The Sunday Salon.comToday begins a three-week series of Sunday Salon posts in which I’ll be reviewing my 2011 reading goals, launching a new project, and finally shifting my reading focus a bit. I’m excited to learn from this past year’s reading experiments and craft some new ones for 2012!

As the end of the year approaches, I always find myself looking ahead. Last year, for the first time, I considered what lay ahead for my reading. I’d begun my Classics Reclamation Project, near and dear to my heart, and planned to continue. My one experience participating in challenges had failed, and I knew I didn’t want to force myself to enjoy them. Instead, I chose a few I would have joined and created reading goals for myself based on them.

How did my experiment with year-long reading goals go? Well, I’d say. I realize the year isn’t quite over yet, but I feel comfortable making my final goal report a bit early. Here’s a summary:

Looking Back: 2011 Goal Review

Goal #1: Read More Classics

I did this, thanks to my Classics Reclamation Project. I read 22 classics in 2011, many more than I would have had I not made reading them a priority. My favorites were Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, and The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.

Goal #2: Read from My Own Shelves

I somewhat accomplished this goal. I did well with each of the sub-goals below, but only about half the books that fulfilled them came from my own shelves.

Mini-Goal 2.1: Read books by Indian authors and authors of Indian descent as well as books set in India

I read 8 books that qualified for this goal, of which 2 came from my own shelves. My favorites included Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh and E.M. Forster’s The Hill of Devi.

Mini-Goal 2.2: Tackle authors I’ve been meaning to read

I read 13 books by authors I’ve been meaning to read, 9 of which were books I’d already owned. Highlights included Scott Westerfeld, David Mitchell, Jeffrey Eugenides, Kazuo Ishiguro, Abraham Verghese, Naomi Novik, and Mary Roach — as you can see, most of the authors I read for this category I ended up loving!

Mini-Goal 2.3: Read second novels by authors I’ve only read once but enjoyed

I read 8 second novels by authors whose initial acquaintance I’d enjoyed. 5 of these were books I owned, and my favorites included Flight by Sherman Alexie, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Mini-Goal 2.4: Read more memoirs

“More” didn’t mean much, I now realize, as I did not set a goal number, but I ended up reading 8 memoirs, 4 of which were from my own collection. My favorite was probably Lost on Planet China by J. Maarten Troost.

Goal #3: Expand My Literary Horizons and Fill in the Gaps

I didn’t do as well as I could have on this goal. It was the one that stretched my usual reading the most, and I could have made more of an effort to read more books in these categories.

Mini-Goal 3.1: Read some GLBTQ lit

I ended up reading 2 GLBTQ books, which is a start! They were Angels in America by Tony Kushner and Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden, and I loved both.

Mini-Goal 3.2: Explore Dystopian lit

I turned to YA to fulfill this goal, just because those were the qualifying books that came my way. I ended up reading 6 and I most enjoyed Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking trilogy and When She Woke by Hillary Jordan.

Mini-Goal 3.3: Read to fill in the gaps (both generally and on my Books page)

I did okay on the first half of this mini-goal, reading 4 books I felt were holes in my reading experience that weren’t covered by the goals above. However, I did not intentionally read anything to fill in the gaps on my Books page. Oops! I think I had much less motivation and interest in reading just to make the page look nice than I did in my other goals, which, I suppose, is a good thing.

Looking Forward: Reading in 2012

In 2012, I’ve decided to go goal-free. My most successful reading endeavors have been the projects, namely the Classics Reclamation Project and Reading Buddies. So, for 2012, I’ve decided to launch a third project, in spite of my more limited reading time. I’ll be unveiling it next Sunday, so stop back in a week to hear all about it. I, for one, am excited!

Join the Conversation

14 Comments

  1. Erin I am so impressed with how organized you are! I’m going to attempt to be more organized with my reading in 2012 although I’m not going to expect to come close to your organizational capabilities…yet!

    Congratulations on achieving so many of your reading goals! And I am looking forward to reading about your new project!

  2. It sounds like you did really well, and I am very envious, as my reading has been sort of scatterbrained and unstructured for most of the year. It has not been that great of a reading year for me, and I am hoping that I can do better next time around. I love it that you did so well though!

  3. I think you were successful in 2011. I really appreciated Reading Buddies as it motivated me to pick up titles I had let languish on my shelves for far too long.

    I’m excited to hear about your next project. I’m formulating mine own project for next year but it will be two Sundays before I’m ready to unveil it.

  4. I love setting goals! I’m holding back this year though as I’ll have a new baby. I think setting goals may just be setting myself up for disappointment! 🙂

  5. Oh wow, you were way more organized in setting goals for 2011 than I was! I’m not sure I’m going to set any goals for next year, other than a general “read more” (well, and I did sign up for 1 challenge). I like the idea of projects, though. Can’t wait to hear what you have planned for next year!

  6. I’m almost afraid to revisit the goals I set at the beginning of the year, but I will do it before the end of the month. Can;t wait to hear about your new project!

  7. Congrats! You had a terrific year from my viewpoint. I might borrow some of your categories as I think up if I want to do something like this (if ok with you.)

  8. I didn’t exactly set specific goals for 2011, but reading more classics was an unofficial one. I will have to count and see how I did with that… Congrats on all of your progress!

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