What Will My Reading Look Like in 2011?

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:

Classic Reading

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.

Reading Globally

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?

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    • jeane on December 11, 2010 at 12:29

    I’m wayy cutting down on my reading challenges next year, too. I did seven this year, and it was just too much. Still scrambling to finish! I’m planning on doing CB’s TBR Dare, and whatever else I can fit in with that. Otherwise, I plan to just read what strikes me at the moment!

    • Laura on December 11, 2010 at 12:54

    Wow, you’re going to have a lot going on! But then I’m not surprised *smiles*
    I’m going to participate in events like Orange January & July, and The Classics Circuit, but no challenges. Each month I plan to create a stack of books to read that month, but that’s as much planning as I want to do. That alone is a challenge for me!

    • Staci on December 11, 2010 at 13:04

    You are so organized….(hangs head in shame :D)
    I’m only doing TLC and Sourcebooks and the occasional author request. I have made April a month where I just read from my own library…wonder how well I will do?? I don’t think I’ll do any challenges next year except 1 (Gilmore Girls) because I spend wayyy too much time keeping it all together!!

    2011 looks like a great year for you!! Good Luck 😀

    • Melissa on December 11, 2010 at 15:32

    Looks like you have a great year of reading lined up! I’m SO glad you enjoyed the Memorable Memoir Challenge and that you’re joining us again this year. (And speaking of joining us again, I really, really hope you’re able to make it to New York again in May!)

    • Wendy on December 11, 2010 at 15:54

    Jeane: Exactly – it just gets to be so much sometimes (although I am always SO tempted to join them all because they look so great…but I am really being strong this year!)

    Laura: That sounds like a great plan. I know I wouldn’t stick to it, though! *laughs* As it is, I probably will do about 50% of what I want to do in 2011 – but, oh well!!

    Staci: LOL – I only look that way on paper (you should see my house with the stacks…and sometime I just wander about aimlessly wondering what to do next!)

    Melissa: I love your challenge 🙂 And I too hope I make it to NYC in May *fingers crossed*

    • Aths on December 11, 2010 at 16:11

    Great plans! I also plan less pressure and more personal projects for 2011. I love challenges but I don’t seem to complete them.

    • Sharry on December 11, 2010 at 16:29

    That is really impressive how you try to plan out your reading schedule! Whenever I try to plan my reading schedule, I most likely don’t stick to it, it’s a very bad habit of mine 😛

    • Jill on December 11, 2010 at 18:11

    It sounds like 2011 will be a great year for you! Thanks for the Orange January plug too!

    • Amy on December 11, 2010 at 18:47

    You are so organized! Of course I’m pumped to see that you’re planning on joining us for a few of our Year of Feminist Classics project – I like that it’s scheduled as a pick and choose thing instead of having to read a certain number. Challenges with specific timelines and books don’t work so well for me I have to say! I am going to have to choose challenges more carefully next year I think myself. Also… I hope to see you at BEA and BBC 🙂

  1. Wow, that’s a lot of thought and organization! I’m not even close to that organized about what I want to do in 2011 book-wise (let alone in every day life!).

    I do like your self-challenge to read more Classics. I have often felt that I should get my bottom in gear and read Classic books that I never read growing up and that everyone else seems to have read! I might try to add some Classics to my 2011 reading list this year. As I get older I find I can actually tolerate some a little more that I used to (some are just dullsville). 😉

  2. Boy, are you organized!! I haven’t made any plans for 2011 other than to try to read more from my shelves. I tend to read the latest release (or ARC) and I have so many others that have been lurking on my shelves for years. Time to start reading those babies! No challenges, tours, or read-alongs for me. I never seem to complete the challenges even though the list-making makes me happy! 😉

    • zibilee on December 12, 2010 at 17:50

    I always have a problem with overextending myself on challenges as well, and always do miserably in the completion of them. This year I am not going to be joining any, but am going to be trying to structure my reading a bit more, and like you will be reading more classics. Good luck to you with all your new goals!

  3. TLC’s tours are the only ones I do too, but I tend to do them in spurts – two or three in a month or so, and then nothing for another couple of months.

    I’ll be making my first trip to BEA and Book Blogger Con this year, and I really hope you’ll be able to be there!

    • Amanda on December 12, 2010 at 19:25

    I love this time of year for making plans and reading about other plans. You’ve got some great goals here.

    • Alyce on December 13, 2010 at 09:16

    I’ve been so busy and feeling overwhelmed with holiday planning that I haven’t been looking very far forward with my reading like I usually do. Reading this post actually stirred some enthusiasm for planning my next year’s reading, and I’m really happy about that because I’ve been wondering if I’m on the way to a reading/blogging slump lately. It’s not that I’ve been reading or blogging less, I just haven’t been as passionate about it. I’m planning to take a couple of weeks off for Christmas so that I can start the year fresh.

    • Wendy on December 13, 2010 at 09:24

    Aths: I think a lot of bloggers/readers are cutting back on challenges…it gets overwhelming.

    Sharry: Well, I didn’t say I would actually stick to it!! *laughs*

    Jill: Hope you get lots of participation in Orange January this year 🙂

    Amy: I really like how I can pick and choose my level of participation for the Feminist Classics (that was genius!!)…and I also hope I can pull off BEA/BBC 2011!!!

    Cat: I agree – lots of classics tend to feel slow to me too; but I also feel (as I get older) that I should give them more of a try.

    Les: I admit, I am a list making addict too 🙂

    Heather: Thanks – I think it helps to have a plan – even if I deviate from it 🙂

    Florinda: I would LOVE to meet you in person (finally!). Hope we can pull that off in May 🙂

    Amanda: Thanks 🙂

    Alyce: I also feel overwhelmed this time of year – which is why I sat down and made a plan…it just made me feel like it was all possible again! I think taking some time off can be rejuvenating – hope that works for you!!!

  4. Sounds like you have a wonderful reading year planned in 2011. I need to start thinking of my goals for 2011 too.

  5. You are an inspiration with all your organized plan. I have a general idea to read more for pleasure and less out of obligation (i.e.: my guilt list of review books), but I haven’t given the matter any analysis. You may have inspired me to do just that before the end of the year.

    I am thrilled that you are going to host the Chunkster Challenge again. I still have two to go for this year, but I think I will finish. It is such a lot of fun!

    • Wendy on December 20, 2010 at 08:00

    Kathleen: I hope so! Looking forward to your reading plans as well 🙂

    Rose City: Why thank you! I have been thinking about the “guilt list” and really, so many of those books are ones I really, really want to read…so they aren’t really being read out of guilt. That said, I do feel guilty when I don’t get them immediately, but just because I have committed to them (does this make ANY sense?!?!). Re: the Chunkster Challenge – I love that one…I’ll host it every year if I can 🙂

    • Teddy on December 26, 2010 at 23:16

    I hope you will be able to make the BEA in May. I am 99% sure I will be going for my first time. I have enough airmiles for the flights and have been saving up for it. I would love to see you there and get some pointers. I just registered for the BEA and Book Blogger’s Convention. I’ve never been to N.Y, so am very excited.

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