Middlemarch coverHappy New Year!

I’m not much for making reading goals, and I’m much less for actually keeping them! I don’t like to feel beholden to the person I was at the beginning of a new  year — what did he know! But I do need some direction in 2016, so I’m putting together ten reading goals. There are a few books that, for a decade, I’ve been wanting to read but have been putting off for stupid reasons. And there are some authors I have wanted to delve into but I’m waiting for that rainy, lazy day to dig in . . . which is not going to happen.

If you’ve got some goals of your own, I’d love to hear them! If not, I understand! I’ll probably be kicking myself for doing this come February!

Here are my specific goals, to be completed while doing my typical reading this year.

  1. I’m finally going to read Middlemarch this year. I started this book in 2006 and got through the first 100 pages quickly. And then my wife and I moved across country to New Jersey. In that move, I lost track and have not gone back, though I’ve wanted to. I just keep telling myself soon . . . well, soon has arrived in 2016. I hope to get some legs under this in this final week of 2015 even.
  2. Read at least 25 stories by William Trevor. For Christmas this year, my wife got me the beautiful two-volume giftset The Collected Stories of William Trevor. I want to start it and keep moving through it. If I don’t, I will put it off for tomorrow over and over again. Trevor has become one of my favorites, and it’s time to tackle him chronologically as I’m doing with Alice Munro.
  3. Read at least 25 stories by I.B. Singer. I just got the three-volume LOA set of I.B. Singer’s short fiction, and while I’ve read quite a bit of his work over the years it has long been a goal to approach him from a more disciplined angle.
  4. Read a book — any book — by Barbara Pym. I have a feeling I’m going to really like Pym’s work, but I don’t know, since I’ve never even read one.
  5. Read three books by J.M. Coetzee. I’ve read most of Coetzee’s work, and I’ve got all of his books on the shelf just waiting for me to dig in again.
  6. Read three books by Penelope Fitzgerald. I love Fitzgerald, and there all of her books sit on the shelf, next to the Coeztee’s, and it’s time I fulfilled my goal to read all of her work.
  7. Read six novels by Muriel Spark. All of her books are sitting on the shelf above my Coetzee and Fitzgerald, and I’ve read many with the goal to read all of them, so basically ditto the two goals above but with Spark’s name instead.
  8. Read four novels by American women writers who were writing before 1980. Several of my favorite books are by Welty, Wharton, O’Connor, McCullers, and Cather. It’s time I got back to them and read more, and I hope I discover a few others.
  9. Read six other books from my old-time TBR pile, which includes 100s of books acquired more than five years ago. I’ve culled dozens of times and gotten rid of 100s of books over the years that I once was certain I’d read. The many I’ve kept are still with me because that certainty is, against all odds, still there. I need to read at least six of them. I need to do another cull of the rest.
  10. Read Seiobo There Below, a book by an author I love and that is rightfully intimidating.

I will undoubtedly fail at a few of these, but I think it would be great if I succeeded. That’s just 25 books and 50 short stories, which is far from insurmountable. The problem is all of the stuff that comes in and all of the whims of the year. But the purpose of these goals is to keep me thinking about what I’ve been neglecting due to new books and whims.

Wish me luck!

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