It’s at the tail end of the year that I look forward to what literary delights the coming year has in store for me, what my wishes are concerning books to be read and discussed.
I’ve already put up a retrospective post here detailing how I got on with the challenges and goals I’d set myself for 2019; now it’s time to see if, knowing what I’ve actually achieved this year, I intend to be as ambitious for 2020.
The answer turns out to be both “yes” and “no”.
First the “yes”. Yes, I shall be doing the Goodreads Reading Challenge again, which is to set a figure for the number of books I’d like to read. The number has increased over the years and 2019’s target of 52 — one a week — was achieved fairly spectacularly. This year I shall be going for a nice round sixty which I think is eminently manageable and therefore not ambitious at all.
Now the “no”. I shall not be setting any targets or even goals, as the one resolution I want to keep is to read for pleasure. Because I have the leisure to — because that’s what reading is about — because I have acquired any number of books which I want to read or reread without setting obstacles in my path.
It’s true I want to read more classics; it goes without saying that I want to even up the gender imbalance between female writers I’ve read compared to males; and it’s a given that I’ve a yearning to read outside the Western canon of largely English-speaking white authors, a regrettably massive lacuna in my literary experience. But I refuse to set a figure on any of these categories, as such artificial numbers are metaphorical gauntlets thrown down which increasingly replace all the fun with a morbid fear of failure.*
That doesn’t of course mean that I shall studiously avoid all online book-related events — March Magics, Dewithon, Witch Week, Twitter readalongs, seasonal readings and so on — it just indicates that I won’t stress in advance of their approach, nor reproach myself if I can’t manage to fully engage. (I cannot fully escape a guilt-tripping Catholic upbringing, you see!)
Finally, I managed just six library books, under 9% of the total, plus two books borrowed from a holiday let. I do have a humungous mountain of my own to reduce but I do want to support public services as well, so I’ll continue to haunt our local library — I just won’t put a figure on books I’ll borrow.
I know you will have resolutions too for the coming year (I’ve seen quite a few of them already) and I look forward to reading about them in your blog posts or perhaps even in the comments below. 😊
* It’s been suggested that I have PDA, or Pathological Demand Avoidance syndrome — and, yes, I do fit the profile. Since the cap fits I shall wear it . . .
And now, with a view of the magnificent Victorian neo-Romanesque reference section of Leeds Central Library (now largely dedicated to the local history archive), it only remains for me to wish you all — dedicated followers as well as casual visitors — the very best for 2020, for you and yours, and for the world at large. I think we may need it.