Monday, October 2, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: My status on my Bookish Goals for 2023


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week the topic is "Reading Goals I Still Want to Accomplish Before the End of the Year." 

I am choosing an alternate option, to report on how I have done on my Bookish Goals for 2023, which I shared in more detail last January on my blog. After each goal, I am adding a brief note about my status as of the end of September.

1. Read more graphic novels.  I was aiming for one a month.

Current Status:  I read a total of five so far: two graphic memoirs in August, and three books in the A Man and His Cat series (Japanese manga). This is an improvement over last year.

2. Read more science fiction. My aim in 2023 was to read ten novels or short story anthologies.

Current Status: I did not do very well in this area. I read two science fictions novels (one by John Scalzi, the other an alternate history book). And a few short stories. Next year I would change this goal to also include fantasy novels. 

3. Read more espionage novels. My goal was to read 10 or 12. Specific authors I would like to catch up on are Anthony Price, Victor Canning, Len Deighton, Mick Herron, and Charles Cumming.

Current Status: I have only read six spy fiction novels in 2023 so far. I read novels by Anthony Price, Victor Canning, and Mick Herron, but haven't read any by Len Deighton or Charles Cumming.

4. Aim at reading books on my shelves rather than buying new books. 

Current Status: I did very well on reading books from my own shelves. My goal for 2023 is 48 books, and I am only one shy of that at this point. But I have not succeeded at all on cutting back on buying new (to me) books.

5. Read more ebooks. I continue to buy ebooks but hardly ever read them. 

Current Status: Total Failure. I have read one ebook this year.

6. Read some every morning. Anything would be fine, but I can't read ebooks at night because it interferes with my sleep, so ebooks would be a priority. 

Current Status: Not much progress on this one either. I sometimes read in the morning or afternoon, but only now and then.

7. Read more books from my Classics List. My goal was to read at least one classic a month. 

Current Status: I think I only read five books from my classics list this year. I am far behind on completing my Classics List.

8. Train myself to write short reviews. I don't necessarily want to write only brief reviews, but I would like to master that art.

Current Status: I did make some efforts in this area, but with little results. However, it is still an important goal for me.

9. Complete more short story anthologies or collections. I currently have many half-finished short story books all over the house. 

Current Status: My goal was to complete one short story book a month. On a quick glance through the blog, I think I finished 5 collections or anthologies so far this year. That is not bad, but I may have to accept that I just don't like that approach to reading short stories; usually I just want to dip in and out of short story anthologies or collections.

10. I want to regularly track my goals and any challenges I participate in. 

Current Status: I knew that would be a real challenge for me, and I haven't kept up with it. I have to decide how much I care about this, and whether it is worthwhile for me.

Summing up

To be honest, I don't know that I am going to push to finish any of my current goals in the last three months of the year. In the summer months, I read a lot of books from my TBR shelves for the 20 Books of Summer (all of which I enjoyed), and now I am more interested in just reading what strikes my fancy for the rest of the year. Between now and the end of the year, I plan to read two books for the 1962 Club in October and I hope to read some books with Christmas themes in December.

However, this has given me a great opportunity to think about what Bookish Goals I want to aim at in 2024.



Emily said...

A great set of goals. I've done poorly on mine, but like you I just want to read what I want and not worry too much about them.

Have a great week!

Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog
My post:

Lydia said...

Good job on your goals so far!

Here is my Top Ten Tuesday post.

Margot Kinberg said...

I give you a lot of credit, Tracy, for keeping track of your reading as you have. I think goals can focus and challenge people, and that can be a good thing. But I agree with you that reading what you want to read, when you want to read it, is more fulfilling. I think there's a balance.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I too have collections of short story books all over the house. I didn't use to read them this way. Not sure why that has changed. You finish far more books than I do. I think I probably only read two/three dozen books a year. It once was 3 a week. Biggest reason: the internet and podcasts. And I too have never taken to the kindle. But that doesn't stop me from downloading books on there all the time.

