Monday, January 6, 2020

Reading Goals of 2019

Let's see how I fared:

1. To discover more women writers
Status: goal met

There was a time I only read books by men, barring a few exceptions like JK Rowling or Anne Rice. I don't know if this was a coincidence or influenced in some way by the kind of books I was surrounded by in bookstores, libraries and recommended lists. My favourite authors still happen to be men, but that is just circumstantial. This year though, I've consciously documented whom I've been reading - books by men, women and both here is for a book co-written by a man and a woman.

2. To discover more world literature
Status: getting there

I've also tried to expand my reading horizons to more than just British/American authors. Out of the small number of books I read this year, a little under 30 percent were by authors who were neither British nor American. This is not a significant number, and I wish it were. I did read quite a few African-American authors, but that's not a new trend for me. What I really want to do is explore literature in translation and works set outside America / England, an environment unfamiliar to me as a reader. Armchair travel, to put it in another way.

3. To read more non-fiction 
Status: still trying 

An even smaller percentage of my reads were non-fiction, but believe it or not, this is still more non-fiction than I am used to reading on a usual basis. I also must say that 3 of my favourite books of the year, as shared in the post last week, are from this tiny 15% slice. I didn't manage to build any kind of comfort with the genre though and whether I'd read more non fiction this years remains to be seen. I find it tedious and doesn't really serve my purpose of reading as a way to relax.

4. To discover more authors
Status: couldn't be more successful

The reason I'm so thrilled with my reading in the year 2019 is that I discovered so many authors new to me, and so many great ones at that! This is perhaps the only place where the goal exceeds expectations. All that red makes me so happy! Some favourites include Iris Murdoch, Andrew Sean Greer, Imbolo Mbue, Kamila Shamsie. I'll definitely look for more by these writers this year! 

It's been fun keeping track of my reading this year. Don't get me wrong, this was never the goal - the reading is always the goal. Quality over quantity, always. But it's nice to be aware of how you're coming along and see if you can influence the patterns. So far, I've always undermined the influence that the books I read have on my thoughts. Most of what I know about the world, what shapes my opinions and my information, comes from books - for others it may be newspapers, TV shows or movies or I suppose, for the majority, it's conversations. For me, for better or for worse, it's books. 

I remember an exam I offhandedly appeared for at the beginning of last year. Now I wasn't at all prepared for the "general knowledge" aspect of it, I'm (as a rule) never prepared for exams. And yet, I did well on the World History section, being able to answer so many of the WWII question just from having finished Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie the night before. Should I be embarrassed or use this to my advantage? Keeping track of what I read has almost been the same as keeping track of your diet you know; trying to learn how my mind works and see if I can control what I consume for better results. Over the course of this year, this brand new year, I plan to track it in this blog format. Goals remain the same. 


Shanaya Tales said...

The only way I get through non-fiction is audiobooks! And quite unwittingly it was the genre I read the most books in in 2019. 20/60 books. But it's mostly because I have more time to listen than to sit and read. Though without audiobooks, I don't know how many non-fiction books I would physically read.

Do you read or listen to non fiction?

Priya said...

I am not cut out for audio books. I have a terroble attention span and often don't realise I've lost track for the longest time. Somehow been unable to get into audiobooks at all. I read non fiction, as paperbacks.. not even ebooks!

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