This year is (more than) halfway over. Which means it is time to review my reading goals for this year. I really like doing these posts because it helps me see where I’m doing well and what I need to work on. This is going to be a long post, so I’m going to keep my intro brief and get right into my progress.
Before I get into the rest of my goals, I want to talk about a goal I introduced a little bit after the start of the year:
Read One Book by an Author of Color for Every Book I Read by a White Author
There are a few reasons why I decided to create this goal for myself. First, I really do just want to get better at diversifying my reading as just a personal goal. It’s something I have felt has really changed my worldview. But also, I really just think that authors of color do not get nearly as much attention as they deserve, and I want to fix that.
How Am I Doing?
As of right now, I have read nineteen books by authors of color. And thirty-eight books by white authors. Granted, I could be trying harder – and that’s something I fully intend to do going forward. However, I think this also speaks to the fact that this is kind of what the publishing world looks like, and that is absolutely not okay.
So, how am I doing? Not great. I am not happy with my progress on this, and I need to step it up a bit.
My 2020 Reading List
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
I recently picked up a copy of this in a Barnes & Noble sale (I swore I already owned it, but can’t find it anywhere – I really need to clean out my shelves). And it’s just been sitting there, taunting me. I’ve been kind of in a slump lately, but as soon as I feel like reading a big historical fiction book, this is what I’m picking up. Hopefully in the next couple of months.
The Odyssey by Homer
I read this and really enjoyed it. The Emily Wilson translation is great, and I’m glad I was able read that as my first experience reading The Odyssey all the way through. I also think the audiobook was a great way to go with this, since The Odyssey was actually meant to be heard and not read. I definitely have a new appreciation for the classics.
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
I have not read this yet. But I just haven’t been in the mood for a classic. I am kind of a seasonal mood reader, so I think as soon as the weather cools down, this will be the perfect book to pick up.
Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier
Same as above. Darker classics especially just scream “autumn” to me. So I’ll probably pick this one up in like September or October.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
I listened to the audiobook of this one – because how are you not supposed to listen to the audiobook when Tom Hanks narrates it? For some reason, I just didn’t connect with this story. It was good, and I did enjoy it, but it didn’t really hook me or pull me in. Not a bad book, and I can definitely understand why other people love it, just not for me.
Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin
I started reading this January 1st. And made it like a quarter of the way through before I had to put it down. I was really enjoying this (I honestly think this might be a five-star book when I finish it), but it was making me really angry. It’s really hard to listen to a book about presidents who were competent and caring and brought the country out of hard times when… I mean, you’ve seen the news. Can we start a petition to bring Teddy Roosevelt back? Or Ulysses S. Grant? (He’s not in this book, I’m just reading his biography right now and think he was great.)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
I read this, and really enjoyed it. Honestly, not the best book I have read from a history standpoint. However, I am so incredibly glad that Henrietta Lacks’s story was finally told. She deserves this and so much more.
Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker
This was an interesting read. I learned things like just how important sleep is (even when I wish I didn’t have to). And that I would very much like to be able to sleep like a dolphin (one side of my brain at a time so I never have to stop doing things).
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
Is it weird that I have a favorite biographer? Because it is definitely Walter Isaacson. I had previously read his bios of Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein, and all three of these were five-star reads for me. I think His Steve Jobs bio might have to make my TBR for next year.
Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance
This was a good memoir, but it didn’t blow me away. I honestly think I would have liked it a lot more if I hadn’t already read two memoirs set in Appalachia that I truly loved (Educated and The Glass Castle). Also, if I’m being honest, while this was a great depiction of how so many people live in that region (which is important), nothing super memoir-worthy seemed to happen in the author’s life. It just felt like he should have maybe lived another decade before attempting this. Not bad, just not my favorite.
How Am I Doing?
We are halfway through the year, and I have read six (and a quarter) of the ten books on my TBR. I think that means I am on track! Honestly, I’m pretty happy with my progress. Especially considering the fact that I have already had two MAJOR reading slumps this year.
Check out my original 2020 Reading List post here!
I’m going to keep this part brief because I am doing a whole post about this (hopefully soon-ish, after I finish the last two books).
Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
This was a five-star read for me. Seanan McGuire is amazing and I love her and I need to read the rest of her books asap.
The Overstory by Richard Powers
I am actually reading this very soon because it’s part of my secret TBR for this month! (Which might be slightly delayed, but fingers crossed.)
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
This one was almost a five-star read, but I ended up giving it four. Still very excited to read the sequel when it comes out. And probably re-read this one at some point.
We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
I will probably read this next month maybe. But I haven’t read too much historical fiction this year, so I’m looking forward to it.
Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power
I have no idea what goes on inside Rory Power’s head, but it is weird, AND I LOVE IT. Another five-star book.
How Am I Doing?
So far, I have read three of the five books I predicted would be five stars. And I gave two of them five stars. Easily some of my favorites of the year so far (the third book was pretty close, too). I will be reading the other two very soon, so I should have a wrap-up published before my next goals check-in!
2020 Reading Goals
Read 25% Nonfiction (at Least One Per Month)
I am currently around 30% nonfiction reading for the year, which is amazing! Honestly, I never anticipated going this far when I set this goal for myself a few years ago, but it is one of the best things I have ever done for myself.
We’re still pretending I didn’t get super sick in February and miss a month for the first time in four years, though. Because I might cry if I think about it too much. Didn’t happen.
Read Fewer Books
Thanks to two huge reading slumps so far this year, I am very much on track for this goal. Which isn’t too hard since I read 172 books last year. Either way, I am enjoying giving myself breaks and actually spending more time reading what I want to read instead of just flying through books to add to my total.
Read at Least Six Classics
I haven’t read a single classic since I published my last check-in (oops). I will still be reading the two from my yearly TBR. And I do want to make the other two classics books by authors of color – so leave your recommendations in the comments!
Make Reading Fun Again
I set this goal as a way for me to relax a bit more and take pressure off of reading. Instead, I started doing “secret TBR” posts – like when I let Buzzfeed decide which books I read. Which are fun. So I guess I am meeting this goal, just not in the way I was planning to.
How Am I Doing?
I have some things to work on, but I think I’m in a good place going into the second half of 2020.
You can read my 2020 Reading Goals/Resolutions post here.
I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge at 100 books this year (which is what I do every year), and I am currently at 62. So I think this is absolutely doable.
Did you set yourself any reading goals this year? How have you been doing so far?