Every December I start thinking about January and what comes after. I start organizing my reading, wondering about challenges and book groups, read-a-thons and read-a-longs, and all those new books that are going to be published. I can’t help getting excited about the new year…and invariably I overextend, join too many challenges, take on too much. You would think that I would get better at this…but I don’t seem to. And my past failures are not about to slow me down now. I am coming up with a plan for 2011, and I thought I would share it with all of you!
First of all, you will see me doing way less in the way of reading challenges this year. I just need a break from keeping track of them all…and I think I want to do a few more read-a-longs in 2011 than I have done in the past. Here’s how it all breaks down:
I’ve decided I need to read more classic literature. I’m doing my own personal challenge to read more classics, and I plan to join a couple of read-a-longs as well (see below under connecting with other readers). I’ll also continue to read and post occasionally for the Classics Circuit.
Nonfiction (memoirs, animal books, social justice and awareness)
I read mostly fiction, but in 2011 I hope to balance out my reading a bit and devote some time to nonfiction. I was surprised that when I started perusing the books I read in 2010 to come up with a BEST OF 2010 list, I found that quite of few of my favorite books of the year were nonfiction. I discovered that I really loved reading memoirs for Melissa’s Memorable Memoir Challenge…and she is hosting this challenge again in 2011 – I’m joining. I also have stacks of animal nonfiction books on my shelves and I want to read through some of those. Lastly, although I didn’t complete the Social Justice Challenge, I found I really enjoyed reading some of the nonfiction books for that challenge. I want to open my eyes to the world a bit in 2011 and will be looking to read books that pertain to social justice (I already have one set to review for January – Muslim Women Reformers by Ida Lichter arrived as a review book from Lisa Roe…and it is so far very interesting).
Review Books (or the endless tide of new books)
- Accepting ARCs and Review Books – I still intend to accept books for review in 2011 (in fact, I already have a nice little stack going). I have been trying hard to curtail the amount of books I accept for review – and I have reduced my stacks…but I could do even better. I have started a spreadsheet of sorts to track my review books, and if I can manage to keep that going (and not accept more than I can read), I will be doing well.
- Book Tours – I enjoy doing book tours and have more or less been touring for only one site (TLC Book Tours). I am going to continue to tour books for them (as long as they will have me) and I liked how I managed tours in 2010…ie: only doing at most one tour per month (sometimes less).
- New Authors/Debut Authors – One of the things I love the most about review books is that I get to read many, many books by new-to-me authors and debut authors. I intend to keep tracking the new-to-me authors, although in 2011 I won’t be joining the New Authors Challenge – I’m just going to track them on my own with no set goal of how many I want to read.
I am still working slowly through my personal goal to read books around the world – and that will be a continuous goal until I finally complete it (maybe in ten years or more!!). I love global reading. Challenges like Bethany’s Orbis Terrarum Challenge are very enjoyable for me…and I wouldn’t rule out a reading challenge that helps me reach this long term goal. That said, I have discovered that challenges which limit my reading to one region or one country are not good for me – I fail at them every time. So, in 2011 I won’t be joining any of those!!
Literary Fiction (and the Prize Lists)
I love, love, love Literary Fiction – and I have tons of those kinds of books on my shelves. In 2011, I want to get to more of them. I want to keep chipping away at reading from the Prize Lists (primarily Pulitzer, Booker, and Orange Prize books, as well as books by Noble Laureates) and reading from the Notable Books lists. I am not setting specific goals, I’m just going to read what I want and mark them off as I go.
Women in Literature, Women Unbound, Feminist Literature
I loved the Women Unbound Challenge in 2010, and I love books written by women and about women. I am interested in participating in the Year of Feminist Classics in 2011 – a project which will encourage reading classics, non fiction and women’s studies. Can’t beat that! I won’t be reading every book from their list, but I do intend to read almost half of the scheduled books and participate in the conversation over there. I’ll also be looking for books that are written by my favorite female authors, and hoping to find more favorites in 2011.
Connecting with other Readers
- Read-A-Longs – I’ve already mentioned the The Year of Feminist Classics…but I am also interested in joining The Wolves read-a-longs. I won’t be reading every book on their list, but there are several that interest me and I am eager to read and discuss them with other thoughtful readers. I am also watching The Classic Reads Book Club, and will most likely join in their July to December 2011 read of Madame Bovary (one of my favorite books in college).
- Yahoo Book Groups – I have recently decided to leave all my Yahoo book club groups except for Bookies Too – a reading group I adore and want to keep enjoying in 2011. They read a vast array of books (2 a month) and I try to participate whenever I can. I also belong to a book chat group which I have no plans to leave as I have made some friends there with whom I want to continue to talk about books!
- Library Thing – I review books at Library Thing, and I have made some excellent reading friends there. LT will certainly be part of my life in 2011!
Fat books, suspense-thrillers and women’s fiction (or my guilty pleasures)
I love the serious, literary books…but I can’t read only those types of books. Sometimes I want a quick, entertaining read; sometimes I want to read the fat, chunky books. I will definitely make room in my reading for these types of books. I will continue to host The Chunkster Challenge (look for some changes in the future, but mostly it will still just celebrate the chunky books). I love the suspense-thrillers (and now there are many available to US readers which are translations from other countries), and women’s fiction has a special place in my heart. I was sorely tempted to join Book Girl’s Edgar Award Reading Challenge – but instead, I think I’ll add the Edgar nominees and winners to my list page and just check them off as I go (sort of my own personal challenge). At any rate, you can expect reviews of some genre fiction in 2011.
Events I Don’t Want To Miss in 2011
- Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon – The read-a-thon happens twice a year (April and October) and I hope to participate in both months. If you haven’t done this at least once, you definitely need to make room for it in 2011!
- BEA and the Book Blogger Convention – I don’t know if I will be able to afford a trip to New York in May, but I want to be at these events…and I’m going to try to make it happen!
- Orange January … and maybe Orange July – Jill is making these two events very fun. If you haven’t checked out the plan for January, make sure you stop by Jill’s post and get informed!
Things I Probably Won’t Do in 2011
- Join more than five time-limited challenges
- Host The Random Reading Challenge or the Themed Reading Challenge (watch my blog – I am probably going to give these two up and will be looking for someone who wants to host them)
How about you? Have you started thinking about your reading plans for 2011? What are you planning to do differently? What will stay the same?