I set myself a 50-book goal in 2016. I read 46 books. I could read a few picture books or something to reach my goal, but I won’t. I am OK with the number of books I read. I will probably keep my Goodreads goal at 50 books with the understanding that I may not reach it again in 2017 and that’s OK. I am not including my 50-book goal as one of my goals in 2017 because I simply don’t care how many books I read next year. I prefer quality over quantity, and number goals often prevent me from reading bigger books. I didn’t reach my 50-book goal this year, but I read Don Quixote and listened to Augustine’s City of God.
If you have been following this blog you know that I have a particular interest in late medieval hagiography (i.e. saints’ lives) and religious rhetoric of the Late Middle Ages. The books I read are either too niche or are only available in research libraries. Therefore, I didn’t review most of the books I read this year on this blog. In 2017, I will continue to write reviews only for books I think are appropriate for this blog, but I want to encourage more people to study medieval, Renaissance, and early modern history and literature.
1) Write short reflection posts
This goal goes along with what I wrote above. We all love reading. If you are following my blog you probably also love reading books that are considered “classics”. But I believe it is important to step back and consider the social, political, and religious movements that inspired the works that have come to be known as “classics”. In 2016, I wanted to make more literary history and analysis posts, but I didn’t. Because I wanted to do so much, I ended up abandoning the project. In 2017, I hope to post on the topics that interest me, but they will not be in-depth studies. They will simply be short observations (my own or others’) on something literary or concerning the period that I study.
2) Read 5 books that have been published since 2000.
On Goodreads, I probably have a list of at least 50 books that have been published since 2000. I know that this blog is dedicated to the classics, but hundreds of books have come out in the past few years that could easily become classics someday. I want to read at least 5 contemporary works in 2017.
3) Read more books relevant to current events.
This is a broad goal. I am not very well-informed when it comes to contemporary politics. I know enough, however, to be upset about the results of the 2016 presidential election in the United States. We Americans simply don’t know enough about the world. I believe that education is the key to overcoming prejudice. I began reading more diversely in 2016, and I want to do more of that in 2017. The reason why I didn’t make reading diversely a goal this year is because I don’t want to read a book simply because it contains diverse characters. I want to read a book because it is important. There are books on my Goodreads to-read list that cover the refugee crisis, gun violence, ethnic/racial tension, and gender/sexuality. These are very important topics that I don’t know enough about. They concern current events. I hope to read and review more books about such topics in 2017. They don’t have to have been written in the last decade (i.e. they could be classics), but they should concern contemporary questions.
4) Read Les Misérables in French.
In 2016, I met my goal of reading Don Quixote. For years, I have wanted to read Les Misérables. 2017 will be the year.
5) Get more involved in the book-blogging community
We all love thought-provoking reviews or reflection posts. But I also enjoy more light-hearted posts that engage with the book-blogging community. I will never be someone who does tags all the time. They often take too long, and I hate tagging others. But I will try to do more tags or participate in more challenges. I don’t like making promises because I am bad at keeping them. But I will try to do more of the Classics Club blog challenges, particularly the spin challenge. I won’t do any buddy-reads because I just can’t commit to finishing the books when I’m supposed to. In general, I need to reconnect with others in this community.
I think these are very manageable goals. Happy New Year to all! My top 5 favorites of 2016 will be posted soon.