Poinsettia said...

I'm trying to read more books on my shelf as well. I'm still tempted by books at the library though! Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. Thank you!

Lark said...

I did the same thing for this week's TTT...looked back at my January book/reading goals to see where I'm at...and my success rate is probably 50-60%. So not awesome, but not a complete failure. :D

Cath said...

I decided to read more sci-fi too and then found myself adding fantasy as well. I actually felt a bit like I was cheating as I do tend to read that genre more easily, but there you go. My total so far is 16 so that's pretty good. I do want to read some espionage books next year, not heaps as I'm not naturally drawn to it for some reason, but some. I have Stamboul Train by Graham Greene on my library pile... think I might've seen that on your blog? The one thing I have failed dismally at is classics, I intended to read about half a dozen and have managed one novella. I must say I do like these personal little challenges and will do some again next year. I think you've done pretty well to be honest!

TracyK said...

Emily, Thanks for visiting my blog. I am relatively happy with my progress so far this year, and enjoyed reflecting on what I had read. I see on your Top Ten post that you do a lot of blog tours. That seems to provide variety in your reading.

TracyK said...

Patti, regarding reading short story books, I have decided that I just have to go for reading what I want at the time and not force myself to finish the books. I will come back to them eventually. I read and enjoy short stories so much more now than I used to, and I am happy about that.

The internet is a big time suck and I have not figured out how to control that. I don't enjoy podcasts but I think that they are a great resource, and I wish I could get into them more.

TracyK said...

Margot, I think I will have to find a balance between reading just what appeals at the time and having some reading that is planned ahead. Both have their benefits.

TracyK said...

Poinsettia, Thanks for checking out my list. Reading library books is important too. I will always have a huge TBR "stack"because I don't stop buying books, but I am trying to whittle it down gradually.

TracyK said...

Lark, I was surprised I had done so well in some areas, but reviewing my goals made me realize that having too many goals can be a negative. And I think I am reading slower and not so many books this year. Not a bad thing, but an adjustment.

Sam said...

Considering the nature of some of the goals you set for the year, I think you've done quite well in making substantial dents toward accomplishing so many of them. The fact that you have read more from your shelves...but continue to buy new ones at a good clip...and that you find it difficult to read e-books but are still buying lots of those is probably typical of most serious readers. I do much the same - and then throw in a review copy here and there to make them pile up faster every year, it seems.

TracyK said...

Cath, 16 books in any area is great. I read science fiction more easily than fantasy, but the Robin Hobb book I read this year was an easy read, even at the length. I was daunted by the small print of the copies of her books I found at the bookstore, but I was looking online today, and there are hardback copies I could try, and I just purchased the Kindle version, because I know I can read that. (Another ebook!)

I have not read a lot of Graham Greene but I want to. I do remember seeing something about Stamboul Train recently but I have not read it.

I don't know why I have problems with actually reading classics, I enjoy them usually when I read them. I have to come up with some approach that works for me.

Todd Mason said...

Setting quotas for one's self is tough, particularly for what is a pleasure (and should be)...making it a task can be counterproductive, as I suspect you have considered.

The writer and editor Lester Del Rey suggested that one should read only one story a day from a given collection or anthology...I could never contain myself thus when on a jag, but if one sets such a low-bar goal, one can get through a fair amount of books turtle-style...

And I'd suggest (not that I assume you were asking for suggestions) THE IPCRESS FILE as a good (and fairly obvious) starting place for Deighton's espionage fiction, given how it's both good and slimmer than, say, his most famous more-sfnal novel with espionage aspects, SS-GB. I haven't yet gotten to FUNERAL IN BERLIN, et al...but at least they're still there and await my attention.

