I have been wanting to run a thorough mid-year check-in on my 2020 Reading Goals for over a month now. Since I actually added to my already lofty reading goals when I began the Classics Club reading challenge to read 51 Classics in 51 Months, I also figured, instead of a brush over of my goals, I needed to take a hard look at where I stand with my goals, how far I've come and what I might need to do to accomplish those goals, or even change things - mid-year. Although I am not typically a 'change my goals in the middle of year' kind of gal, I listened to this podcast recently on the value of a mid-year check up of ones reading life. "It's not necessarily looking back. It's what do I want to change moving forward."
I also wanted to take a moment to celebrate my successes, however small they may be. Learn from, maybe, where I have taken a wrong turn away from, instead of towards, my reading goals. And, to set my mind and heart into re-focusing on the end goal.
Here is a look-see at where I stand today?
I began with updating my spreadsheet I had created, a simple 2-columned word document with every year since I was born in one column and as I read a book published in each year included the title of the book in another column for a total of 57 books. Plus, I am charting the additional goals in the same way.
Read a book published in each year since I was born. To put it bluntly, I have read 28 of 57 books for this category of my reading goals. At more than half way through the year I am not even half way done with this goal. The difficulty, I am aware, is that 1) I am not simply reading for this goal. I am reading for my book club that I host once a month and I am also reading for enjoyment which, I cannot lie, often supersedes my goals. And 2) it is more difficult to acquire a book for a specific published year than I thought, in a timely manner. It also hasn't helped that for a couple months our local library was closed due to COVID-19 quarantine procedures. But, it has also been trying deciding on a book for a specific published year. While I don't necessarily want to read the most popular, some of the most popular books I've already read, or I have zero interest in reading. I have found over the course of these months that the 70's were a difficult publishing decade for really good books, or books that I might find of interest and it is the decade I have the least read in.
The 1980's books I have read are mostly back-listed books of other authors, such as The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingslover and The Housekeeping by Marilynn Robinson, the author of Gilead (a favorite of mine from earlier this year) I have read before and enjoyed, or books that have made a comeback, or revival such as Kindred by Octavia Butler.
One positive of the books I have read in this category is the books that I have read that I would never have read without this goal (or self-challenge), such as A Wizard of Earthsea, published in 1968, a young adult fantasy novel which is so far out of my reading genre, yet, I loved it! Or A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. Honestly, I had little interest in Hemingway, although as I have become the best part of a reader, I am sure I would at some point pick up the classic.
Right now, the question is can I make a comeback and actually finish this portion of the goal? How would I modify the goal, even, if I decided to scale it back? Without being able to answer those questions, and while I have less months to read the second half of this goal is a lofty endeavor, I still think I can make it to the finish line.
Modern Mrs. Darcy 2020 Reading Challenge. The categories I have completed are in read. As you can see below I am almost finished with this challenge. I am positive I can complete this challenge and this part of my reading goals for the year.
a book published the decade you were born: Where Eagles Dare
a debut novel: Little Bee
a book recommended by a source you trust: The Poisonwood Bible (my book club recommended this; they actually could not believe I had not already read it)
a book by a local author: Flannery O'Conner's, The Complete Stories
a book outside your (genre) comfort zone: A Wizard of Earthsea (a young adult fantasy)
a book in translation: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
a book nominated for an award in 2020: TBA
a re-read: Gilead
a classic you didn't read in high school: Slaughterhouse Five
three books by the same author: possibly Barbara Kingslover (already read 2 books), Deanna Raybourn (read 2 books), or Marilynn Robinson (read 2 books)
Read a-loud books with Jeff. My goal this year of reading a-loud with Jeff is 8 books. We have read a-loud together, Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman, Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado, Life Without Lack by Dallas Willard, and Every Good Endeavor by Timothy Keller. We are currently reading and are more than half way through, Louder than Words by Andy Stanley. I'm sure we'll finish this book by the end of August, easily. Which leaves 4 months to read the remaining 3 books needed to complete this goal. I am fairly comfortable, barring an unforeseeable surprises, that we'll continue our morning reading time together and finish strong, reading at least, the 8 books.
Between the Covers Book Club reads. This, at the beginning of 2020 would have been a no-brainer, but post-COVID-19 had me concerned. Thankfully, we have Zoom and while we did not discuss our March Book Club book (I hadn't figured Zoom out and we were all in shock mode), I read our book club read each month. We began meeting again in person in June, even though it was a small turnout. I've already scheduled our books for discussion for August, September, and October and I am beginning to gather potential book club books for November and December.
NEWLY ADDED: Joined the Classics Club. Because I am a voracious reader these days and eager to read everything and challenge myself and broaden my reading horizons, I have added another challenge, or goal, to the year. However, this goal is long term and will surpass this year and even the year after. I joined the Classics Club. The requirement was to read at least 50 classics in less than 5 years. I set my Classics club goal at 51 Classics in 51 Months. You can go back and read all about my goal and the books I hope to read here.