We have reached the middle of the year (plus a month because I totally forgot about this post), which means it is time to take a look at my goals and see if I’m actually on track to meet them or totally fail. My prediction is that I’m actually doing pretty well, but it really could go either way.
I know this probably isn’t the most exciting post, but it is helpful for me, because it determines what I really need to focus more on in the second half of the year. So lets all see where I’m succeeding and really not succeeding so far this year. Starting with my 2021 reading list.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
I started this one, and even though I was enjoying it, it got put on hold. Honestly, I was being really ambitious with this one because it is a massive classic. And while it is entertaining, the pandemic has really taken a toll on my ability to concentrate for long periods of time. I am working on it, and am still planning to finish The Count of Monte Cristo the year, but it might just take me the entire year.
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
I read this one and… it was okay. I wanted to love it so much, it’s such a fun story, but it just didn’t click with me. I’m not quite sure why this was important enough to me to go on my master reading list for the year – these are usually books at the very top of my reading list – but whatever.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
I also read this one and didn’t like it quite as much as I wanted to. This is just one of those books I felt like I should read at some point, and putting a book on one of my reading lists is a fairly good way to get my stubborn brain to actually read it. Clearly it worked, but it couldn’t make me love this book. Again, it was fine.
A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum
Now this book, I did love. It has a decent chance of being on a favorites list at the end of this year. Five stars.
I Am a Cat by Natsume Sōseki
This is the book that inspired the reading experiment in which I read five Japanese bestsellers that are all about cats. It was probably my most fun reading experiment that I’ve done in a while, just because it’s such a ridiculous idea. And I’m sure no one is surprised to find out this is one of the books I liked the least. It was fine. I really need to get better at choosing books to read.
Now, for the nonfiction!
A Promised Land by Barack Obama
I have not read this one yet, but I have big plans for it at the end of the year (hint hint). I’ve heard kind of mixed things about it, but I am still really curious.
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Haven’t read this one yet, either. But it just feels like a fall book in my brain (don’t ask me how that works, I don’t know), so I’ll probably add it to my Nonfiction November reading list.
Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight
Again, long heavy nonfiction equals cozy weather in my brain, so I’ll get to it when it is not ninety degrees outside. But I am excited about this one, because I do really need to read more diverse biographies (and I read Fredrick Douglass’s memoir/narrative earlier this year).
Barracooon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston
I did read this one! Not quite what I was expecting, but still interesting. It’s also a valuable piece of history, and I am glad that books like this exist.
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
One of my unofficial goals this year is to read more by indigenous authors, because I realized going into 2021 that I don’t really pick up many indigenous books. This is not a book by an indigenous author, but it is a book about a period of time that very much impacted the Osage Nation. I love true crime, so this was right up my alley. Not my favorite writing-wise, but it was interesting to learn about.
How Am I Doing?
Not too shabby! Halfway through the year and I have read six out of the ten books on my list. I did leave all the scary ones for last, though, so I’m not doing quite as well as it would appear. Still, it’s doable. I’m only a teeny tiny bit worried.
Now, onto my….
Read at least one nonfiction book a month
This is the fourth or fifth year I’ve had this as a goal… and I’m not really sure I need to make it a goal anymore because it has truly become a habit. Which is awesome! I pick up quite a bit of nonfiction without even having to think about it. Just a few days ago, I thought “wait, did I read a nonfiction book yet this month?” Turns out, I’d read three and didn’t even notice.
But I was being ambitious this year and added that I wanted to shoot for a total of 25% of my reading being nonfiction. Which I haven’t ever been able to hit, so it was kind of a lofty goal. But I just did the math and so far this year I am at exactly 25%. Without even trying. I’m giving myself a high five, because that is awesome! I didn’t even realize it until I looked at my stats for the year. Look at me achieving goals without even trying! I don’t think this will be an issue for the rest of the year, but I would really like to stay at 25%.
Read six classics
If only the me from the end of 2020 had any idea of what this year would bring. Because 2021 me is laughing at this goal. By the mid point of 2021, I have not only met my goal, I have exceeded it. By double. That’s right, I’ve already read thirteen classics this year. And I’m on track to at least triple my goal (my August reading experiment is mostly a ton of giant classics). Yes, my brain hurts and I’m probably going crazy. But I blew this goal out of the water, so I’m fine with it.
