Now that the Year of Hell is over, we can start looking forward to a (hopefully) better year in 2021. Despite all of the awfulness of 2020, my reading year was actually quite good. I managed to read a total of 110 books, over double my original Goodreads goal, with some thanks due to being trapped inside most of the year. In addition to surpassing my reading goal, I also read a lot of quality books this past year. Just a couple standouts, since I won’t be making a “best of” post for 2020, are The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton, Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (and its sequel Take a Hint, Dani Brown), Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice, and Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi.
Of course, there is always room for improvement, and that’s what this post is all about: my reading resolutions for 2021!
My reading goal for 2020 was 52 books, one for each week of the year. Even though I crushed that goal and then some last year, I’m a little nervous that I won’t be able to repeat that as the world slowly returns back to its pre-COVID state (fingers crossed!). So, with that in mind, I’m setting my Goodreads reading goal to 75 books for 2021. A little bit more challenging than my previous goal, but still less than I read last year so I won’t be disappointed if I do not reach it.
In addition to the quantity of books read, I want to make sure I also set a goal for the quality, meaning that I want to make sure I’m reading diversely – not just from perspectives that I share. To borrow terminology from Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop’s 1990 essay “Mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors,” reading diverse books is akin to looking through a window into other cultures, contexts, and experiences. Combining this concept of literature as windows with research highlighting the link between reading fiction and increased empathy (see this BBC article for a brief review of said research), it seems crucial to read diverse books in order to better understand and empathize with the experiences of marginalized groups. Which, after the blatant racism, homophobia, transphobia, and overall divisiveness that reared its ugly head more so than usual in 2020, there is currently no goal more important to me than spreading the importance of reading diversely and building empathy. Thus, this year I would like to make sure that at least half of the books I read this year are from authors with backgrounds other than my own. In this way, I hope to improve my own empathy, and also support authors who are underrepresented in the publishing industry.
While these two goals are my primary focus for this year, I do have a laundry list of smaller, looser bookish goals that I wish to accomplish:
- Maintain a semi-regular posting schedule for this blog/my bookstagram (@bookfiending)
- Make a dent in the 300+ unread books on my Kindle
- Clear out some books on my TBR cart
- Reorganize my bookshelf
- Get a foot in the door of the library and information science industry
- Get back into creative writing
I look forward to tracking these goals this year and reflecting on them as the year passes. Here’s hoping for a better reading year than ever in 2021! What are some of your 2021 reading resolutions?