I’ve been setting myself a reading goal for the past few years after I finished 2014 disappointed that I’d not even managed to read one book per month. Each year I’ve steadily increased the number of books I’m reading. And in the last two years I’ve exceeded my expectations of the number of books I could read (as you can see in the graph below).
A couple of years ago I heard Frank Cottrell Boyce give the Fickling Lecture on Developments in Children’s Literature. He talked about the importance of taking pleasure in reading and the benefits of reading aloud.
I picked up this book after listening to an interview with its author, Sebastian Barry, on Radio 4’s Front Row. The interviewer, Samira Ahmed, had clearly been enchanted by it. I took that as a recommendation1.
In 2014 I read a pitifully poor number of books – just nine. So, for 2015 I set myself the challenge of reading 12. One a month seemed like a good target. I did it. In fact, by the end of the year I’d read 15.
Always looking to make improvements, I set 15 as my target for 2016. By September I’d reached it and I embarked upon a new reading challenge.
Now we’ve hit 2017, where will my reading goals take me next?
In September I extended my annual reading challenge. Not just content with reaching a numerical goal (I’ve now read 16 books this year, my target was 15) but looking to vary my choice of book, and challenge myself to pick up something I might usually avoid.
When I set this new challenge there were gaps in my list. So here’s an update with all categories assigned and another couple checked off. The books in bold are those left to read.
Charlotte Brontë published a ‘Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell’ in the 1850 edition of Wuthering Heights, shortly after both of her sisters had died.
Here she comments on their decision to assume masculine names when first seeking publishers for their writing.
For 2016 I set myself the challenge of reading 15 books. It may not sound ambitious, but it’s a step up from the number I read last year – 13 (my target was 12).
I find myself in September and I’ve already read 13 books, so I’m well on my way to meeting this year’s target. And hopefully exceeding it. So, taking inspiration from Jo, I’m going to step up my challenge.