Since I have exceeded my goal for so much, I am going to increase it. By a lot. Instead of six classics, my new goal for the year is twenty. I think with my August reading experiment and maybe one or two more (I haven’t exactly counted them all yet), I won’t have a problem. It’s a lot more than I was intending to read this year, but I’m kind of proud of myself.
Read at least 50% by POC Authors
Last year, I wrote an entire post about why this is a lot hard than it should be. I took a hard look at what I was reading and why, and also why only 34% of the books I read were by authors of color even though I was actually trying to read more of them. So I promised to try harder in 2021… and I’m actually doing it!
This is not at all perfect, and I can definitely be reading more diversely as a whole, but I am currently at… drumroll please… 53% books by authors of color. I’ve made a lot of little changes to be able to pull this off, and I’m proud of my progress. I’m hoping to increase that percentage (at least by a little bit) by the end of 2021, but I’m definitely happy with the massive jump from last year.
Read books from at least ten different countries
I set myself this goal to try and read more books set outside the US. I love learning about different cultures through books. I also apparently need to set myself more challenging goals, because I have read books set in thirteen different countries already. I even did a whole reading experiment where I read books just set in Japan (they were all about cats, but it still counts!).
I feel like I need to make this one more difficult. I can read books from seven more countries and make it an even twenty, right? Should be doable. I think. I am probably going to regret this later, but let’s do it!
Read every day
As crazy as it sounds, I have actually been doing this! Whether it’s listening to an audiobook in the car, reading an entire novel, or just fitting in a couple of pages before bed, I have read at least a little bit in some form of book every day so far in 2021. This was definitely not an easy goal, but I do think it’s creating better reading habits. I probably won’t keep this one going next year, but hopefully by then I’ll have a good handle on that little voice in my head that keeps reminding me to stop scrolling through TikTok and read a book.
Read 100 books
I am currently at 75. Which means, according to Goodreads, I am 18 books ahead of schedule. Not bad. By the time I finish all the books I’m planning to this year, I will definitely be over 100. Probably close to 140. Which is great. Honestly, last year taught me to not be so concerned with the number of books I’m reading so much as whether I’m enjoying reading (which is a whole different story this year), so I’m fine with anything. But it is nice to know I won’t have to stress out too much over meeting this goal.
How Am I Doing?
I’m actually really happy with my progress on these goals. I increased two of them, and I think I’m going to end up feeling proud of my reading at the end of this year.
Let’s see if the same is true for my…
Publish one reading experiment post each month
I’ve definitely been doing this. It has taken over most of my reading. They’re really fun to do, but I am realizing I might want to rethink this going into next year. These posts are A LOT of work, and they involve me using my limited reading time to read books I might not totally enjoy. Which makes for more fun posts, but I think I need to find a better balance between publishing cool blog posts and reading books just because I feel like it.
Share and talk about more diverse books
I think I’ve been doing this (I haven’t been tracking it, so I’m not totally sure). I have been trying to. And by nature of me reading more diverse books, I do talk about more of them in my wrap ups at least. Maybe I need to come up with some more posts about diverse books for later in the year.
Write more fun and/or interesting posts
Yeah, other than my reading experiments, I feel like I’ve been kind of failing in this department. I’m honestly just really, really tired. I’m feeling burnt out, not necessarily with blogging or work, but just with life in general. All of that isn’t the most helpful when trying to think of new and exciting things. I can definitely do better. I just need more sleep. I think month straight might do the trick.
Give myself breaks when I need them
I have definitely been doing this! I have taken a lot of breaks this year (including earlier this week). There are some days where I just don’t feel like blogging at all. As fun as it is, it’s definitely work. There have been a few times I’ve thought about quitting. But I just love being part of this community too much and I don’t think I’d know what to do with myself. But breaks have been necessary, and I’ve really appreciated not feeling like I’m failing when I do take them.
How Am I Doing?
I guess I’m doing okay? My blog definitely isn’t where I’d hoped it would be by this time. I’m not really sure how to make it better, but I’ll work on it. After August and the reading experiment from hell (I seriously come up with the most difficult post ideas to punish myself for no reason at all).
But if you have any ideas you’d like to see from me, please leave them in the comments. I need help. And after six years, it’s kind of hard to come up with new ideas.
And that is it! I hope you enjoyed this post! Overall, I’m pretty happy with my progress so far this year, especially with my reading goals. Fingers crossed I can keep it up for the next five months!