodReads who have reading goals of 100 or 125 books in a year, I don’t know how they do that!

      I don’t have kids (yet) which makes the goal of 40 an ambitious goal but not an unreasonable one for me. We’ll see if I get there!

  2. I found Goodreads last April and I think that I read so many more books now that I’m keeping track of them. Having a book blog also inspires me to steam through them. My goal is to read 61 books this year and I’m 9 books ahead of schedule. I think that you’re right in that reading a lot helps one’s writing. Mine has definitely improved because I’ve been making myself read more critically and to actually define why I like or dislike something.

    Even though I read so many books, I don’t think that it matters how many a person reads. I think that what matters most is how much you enjoy doing it. 🙂

  3. This is a great topic! I likewise only became aware of how relatively few books I read once I made a reading list and starting crossing off items as I go. The To-Read always, always looms over the Read!

    I like to savor books, especially classics, and they often take me 2-3 weeks to read. I read in snatches: at breakfast, on the train, before bed. But I think if I treated reading a little differently– like if I allotted X hours for it even one day a week– I could cross items off the list a lot faster! Thanks for this post: it’s inspired me to revisit my reading habits!

    • I think my To-Read list will always keep growing, no matter how much time I spend reading!
      I revisited my reading habits as well and found that I could make time in my day to read in simple ways, like turning the TV off a half hour (or an hour!) earlier in the evening. Making ten, twenty or thirty extra minutes in my day to read makes a big difference!
      Thanks for sharing!

  4. If you’d like a tool for setting your goals, you can use this web application:

    GTDAgenda

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    A Vision Wall (inspiring images attached to yor goals) is available too.

  5. Pingback: daydreaminginwords

  6. I love the idea of a reading goals! I have a reading goal for myself this year… and it’s 12 books!! haha. 🙂
    Good luck making 40! I’m sure you’ll do it!
    Nicole
    (NicoleCandy.com)

  7. Liked this very much. I’ve kept a list of the books I’ve read annually for several years now. I made it to 35 in 2013, which was less than usual. I find that writing has increasingly taken up more and more of free time. I’ve challenged myself to increase the total of books read this year.

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