2020 Reading and Reading Challenge Goals

I think I’m a little in denial about the fact that we are already at the point in the year where I need to start “officially” making 2020 goals, but on the other hand, it’s also something that I’ve been tentatively thinking about for a while. I love seeing all the new challenge prompt lists that come out around this time of year, and part of the fun for me is the puzzle element of planning ahead and fitting in all of the books that I really want to read. I was especially glad to find a new-to-me, Harry Potter-themed reading challenge that I’ve decided to try this year! When I’m planning my challenges, I tend to have a bunch of books already in mind that I’d like to read soon, and do my best to pick challenges that allow room for at least most of those, while still having plenty of space for other books too. Once again, I’ve decided to pass on the Book Riot Read Harder list, and Bookish has not yet posted a new challenge for 2020. I tentatively considered taking on all or at least some of the Bookish 2019 challenge instead, but once I found the Harry Potter one, I changed my mind!

When I did a wrap-up on my goals for this year lats week, I was very surprised to find that I had actually accomplished, or at least mostly accomplished the vast majority of them. I spent a big chunk of this year feeling behind and struggling to keep up with library holds, which is definitely something that I want to tackle this year. It was very nice to see that I had accomplished a lot more than I had expected, and the logistics of tracking everything are always one of the most difficult parts of the challenge for me. Looking ahead to the new year, I’m very excited about the goals that I’ve picked, and especially excited to have some brand new goals this year! Here are my goals for 2020:

1) Finish all challenges by the deadlines that I set

This is immediately going to be my most complicated goal because although I’m planning as if it is a one year challenge, I’ve changed my mindset a b it to view the challenges that I’ve chosen as a two-year challenge instead. I wish Goodreads gave me the ability to post it in that format, but instead I’ll have to go with a work-around. For 2020, I will be taking on a total of 5 challenges again:

  • Goodreads Around the Year (52 books plus 1 extra wild card, plus 3 extra books because of a prompt divided into 4 – 56 books in total), by December 31, 2020
  • PopSugar (50 books + 4 extra books because of a prompt divided into 5 – 54 books in total), by December 31, 2020
  • ATY Top Picks + Leftovers – 50 of the prompts that I voted for in 2019 that didn’t make the final list, plus 25 leftover prompts from my 2019 challenges that I still want to read (75 books in total), by end of 2021
  • Mommy Mannegren 2020 (53 books in total because of one prompt divided in 2), by end of 2021
  • Flourish & Blotts: Wizarding World Tour (8 wizarding schools from around the world with 7 prompts each, so 56 books in total), by end of 2021

As it stands right now, that would bring me to a total of 294 books, which is obviously unrealistic for a single year. If I wanted to read these all in a year, I would need to read 24.5 books every month! The only two challenges that I’m intent on finishing by the end of December are Goodreads Around the Year and PopSugar, and my intent is to just read as many as possible toward each of the other challenges by December 31. Anything that is left at the end will most likely become a “leftovers” challenge for 2021, or at least that’s the idea. Obviously if I lose interest in the books or prompts by then, I’m not going to force myself.

2) Read 200 books

This brings me to my next goal, which is to limit my Goodreads reading challenge goal. I picked 200 because it felt appropriate for a “2020” theme, and I might even up it to 220 since that’s about 75% of my overall total. My biggest frustration with using Goodreads to track is that it doesn’t feel very accurate if I’m not including every book that I’m reading, but such a high total also becomes overwhelming and leaves me with constant “you are 60+ books behind!” warnings. Although 200, or even 220 are very high goals, I actually do think it’s realistic for me. I’m just short of 200 books this year, and that’s including several massive books like Kingdom of Ash (and I can usually read 2 or 3 books in the time it took me to read just that). I have fewer very long books in total in my plan, and quite a few faster paced books. I will leave my goal at 200 for now, and reassess halfway through the year whether to up it to 220.

3) Read some more series

For the past two years, I’ve set myself goals around finishing off series that I have in progress, and also reading some of the popular series that I felt like I was missing. I have discovered so many of my new favourite books this way! My 2019 series goal got a little confusing because I kept having to readjust my list, so I’m hoping that this year will be a bit smoother. I have a total of 13 series on my goal list, although I have a few others already worked into my plans as back-up options. Ideally, I’d love to have these series all done by the end of 2020, but there could be some flexibility in the deadline.

  • Re-read the entire Hunger Games series, including the new book (4 books)
  • Renegades by Marissa Meyer (3 books)
  • Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (3 books)
  • The Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab (3 books)
  • The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black (3 books)
  • Shatter Me (6 books, someone please let me know if the novellas are essential to understanding the later books!)
  • The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare (3 books)
  • The Arc of the Scythe by Neal Shusterman (3 books)
  • Saga by Brian K. Vaughan (9 books)
  • Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (4 books)

And three series that are very high priority because they’d previously been on my goals list or I’ve intended to read at least one of the books for more than one year:

  • Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (4 books, someone please let me know if the novella is essential)
  • Strange the Dreamer duology by Laini Taylor (2 books)
  • The Flame in the Mist duology by Renee Ahdieh (2 books)

4) Read at least one book by each of my top priority authors to try

This is a new goal that I wanted to try out this year, because I realized there were a whole bunch of authors that had multiple books on my TBR for several years now, and I hadn’t read anything by them! In the spirit of 2020, I decided to pick 20 authors to prioritize trying this year. Half are YA authors, and the other half are non-YA authors, mostly thrillers. I left myself room to pick up any book by these authors instead of setting a goal of a specific one, but my goal is to read at least one book by each of these authors by the end of 2020.

