Good to go


Another year starts, and we’re all encouraged to plan ahead… Well, I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. I don’t have targets. I don’t set challenges.

What I have instead are goals: something to generally aim for but no pressure other than satisfaction at reaching them or even making the initial effort.

A better metaphor might be a framework: something that provides shape but the cladding for which is more random and the amount of cover more arbitrary. Imagine a big wide open goalmouth, the posts set wide apart and the crosspiece high, the netting a patchwork of different materials and loosely spread over. It’s pleasing to get the ball in the net but, heaven forfend, I’ve never had dreams of being a Premiership player…

So, Reading Goals. (No, not Reading Gaol, that was Oscar Wilde.)

1. Goodreads Challenge

The Goodreads site invites readers to choose how many or few titles they will read over the year. In 2018 I comfortably managed a little over a book a week. I don’t see why I can’t achieve 52 this year as well!

2. Ultimate Reading Challenge

Last year’s challenge to read one book from each of 52 categories saw a total of 39 completed, so this year I’d like to complete the missing 13, maybe even before April Fools Day. We’ll see. (Or is this a foolish thought?)

3. Dewithon and March Magics

March sees two online reading events lined up. Dewithon, aka Wales Readathon, is a new venture initiated by Paula Bardell-Hedley at Book focused on “literature by and about writers from Wales”. And hopefully Kristen Meston at will be continuing with a possibly restructured March Magics — formerly #DWJMarch, and a celebration of the works of Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones, both of whom died during this calendar month, and who will always be remembered.

4. Witch Week

This is (as if you couldn’t guess) a week-long event spanning the tail-end of October and the start of November which was founded and imaginatively run for many years by Lory Hess at Emerald City Book Review. In 2018 Lizzie Ross and I jointly assumed the mantle, deciding that the 2019 theme will be Villains. Watch this space for the planned activities!

5. Classics Spin

I shall of course continue working my way through my list of classics this year — but the periodic Classics Spin that the Classics Club sets up will mean me reading a title that I would otherwise be reluctant to embark on.

6. Miscellany

I have a few very generalised goals, unquantified, maybe even not fully qualified, such as reading more fairytale-related books (fiction, collections, studies), reading more titles in translation (or even in the original language, maybe with a parallel translation) and reading more books from outside the Western tradition. Even if I read just one or two works from these vague categories that’d be a start!

And that’s it! Wish me success! And, of course, I wish you Happy New Year, Feliz Año Nuevo, Bonne Anneé, Frohes neues Jahr, Buon Anno, Gott nytt År, Blwyddyn Newydd Dda…

28 thoughts on “Good to go

    1. Ha! The joy of scheduling means a number of posts can be set up and still allow for tinkering before their published (and I was tinkering almost until the last minute!). All the best for 2019, Dale! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, I’m keen to join in Dewithon, just contemplating possible titles! Pob lwc getting ready for it, I know just setting up seven days’ posts for Witch Week was time-consuming for Lizzie and me so I’ll be interested in how you plan a whole month!

      And Happy 2019 to you too. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Happy New Year! I like the idea of having goals rather than targets and challenges. Thanks for the reminder about Dewithon – I’ll have to start thinking about potential reads.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve thought of several reads for Dewithon, Helen, but I really have to narrow it all down—so I’m sure Paula will help with how to make those choices! And maybe she’ll present them as … goals. 🙂


  2. Your framework for the year sounds exciting! Hope you have a lovely new year.

    My son will be off to university in September which will be exciting for both of us in different ways. I feel excited that he’s going to do a course he likes and is good at. I feel, not worried, but I want to be here for him if he has any difficulties adjusting to being away from home. I feel kind of free to start a new part of my life which doesn’t primarily focus around being someone’s mum. Oops, I started rambling on there – sorry! Happy New Year!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kids leaving home, even if it’s a few months into the future, can be a disturbing time in one’s life (not always in a bad way, of course!), not least because it cause one to re-evaluate the role assumed for so many years. Been there, done that—three times! Not easy, especially as each day, week, month can feel like a perpetual moment in a kind of limbo. But you’ll get there, and it’ll be alright, just not as you might have expected!


  3. Ooo I forgot to say, have you ever read “Jules et Jim” by Henri-Pierre Roché? It’s originally a French language book but I read an English translation. I first read it in my 20’s and was stunned by it. It wasn’t the story or the characters or even the bohemian life-style which was portrayed that shocked me (in a good way), it was the way the writer made me see and feel from a perspective I’d never experienced before. It felt like stepping outside myself. I don’t know if I would still experience it like that. I suspect that sometimes you run across just the right writer at just the right moment and it has a big impact on you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve set yourself some admirable goals, Chris. I know you’ll find some fabulous books to review, so here’s to another year of blogging. Happy reading, and happy everything else as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lizzie, and the very same back to you of course! I think this year will see me doing a lot of rereading too, especially book series, to get them out of my system (as it were) and clear space for new acquisitions. Looking forward to your posts, as always, as and when you are moved to do them!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku, Chris! And good luck with the ambitious goals you’ve set for 2019 – looking forward to your reviews and the Witch Week, of course! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’ll have March reading fully planned out for me, Annabel—Irish and Welsh books, Pratchett and Jones, non-fiction, classics… Perhaps locked away with just books might be a good idea after all!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think I am going to steal your concept of goals, not challenges. 🙂

    Also, I see we have many of the same bookish events in common this year, which is nice. I love the topic for Witch Week and look forward to seeing how you and Lizzie frame it.

    Happy 2019, Chris!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of the problems in human endeavour is the overemphasis on competitiveness, nowadays made a kind of cornerstone of Social Darwinist doctrine: Thou shalt set targets which it is a mortal sin to ignore—get thee behind me, loser! We even do it to our individual selves (lose this amount of weight by this date, walk this number of steps, do this … well, you get the picture). So, I refuse to do challenges, and especially where something pleasurable like reading is concerned.

      Yes, it will be lovely to share thoughts on those bookish events! I’m also looking forward to how Lizzie and I frame Witch Week… 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great plans! I need a list of Welsh writers who are EASY to come by in the US, because I went and looked at that tempting Welsh library list…and they’re not in print in the US. I am now super-excited about Witch Week, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are lots of writers from Wales, living in Wales and/or writing about Wales to count for Dewithon, Jean: off the top of my head you could choose Dylan Thomas (obviously), Philip Pullman (who spent some of his childhood in Wales and wrote a YA novel based there), Susan Cooper (who set part of her The Dark is Rising series there), Jasper Fforde (Welsh writer of comic fantasy), Jo Walton (who now lives in Canada)… I’ll look out some others that should be easily accessible!

      Glad you’re in for Witch Week, what’s not to like about Villains!!


        1. Right, I’ll have to get my thinking cap on (it’s here somewhere, just need to remember where) and try to remember some more. Alternatively, Paula’s original Dewithon posts a good few months back had some excellent suggestions! 🙂


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