New year, new books. A lot of readers set themselves some sort of goal when January arrives, be it reading a certain amount of books by 31st December, or pushing themselves out of their literary comfort zones and delving into unfamiliar genres.
I have a couple of general readerly goals for 2021; I want to read more graphic novels and poetry and I want to read more horror fiction by women writers. As I said, though, these are just general goals. My aim isn’t to have read 25 graphic novels by the time the midnight bells chime on New Year’s Eve. My aim is to simply buy a decent-sounding graphic novel once in a while and give it a go.
The reason why I’m only setting myself general goals is because reading is a fun pastime for me. For as long as I can remember – from the days when I had stories read to me at bedtime to this very moment – reading has offered me escapism. It doesn’t matter how stressful or downright shit my day has been, losing myself in a book is always guaranteed to make me feel better. A few years ago, I had a particularly bad mental health episode. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t stop crying…I could barely function on the most basic level. Books didn’t make that all disappear, but I found respite in the minutes and hours that I spent reading. In those minutes and hours, I was in a place far, far away, places populated by kickass protagonists and fantastical creatures, places where my anxieties and fears didn’t exist.
Setting myself rigid goals doesn’t allow for this kind of escapism, though. Strict goals turn reading into a chore, especially for someone with an obsessive personality like mine. If I tell myself that I’m going to read, say, ten books off some 50 Books You Must Read This Year list, I am going to read those ten books, whether I enjoy it or not. Where’s the fun in that?
Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with setting readerly goals. That kind of organisation and structure works for some people, but it’s just not for me. Aside from my aforementioned general goals, my only other goals are to read whatever I like and to take as long as I need to read a book. I didn’t quite reach my 2020 Goodreads reading goal and despite telling myself I wasn’t bothered, there was a small part of me that was somewhat disappointed in myself. It was this sense of needless disappointment that got me thinking about my 2021 reading goals in the first place.
In summary, my 2021 reading goals are as follows:
- I’ll read whatever takes my fancy
- I won’t rush to finish a book
- I won’t focus on the quantity of books that I read, but the quality
- I’ll try to read more horror fiction by women writers
- I’ll try to read more graphic novels and poetry
What are your reading goals for 2021? Let me know in the comments!