YA Authors to Read in 2020

Morgan Matson
Kasie West
Jenn Bennett
Maurene Goo
Katrina Leno
Karen M. McManus
Ruta Sepetys
Moira Fowley-Doyle
Katie Cotugno
Holly Bourne

Non-YA Authors to Read in 2020

Karin Slaughter
Peter Swanson
Mary Kubica
Riley Sager
Gilly McMillan
Sophie Hannah
Sarah Pinborough
Lisa Jewell
Megan Miranda (she writes both, but the books I’ve chosen are not her YA titles)
Mhairi McFarlane

5) Prioritize my reading better!

I was actually shocked to see that this was not a goal for 2019, and I think that really explains why this was one area where I really failed! Toward the end of 2018, I realized that I had way too many books remaining for my highest priority challenges to read in December and even November, and wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again. Fast forward to this month, and I had 15 books for ATY and around 8-10 for PopSugar remaining! That’s way too many considering those are the two challenges that I really want to finish by the end of the year. I don’t want to read only for these two challenges to the exclusion of everything else because there are books and authors that I’m excited about across all of my challenges, but I definitely don’t want to have so many books remaining for my top priority challenges by the end of the year!

I think the same goes for my goals around series, priority authors, and priority books (see below). Ideally, I’d love to make sure that I get to all of these by the end of 2020. Given the huge total number of books that I have planned, I fully get that it might not be possible, so for the sake of being realistic, I would like to set the goal to be at least 75% of the way finished each of those lists by the end of 2020, with the ideal goal of completing them all. This allows some leeway with the deadlines in case of unforeseen circumstances (or just a book that becomes a doorstop!), but still sticks to the spirit of the challenge and the goal.

6) Read more of the books that I own!

This was the other area where I really feel like I failed in 2019. I’d planned to include so many the books that I’d bought from BookOutlet into my challenges and genuinely thought I’d get to them. Somehow, these ended up consistently pushed aside in favour of library books. About one-fifth of the books that I read were still books that I owned which is still decent, but I definitely want to start making my way through my piles of unread books!

I decided that this year, I will be doing an “Own Books Only Winter,” where I will spend the first few months of the year only picking up books that I already have in my house. I haven’t decided yet whether to allow ebooks from the library since those are technically in my house, but I’m leaning toward excluding them. Technically, I intended to start that this month, but haven’t been sticking to it so far, so I’m setting it up as a 2020 goal. I live in Canada, and our winters tend to extend from December until, sometimes, mid to late March, so my plan is to only read books that I own in January, February, and at least half of March, and then again toward the end of the year in December if possible. Part of this is just logistical reasons because it’s hard for me to get to the library consistently in bad weather, and I also think it’s a good motivator to really focus on the books I already have.

7) Read some books that have been on my TBR from 2017 or earlier

I actually think this is a goal that is mostly going to take care of itself by prioritizing books from authors that I’ve had on my list for ages without reading. I haven’t specifically paid attention to when books were added to my TBR when making my challenge plans for next year, but I do know that 2017 specifically was a pretty big year for adding books to my Goodreads TBR. I started my account in 2015, but I think 2017 was the year when I really started using it “properly” to keep track of books and authors that I wanted to remind myself to read. I don’t have a set number of books that I want to read for this goal, but I want to make sure I at least cross some backlist titles off of my list. It’s a goal that I update every year to include a new year, generally for books that have been on my list for three years or longer.

8) Read some new releases

As always, I still see this as a bit of a contradictory goal to the previous one, but I really don’t want to get behind on new releases. I think this year was the first time in a long time that there were a ton of new releases that I was excited enough about to actually buy around the time of their release, and even a few pre-orders! I still do tend to avoid books that feel extremely overhyped, but I also don’t want these sitting around for too long. This is another goal that I’ve been noticing seems to be helped my by priority authors, since I’m finding that many of their newer releases are very intriguing and have made their way into my plans. By recent releases, I mean anything that has been published in 2019 or will be published in 2020, and I think I have a very good number of those already incorporated. And a bonus of this one is that for very new releases, I need to wait for my library to get a copy, which means more time to focus on the books that I own!

9) Read my Top 20 to Read in 2020

Last year was the first time that I had set myself a list of priority standalone books, to kind of balance out my focus on reading series. Although I didn’t quite accomplish my goal of reading all 19 in 2019, I loved the concept of the list, and decided to try it again this year, with 20 books for 2020! These were generally the books that kept springing to mind before I’d even started planning my challenges and that I wanted to make sure that I fit in somewhere! I’m debating whether to set my goal to 75% of this list again, but I would really love to be able to say that I read all 20 of the books in 2020!

  • Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore
  • Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia
  • We Are Totally Normal by Rahul Kanakia
  • King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
  • Starworld by Audrey Coulthurst
  • Frankly in Love by David Yoon
  • The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
  • The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
  • Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
  • Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell
  • With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman
  • Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
  • The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
  • Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi
  • The Escape Room by Megan Goldin
  • An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena
  • Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
  • Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer
  • Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

10) Enjoy what I’m reading!

I’m hoping this will be my easiest goal of the year again! This is a goal that I repeat every year, but ultimately it is the most important one to me. I’m not going to push myself to do reading challenges if it’s not fun or too stressful, but as long as I’m still enjoying it, then I’m happy to do them! Part of the reason I do challenges is as an extra push to prioritize reading and I’ve discovered so many great new books and authors that I might have otherwise missed. Each year, I become a bit better at finding and choosing books that I’m likely to enjoy. In 2019, I finally had more 5 star ratings than 4 stars for the year! Obviously I know that not every book can or will (or even should) be a 5 star read, but it would be a great trend to continue.


3 thoughts on “2020 Reading and Reading Challenge Goals

  1. Pingback: First Quarter Challenge Check-In (2020) | Abyssal Librarian
  2. Pingback: 2020 Reading Challenge and Goals Wrap-Up | Abyssal Librarian

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