A friend of mine notes that she can't listen to podcasts or radio discussions or the like too comfortably, because she wants to take part in the conversations too automatically when she does...I have been moved that way when I fall asleep listening to a podcast, and then find myself semiconsciously annoyed that no one seems to be hearing my contributions to the conversation. But I was always happy to have them going when doing a lot of left-brain work (light accounting, database editing) or little-brain work (dishwashing, moving furniture).

Congratulations for getting done those goals you set and achieved!

Todd Mason said...

(When doing left-brain tasks, music is much too much bi-hemispherical for my productivity!)

TracyK said...

Lydia, Thanks for checking out my list. You are doing really well on your goals for this year.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Sam. One thing I realized is that I am picking too many genres to aim at 10 to 12 books a year, especially at the rate I am reading now. I agree, most readers do get more books than they can read. But how to balance reading what I want with having some goals? I think it is harder now because I am open to more genres and concentrating less on vintage mystery authors.

Susan said...

Next year, I need to make a goal to read more of my own books. My shelves are overflowing with unread books and yet I keep buying more! Houston, I have a problem...

Happy TTT!

Kathy's Corner said...

Hi Tracy, Congratulations on reading more from your TBR list. I did not do well in that regard and bought more books than I should have. My problem I was that I was too ambitious. I set a goal at the beginning of 2023 to buy no books in 2023. What was I thinking. Next year I will make a more realistic list. I too would like to train myself in how to write shorter reviews but it's hard. It takes alot of skill but I will give it a try in 2024.

Pam said...

I wanted to read 5 spy/espionage books this year. I've read two and in the process of reading a third. I forgot how much I've enjoyed reading the genre, and hope to get to more next year.

Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

Rebecca @ Top 100 Books said...

I have Read more science fiction on my list, too.

Great list!

Lectrice Vorace said...

How did you like "A Man and His Cat"? Seems cute!

Here's my Top Ten Tuesday list!

Ronyell (a.k.a. Rabbitearsblog) said...

Awesome list! I also need to start writing more short reviews myself. I tend to write a lot of long reviews when it comes to reviewing books and sometimes, it's okay to write short reviews. Let's hope we both succeed in our goals!

Here’s my TTT


Aj @ Read All The Things! said...

Reading more short stories is a good goal. I've been trying to do that too, but I don't think I wrote it down as an official goal.

TracyK said...

Todd, I have conflicting thoughts about whether I should set goals for my reading. This year the goals did stay in the background and I did read more of some genres that I would like to, but they did not take over my reading life or cause any stress.

One short story a day is a good goal, and one I have considered, but also one I think I would fail at, and I don't like to plan for failure. Maybe one day that will work for me.

I have read a lot of books by Deighton. The first book I read was The Ipcress File and I was disappointed with it (too confusing). But subsequently I read all of the other nameless spy books and liked them, and I have read all the Bernard Samson books (my favorite books by him). I read SS-GB this year. The books I want to read are others I have on my shelves but haven't gotten to.

I am always open to your suggestions.

TracyK said...

Susan, I was amazed that I was doing so well on my TBR goal. But my TBR backlog is so huge it hardly makes a dent.

TracyK said...

Kathy, in 2022 I tried to use a method of finishing and giving away a certain number of books before I bought one, and it did help, that year. But this year I haven't limited myself too much. There were several years that I successfully did a challenge to buy no books in January-March.

Shorter reviews are very hard for me to write too. But if it would mean that I could review more books that I read, it would be worth it.

TracyK said...

Pam, I haven't (yet) increased my spy fiction reading from the year before, but I did read more by my favorite authors in that genre. For me, spy fiction is fun and comfort reading, which is why I want to read more. Maybe next year I will also try to read more spy fiction by authors that I haven't read but are on my TBR.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Rebecca. I really want to read more science fiction and fantasy next year. I have a fantasy series I started this year that I want to continue, by Robin Hobb. And a time travel series that I started a couple of years ago and then received several more in the series as a gift. And more.

TracyK said...

