Books and More Books: Reaching Your Reading Goals for the Year

Like many of you, in January each year, I turn to Goodreads and list my reading goals. After picking a total count of books to read, you then check off books as they are completed. Sounds simple right?


It is now March April (yikes!) and I’ve found that things get dicey without a plan. I’ve got three bookshelves full of to-be-read delights screaming “me first.” Each day, the Kindle snickers at me and winks when Amazon’s e-mails lure me to buy more. Book lovers know the happily vicious cycle as the TBR list grows and grows.

My goal for the year = 26 books
Books read to date = 1
Books behind schedule = 5

I swear I saw my Kindle doing some Beyoncé “Drunk in Love” gyrations to mock me.

DancingSexy Mama via Mzacha at

Not willing to admit defeat, I’ve decided to put a more concrete plan in place to not only reach the reading goal, but to also tackle books that have been lingering in the wings. I’ve read a bounty of book reading challenges, so I’ve morphed categories from a few and made a list of titles to tackle versus having the full list continue to be a failing free for all.

Book Re-Reads (2)

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
Carrie by Stephen King

“Literary” Novels (2)

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates

New Adult (2)

Wait for You by J. Lynn
Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Local Author (1)

You Cannoli Die Once by Shelley Costa

I’ve been lucky to get to know Shelley via our local Sisters in Crime chapter. Hers is a great story in perseverance and commitment to craft. The path to this exciting debut novel covered years with Shelley working in the publishing industry, earning her doctorate in English, building a career publishing short stories and being willing to tweak the location of her series to find a successful niche. The extra joy is that her debut is now nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel by Malice Domestic. Squee! Basil Instinct is book two of Shelley’s Italian Restaurant Cozy Mystery series and it launches in June.

Shout out to Donald Ray Pollock and Lisa and Laura Roecker, later on the list, who are Ohio writers I’ve also met. Get to know and support writers in your community!

Writing Craft (1)

Characters, Emotions & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints by Nancy Kress

Published in 2014 (1)

To be determined

2013 Hits (2)

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Wool by Hugh Howey

Wild Cards (4)

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Divergent by Veronica Roth – This is my one done.
Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Been On the Shelf Over a Year (11)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Warmest December by Bernice McFadden
The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock
The Passage by Justin Cronin – I started this, but admit to being stuck. Interesting, but dense and slow getting into it.
The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
Under the Dome by Stephen King
The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker
Wendy Williams Experience by Wendy Williams
Pariah by Bob Fingerman
Robopocalypse by Daniel Wilson

How are you doing towards reading goal for the year? Are you participating in any challenges? Any books that have been a slow start for you?


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7 Responses to Books and More Books: Reaching Your Reading Goals for the Year

  1. Great post, Barbara. It made me think and I like that you made a pitch for writers known or local to you. I guess we all like to compare “our” lists with others. You show me yours and I’ll show you mine. I read one or two books a week. But still the shelves overflow!

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Lida! You have great reading speed. I’m all about building community and have been able to tap into a fantastic circle of local writers.

  2. Jenny Hansen says:

    Oh my God! I am drunk off this post, Barbara. I love 90% of these books, and you’re making me want to read-read-read. Best of all, I like seeing that I’m not the only one who likes to re-read their books. 🙂

  3. ganymeder says:

    Oh, I should put the Shelley Costa book on my TBR list. I saw her give a talk about Edgar Allen Poe 2 years ago at the Massillon Art Museum’s bag lunch. She was awesome. 🙂

  4. Josette says:

    Hi! I just found your blog on Google. Guess what, I just did a post on reading goals as well. I hope to be able to read at least 30 books this year. It’s a simple challenge and I really, really hope to get through it. There are too many unread books on my shelf just waiting to be opened and read.

    I haven’t signed up for any reading challenges this year (yet). I might look around and see which ones are for me.

    What you did by breaking down the TBR books into smaller lists is a really good idea. Rather than a big chunk, it is so much easier to pick and choose the next read. I guess I would have to make lists for books that have been on the shelf for more than one year, two years, three years and so on! 😀

    I’m glad I came across your post. 🙂


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