New Year wishes


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”.

Shelfie, this time in a corner of Leeds City Library

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.

31 thoughts on “New Year wishes

  1. piotrek

    I love the photo with empty shelves, I want them (and an extra room). You seem to have the year pretty well planned despite not setting many hard goals. I just have some general notions of what I want to read in 2020, but I will leave that for our next (and coming soon) post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad I evoked those happy memories, Simon, it’s a splendid palais d’idées, what with the coffered ceiling and the Romanesque arches. And your motto about one quiet hour with a book is one I too always live by!


  2. Happy new year to you and thank you for sharing your reading resolutions. The importance of reading being a pleasure particularly resonated with me. Let’s hope that 2020 is a pleasurable year for us all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy retirement, Laurie, with its increased opportunities for reading! I’m sorry blogging felt increasingly like a job for you, but I hope that 2020 might possibly have you blogging for pleasure again—when you feel like it! Reading needs its champions and advocates, and the more the merrier. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s not the reading, but the writing which takes a lot out of me. I am not a fast writer and as the years have gone by with my blog and I am reading more and more I sometimes feel pressured to write up everything I read and end up not writing at all! It is a dilemma I need to solve….

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Very best wishes for 2020. I too am trying to make few plans, other than hosting my Paul Auster week in mid Feb, and starting the year off with #TBR20 to read 20 TBR books before picking up any new ones. Then I shall join in whatever takes my fancy, much as you plan to. Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Annabel, and you too of course! I’m trying to curb my book squirreling instincts and read more of the books I’ve been hoarding away—who knows, maybe I’ll do the #TBR20 challenge too, but I’ll only announce it if and when I actually complete it! And then we could compare notes… 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Alyson Woodhouse

    I think that is a wise decision not to set yourself too many specific reading challenges if it runs the risk of you seasing to read primarily for pleasure. I have set myself a few reading goals for next year, the most important of which is to create a blog, but I tend to be something of an impulse reader on the whole, and I don’t want to lose that.

    Happy New Year when it comes, and all the best for 2020.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do let us know if and when you start a blog, Alyson, I’d love to read about what you read for pleasure (and anything else that takes your fancy to blog about, of course).

      All the very best to you for this Anno Legendum Twenty-Twenty, and may you never lose the impulse to read!


  5. Happy New Year (again) Chris! I shall be taking the same approach this year and trying to avoid setting myself unrealistic challenges. Though I’ll probably succumb before long 🤷 And I do know I won’t stress when – inevitably – I fall short of the mark!


    1. I think we’ll find that, if we don’t announce challenges till after we’ve completed them, it’ll be win-win situation! That’ll be my strategy, anyway…

      And Blwyddyn Newydd Dda again! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that for us British bloggers, and no doubt others, this last year (and quite a few preceding it) has been very stressful — politically, certainly, but also In terms of the environment, society, the economy — and I suspect that blogging has helped me retain some semblance of control, even if only for myself.

      But, like a lot of us, the emotional struggle has been tiring. One of the fall-outs is that I’m questioning why I need to add to the stress by setting myself literary challenges, goals and targets. Maybe we all feel like that, because many comments here, yours included, Helen, agree that 2020 won’t be a year of stressing over reading.

      So, when midnight chimes tonight, we’ll be refusing to see the joy of reading reduced to a balance sheet and profit margins, won’t we? 🙂


    1. Cheers, Dale, thanks for all your encouraging words, appreciations and reblogs this year: I’m pleased my musings chime in with your tastes and likes, and I’ll endeavour to keep up the standards next year! 🙂 And a Happy New Year to you, not long to go!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Loved your comment about the angst that comes when you set specific reading goals and then don’t meet them. Reading for pleasure should always be the name of the game but somehow we get carried away with challenges and projects etc.

    I’mr reining back this year too. I’ll do a Goodreads goal purely because its an easy way to track what I’ve read (I pay no attention to the number). I’m also signed up to the 2020 reading challenge on Modern Miss Darcy’s website – read 1 book from each of 10 categories. I like that one because I don’t have to make a list in advance. I’ll also do some short events like Japan lit which starts tomorrow.

    Oh dear, now having typed all that it sounds like a lot more than I thought I was embarking on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hah! Your dilemma sounds exactly the same as mine, vague intentions rapidly evolving into a full-blown battle plan! A good reason to announce a challenge after we’ve done it! And now I’m tempted by the promise of Modern Miss Darcy’s challenge, surely I…


  7. Happy New Year, Chris! So glad you’re planning to read for the sheer love of it, and to try to let that guide you where it might. I look forward to dropping in along the way; your posts always teach and delight. Cheers, Josna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I too wish you the very best for 2020, Josna, and for an enjoyable year of blogging. I’m glad you find my posts enjoyable and insightful, especially as I feel the same about yours! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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