Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goals for 2012



It seems like a lot of book bloggers are setting goals for 2012, in many different ways.  Listing just a few books that they really want to get to, aiming to read a certain number of books from the TBR shelf, hoping to get to a certain ratio of male/female, Western/Non-Western, Classic/Non-Classic or read in more genres.  I have thought a lot about the goals that I want to set for my reading in 2012.  In what direction do I want to take my reading?  How many books do I want to read?  What subjects do I want them to focus on?  How many books in translation do I want to read?

And after mulling and philosophizing and sighing a great deal, I came up with the following:

I refuse to set any reading goals for myself.  I said differently in my Best of 2011 post, I know.  I saw my stats and was disturbed.  But, you know what?  I am really proud of the way I read in 2011 and I didn't ever think back over my 2010 goals and try to read according to those goals.  I read what interested me and awoke a response in me and made me want to continue reading.  In 2011, that was mainly women's history, with an attempt to learn more about minority women's history in America.  In 2012, it may be something completely different.

As book bloggers, we put so much pressure on ourselves.  We not only want to read more, we want to read more diversely, read more classics, read more globally, read in tandem, read on deadlines, read certain genres, read certain numbers.  The list of goals and projects and challenges goes on and on, and people get so stressed and upset for not trying harder or pushing further or being more cognizant of books they feel they should have read, rather than enjoying the books that they did read. 

I don't really want to have any part of that.  If I have a goal for 2012 at all, it's to just read what I want when I want to read it, and enjoy it.  I don't care if I end up reading a disproportionate number of male authors, or fantasy novels, or books set in England, or ones that were not on my TBR list.  In looking over my Best of List for 2011, six of the eleven best books I read this year were impulse reads- ones that I just picked up because they appealed to me at the time, and then immediately absorbed me in their narrative.  I don't think that's a coincidence.  I firmly believe in the right book at the right time, and I'm going to let the literary fates have their way with me.

So I have no idea what 2012 will have in store for me, reading-wise.  But I am very excited to find out where I'll go next.


33 comments:

  1. "The list of goals and projects and challenges goes on and on, and people get so stressed and upset for not trying harder or pushing further or being more cognizant of books they feel they should have read, rather than enjoying the books that they did read."

    This is so true.

    I want to adopt your policy, but I also cannot help dreaming up what I want to read. I wonder if thinking up "projects for the upcoming few weeks" is healthier, since that much more fits your reading mood at the time? I think my year-projects posted at the end of december are always that: impressions of my current reading mood.

    I hope you have a wonderful 2012 :)

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  2. Lol, my challenges are never challenging, my Austen one, well I read lots of those books ;) My Tbr one, well they have to be read and last, my WWI, that is the only one I really want to try since it is something I want to read more about.

    So yes on being relaxing and just doing it

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  3. The only goal I had in reading this year was to read less books, the very opposite of what most book bloggers want. It took me awhile to slow down, but I got there, and will continue that goal, to keep slowing down to a level I'm comfortable with, in 2012. My only other reading goal really has little to do with reading - I want to read two books in French, mainly to keep up with the language. I'm also DONE making reading goals, reading on schedules, trying to fill out stats or certain SHOULDS, etc.

    Having said that, I have a TON of goals not related to reading in the New Year. :D Those won't go up until Monday, though.

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  4. I think that enjoying your reading sounds like a great goal.

    For myself, I do like to have a few goals in mind, but I don't hold myself to them in any serious way. The only formal goals I have are to read from my TBR pile as much as possible (for practical space reasons) and read fewer new releases (limiting myself to 24 books published in 2012). Other than that, I want to read more translations, diverse authors, classics, etc., but I'm not setting a specific goal. That's more of a guideline to keep in mind when I'm choosing what to read next. I just want to be sure to keep those authors and books in mind as options.

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  5. Well said, Aarti. I never used to set goals, it's only since I've been a bookblogger that I've started setting goals for myself - but sometimes I need to do that eg. 2011's goal of only reading from my TBR shelf was sparked by the realisation that in 2010 I bought a shedload of books, and had never found time to read them. Which is crazy because I bought them because I thought I'd really enjoy reading them when I was in the shop browsing.

    2012 I have ten classic books I've promised to read, ten books out of the 60 - 80 or so I will probably read next year, which apart from bookclub books leaves me with quite a lot of 'free' choice still.

    Anyway, Happy New Year!

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  6. good luck with your challenges and all the best for the coming year stu

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  7. I just found your blog, but I'm so glad I did. I keep wanting to shout "Yes! Sister!" So thanks for this post, and thanks for all the great reviews.

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  8. Oh Aarti, you took the words right out of my brain and put them here for the world to see. I feel the same as you do about the endless pushing that accompanies this hobby, and I have decided that I don't want to do it that way anymore. I still want to post a lot of reviews, and comment on everyone's posts, but I don't want to feel guilty about what I've read, what I should be reading, and what I didn't read. This year is going to be different for me, and hopefully this new direction will mean that I get my reading mojo back. Fan-frickin-tastic post today, my friend. Happy New Year to you!

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  9. Great post, Aarti. I love challenges because I find new books and blogs by participating. On the other hand, I agree that the priority for reading should be on enjoyment, and not accomplishment. I will look forward to your thoughts on whatever you do in 2012!