Lectrice, I have read three books in the series, A Man and His Cat. They are light, and sweet, and fun. And I love cats, so it works well for me. The man lives alone and has never had a cat, so he has to learn how to live with a cat and care for it. And the story of parts of his past are gradually revealed. I plan to read all of them.

Thanks for checking out my Top Ten list.

Todd Mason said...

You know, I had a vague sense (how things are going for me) that you'd written up SS-GB some months back, but didn't have the wit to check it--and figured you meant you hadn't read any Deighton when what you were saying is you hadn't read any in the current goal cycle. But it's been a time of many distractions...I'd been putting off mowing the lawn till yesterday in favor of dealing with other matters, and the motor on my mower conked out almost immediately, meaning buying a new mower is another task and expense to add to the pile!


CLM said...

I think you are a very disciplined reader! But it is also great that going to the library or (sometimes even better) library book sales can inspire us to read and enjoy books we might not have found otherwise.

I think this is also the goal of a book group. Occasionally, I wish my friends' taste were more identical to mine or would stick to books in paperback that are easier to get from the library but these days if I dislike the book, I just don't read it and instead just attend to be with my friends. I am hosting later this month and we are reading Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow which I have already read so I guess that will give me more time to clean the house!

TracyK said...

Ronyell, you have a great list too. Thanks for checking out my list.

TracyK said...

AJ, I don't read short stories as consistently as I would like, but I have been doing pretty well. I have to be in the mood for short stories.

I was bothered by not actually completing the short story books, but I think I am going to let go of that.

Nan said...

Books on my Kindle (thought I use an iPad) is what help me sleep at night. If I wake up, I immediately start reading so I can't get thinking about anything. There is a light adjustment for nighttime so it isn't too bright. And before I know it, I'm asleep. And if I don't sleep sometimes, at least I am happy reading my book!
And I have no reading goals or expectations. I just read what I want when I want. For quite a while I joined challenges, but was like a teenage rebel, and I wouldn't want to read the book I was "supposed" to. I am happier just walking around and coming upon a book.

Bill Selnes said...

I am not participating in any challenges. I try to read some of the short listed Crime Writers of Canada Award nominees or winners but have given up making it even an informal challenge.

I have started to track my crime fiction reading in 25 book chunks on various stats. I just finished my second 25 review. I plan to keep up that tracking. The choice of 25 is arbitrary and what I feel was large enough for some meaningful analysis.

TracyK said...

Constance, thanks but I don't feel very disciplined in any area. I think you are much more disciplined and organized than I am. I have been reading more different genres lately and less vintage mysteries than I did in the past. I think variety is good but it is frustrating to want to read more, more, more.

I agree that a book group would be a good way to get introduced to different books and get others opinions, but I haven't ever been in a book group. Maybe someday.

TracyK said...

Nan, I sleep better now than I have for years, but I am still reluctant to test out using the Kindle at night, in case it affects my sleep. When I did have more problems sleeping, I would sometimes get up and read and it is better to do that than stressing about not sleeping.

About half the time I enjoy goals in my reading and half the time I just want to read whatever I see that sounds good (that I already have available to read). At this time I don't think I would be happy just doing one or the other. But that could easily change. Sometimes I make a list of books to read and then "rebel" as you say, and they don't appeal any more. But this year my 20 Books of Summer list worked well for me and I was glad I stuck with it.

I think I need to cut back on goals and / or not let them stress me out.

TracyK said...

Bill, I am strongly considering not doing any challenges (or at least not those that are set to a particular time and require reviews). I still like reading Canadian books, and I have a desire to "read around the world".

Tracking specific chunks of books read for stats is an interesting idea. Obviously based on past experience I don't do well at year long chunks but I could check how things are going every 2-3 months.

Speaking of Canadian books, I am currently reading Greenwood by William Christie which I learned about at your blog. I am halfway through and enjoying it a lot. Very, very interesting in so many ways. What I don't understand is why it was nominated for a crime fiction award, but that may become clearer as I near the end.