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  10. I wrote up my 'trends' for a post tomorrow, and they were essentially "Keep doing what I'm doing, because my reading is wonderful." ;)

    Personally, I don't find my wish to read diversely (in so many senses of that word) stressful or feel like it puts pressure on me. Rather, it makes my reading more joyful and fascinating and provoking than it otherwise might be. But I'm also more than happy to throw off any worries and retreat into a cocoon of comfort books if that's what I need at the time.

    Also, I think it's my combination of reading within an overarching framework of trends but leaving individual titles to whimsy/fate that works so well for me. There are books I've loved that I probably never would have heard of if I wasn't interested in diversifying my wish list! And then there are old favourites who I can never get enough of. :)

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  11. Yes, I think goal-setting works differently for each individual, at least in a hobbies sense. I am not setting goals for next year, but there are some books that I look forward to reading and some trends that I will probably follow. I also, though, just want to read whatever.

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  12. I'm not setting any goals either. I already put enough pressure on myself. That's why I'm laying low on challenges and tours. Happy New Year!

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  13. Good for you! I have seen so many posts about people trying to do all these challenges and set goals that are crazy. And some not wanting to reread favorite books because they don't have time with all the review books they have scheduled. Aargh! Reading is for pleasure, it's not life or death if you don't stick to a reading a schedule. Most of my reading is impulsive so I can just pick up a book I saw a fabulous review on, instead of saying "I'd love to read that but I don't think I'll have the time"
    Happy New Year, Happy Reading

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  14. Ooh excellent point, madam. I wish you luck.

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  15. Very wise. I'm never too ambitious with my reading goals. Just like to drift along.

    Happy New Year!

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  16. Amen!!! I'm putting my post up later, but my #1 goal is to read what I want to read and feel satisfied.

    Right on!

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  17. Sounds like a great plan, Aarti!

    I really want to read a book together this year. It is too bad it didn't work out last year! The first book I didn't like and then I basically stopped reading in time for the second one...

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  18. That's so funny; my first thought was to say "right on" but I see Andi beat me to it. I'm going to do it anyway.

    Right on!

    I've made goals, but they are all designed to take that pressure off myself. I'm in this for the fun of it and if I'm miserable what is the point? I'm going to read what I want, when I want, and to heck with the details. :D

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  19. Great post! I do understand the panic you felt when you looked over your reading from last year. Since you're still in school, reading on impulse and only what makes you happy is a great idea.

    Happy New Year!

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  20. Less stress is my motto as well, especially when it comes to things we can control like our blogs! Hope 2012 is a wonderful year for you.

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  21. Excellent post, that I completely agree with. This is why I haven't joined any challenges this year - they're too stressful and I find I just connect better with what I feel like reading at the time. I would love to read more non-fiction - but mainly because I adore it when I do, and I only put it off because it's longer and takes more time, not because it isn't calling to me. So if anything, I'd prefer to be moved by whim as you say. :)

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  22. Hooray for no goals! Happy reding and happy New Year!

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  23. Umm, yeah. Reading. Really, I can spell.

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  24. I started blogging as a way to get myself reading again after years and years of only doing school-related reading. The act of reviewing encourages me to keep reading, and keeping track of things encourages me to keep reading. Setting reading goals, on the other hand, has the opposite effect -- I'm one of those people who, if I know I *have* to read something for any reason self-imposed or not, I will just go ahead and not read anything at all thank you very much. So reading goals are anathema to enjoying reading for me.

    I hope you enjoy your relaxed reading this year!

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  25. I so admire your non-goal approach to your 2012 of reading! It seems much more exciting and free, yes?
    Happy happy!

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  26. I love your Nike-inspired poster, and agree with Kiirsten...anathema! For the record, I think it was graduate school that made me this way. That was enough assigned reading for a lifetime.

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  27. What a great attitude! I took a similar one last year, but for different reasons. My reading was just what it needed to be at that time, but I'm not sure it's what I need this year. I can't wait to see where this year will take us all!

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  28. Excellent goal! Reading is the one thing I don't have a deadline or parameters around, it's so much more fun to read what I want.

    That said, you keep coming up with books I want to read. I've got the 2nd Sarah Tolerance and a Guy Gavriel Kay checked out of the library waiting for me now. If I ever get out of the office.

    Happy New Year!

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  30. While I have set goals for myself, I agree with you that we make things difficult for ourselves - although I have goals, I'm not going to go for them beyond any whims or preferences I may have in the year. I prefer having an idea of what I'd like to read that's come about through my changing interests, but not structured. My reading for study is strict enough.

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  31. No goals sounds very liberating!

    For me, the most important part of my goals when I do set them is about being realistic and to target those goals to where my reading is going anyway, not to try to force myself to go in a different direction.

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  32. Me too! Last year I didn't set any goals either.. I was realistic that life will always come before reading, mores the pity.

    True to form, 2011 really was the pits. And 2012.. I will pretend to be hopeful.. but the only goal I have is TO NOT ACCEPT random arc's (unless its for the HNR magazine) and then not feel guilty about ignoring bloggish duties.

    The next goal is to read Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor. Other than that, by the time I complete those goals, it'll be 2013.

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  33. Love your plan. Good point about the pressure. Like you my reading usually ends up veering away on some tangent or another and I really love that!

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