2020 Reading Goal Check In

Let me start this post by paraphrasing something I saw and loved on Instagram this week. You’re not required to be productive in a FREAKING PANDEMIC. Full stop. Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk 2020 reading goals. It’s almost the end of March, which means that the year is almost 1/4 through!

My four reading goals for this year are:

  1. Read 20 nonfiction titles
  2. Reread four favorite books.
  3. Read 12 titles from my Classics Club list.
  4. Read more authors of color (higher than last year’s pitiful 18%.)

I’m psyched to say that so far I’m on track with all of my goals. I’ve read eight nonfiction titles, and reread one book (Sylvia Boorstein’s It’s Easier Than You Think.) I’ve read three Classics Club books, and so far my authors of color is at a better 24%.

I’m toying with rereading a Jane Austen novel soon, as they are the ultimate in comfort reading for me. And this lady needs some comfort reading! I haven’t read Persuasion in a long time so that might be the one.

What’s my favorite read so far this year? Ugh, it’s tough. It’s either Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha or Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. Or The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel. OR Christy Harrison’s Anti-Diet. Too hard!

One thing I’ve loved so far this year are the great books my son and I have been reading together. So far my favorites are Fudge-a-Mania by Judy Blume and Mac Cracks the Code by Mac Barnett.

I hope you all are staying safe and healthy, able to take walks outside or do yoga or something else to clear your mind, and able to pry yourselves away from the news. It’s hard for me but I’ve been a bit better about not constantly checking news or Twitter. I’ll leave you with something hilarious I found on a friend’s Instagram story. It’s a Choose Your Recluse chart using famous movie characters. I think I’m a cross between Boss Lady and Sloppy Wizard. Which recluse are you?

BRL Quarterly Report # 10

It’s the end of March, which means it’s time for a Quarterly Report!

Big Reading Life Quarterly Report (1)Books Read (Jan-Mar): 26

Fiction: 20

Nonfiction: 6

Audio: 3 (The Book of Joy – Dalai Lama XIV and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl – Carrie Brownstein, and Hallelujah Anyway – Anne Lamott.)

Chapter Books/Middle Grade: 6

YA/Teen: 0

Authors of Color: 5

Published in 2018: 1 (The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory – review yet to come.)

Faves This Quarter: Anything is Possible – Elizabeth Strout, The Music Shop – Rachel Joyce, How Many Miles to Babylon – Jennifer Johnston, The Book of Joy – Dalai Lama XIV and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Last American Man – Elizabeth Gilbert (review forthcoming!)

Thoughts:¬†On the Read Books I Own Goal, which was to read at least one book a month from my own unread stacks, I’m killing it! ūüôā I’ve read 7 so far. I am confident I can read 5 more by the end of the year, and fairly confident I will read more than that!

My audio books were all nonfiction, and that’s pretty representative of my audio books in general. I just focus better with nonfiction on audio for some reason. (Although I have had some great experiences with children’s fiction on audio.) My podcast addiction (utterly insatiable!) means that I don’t devote much time to audio books.

I’m not really feeling YA books right now. Not that I ever felt them that much to begin with, ha ha!

I am counting the books I read with my son in my yearly reading totals. The chapter books, anyway. (We still read picture books too.) I read them aloud to him at night before he falls asleep. We read the two Charlie books by Roald Dahl and now we’re steaming through The Magic Tree House series!

It’s been a great reading quarter, with only one two-star read. That was the last of the Elena Ferrante quartet, The Story of the Last Child. ¬†It was disappointing, considering how well I liked the other three. Every other book this quarter rated three stars or better. Oh, and I joined The Classics Club! I’ve read and reviewed one book (Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train) and thought it was most enjoyable.

How has your first three months of the year been with respect to reading? If you made goals, are you making progress? Any surprises so far this year, or have you been following your usual reading patterns? Talk to me in the comments.

BRL Quarterly Report #9

Well, since October is very nearly over (do you realize how close we are getting to the holidays??) it’s past time to do another Big Reading Life Quarterly Report!


Books Read (July-September:)  17

Fiction:  13

Nonfiction: 4 (This is the Story of a Happy Marriage – Ann Patchett, The Temporary Bride – Jennifer Klinec, Hunger – Roxane Gay, and The Stranger in the Woods – Michael Finkel)

Audio: 3 (all Harry Potter books: Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban)

Middle Grade: 3 (see above)

YA/Teen: 5

Authors of Color: 3

Published in 2017: 5 (The Dry – Jane Harper, Hunger – Roxane Gay, The Stranger in the Woods – Michael Finkel, The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas, and Magpie Murders – Anthony Horowitz)

Favorites This Quarter: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (my review here,) Hunger by Roxane Gay (review here,) and The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel (review here.)

Reading Goals: ¬†Ha ha ha! ¬† ¬†ūüôā ¬†After having finished two of my goals (Random Picks and YA Books) I’ve pretty much abandoned the rest of my reading goals that I came up with in January. ¬†And I’m okay with that, honestly. ¬†For a while now my reading pace has been sluggish, and my concentration has been abysmal, so if I can finish my other RIP Challenge book, finish out the #AnneReadalong by the end of the year, and read my book group books, I’ll consider it good! ¬†I’m trying to take (admittedly self-imposed) pressure off my reading life.

Also, a happy development! ¬†I recently went over the 350 followers mark! ¬†I don’t quite know how that happened, but it’s really neat to see the numbers grow. ¬†I know that far fewer than that actually take the time to leave comments, but I want you who regularly read my little blog and comment that I REALLY do appreciate you so much. ¬†I love that I’ve gotten to “know” so many thoughtful, funny, kind book lovers around the world! Your passion for reading and writing inspires me daily to keep reading and writing, even when times are tough.

So how have your last few months in reading gone? ¬†Any surprises or challenges in your reading life lately? ¬†Have you abandoned any of the goals you may have set up for yourself in January? ¬†What’s been the best book you’ve read in the past 3 months?

BRL Quarterly Report # 8

@thiskitschHere we are, into the third quarter of the year already! ¬†How did that happen? ¬†My son starts school again in about two weeks! ¬†This year is flying by. ¬†Time to write about the reading I’ve done the past three months.

Books Read: 20

Fiction: 19

Nonfiction:¬†1 (Lauren Graham’s memoir Talking As Fast As I Can)

Audio:¬†4 (LG’s memoir, Sense and Sensibility (read by Juliet Stevenson! ¬†So good!,) Wonder by R.J. Palacio, and The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis.

Juvenile/Middle Grade:  2  (Wonder and Watsons)

YA/Teen:  3 (Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now by Ryan North and Erica Henderson.)

Graphic Novels:  1 (Squirrel Girl)

Authors of Color:¬† 6 (Exit West, John Crow’s Devil by Marlon James, The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez, No One Is Coming To Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts, Watsons, A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki)

Published in 2017:  3 (Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, No One Is Coming To Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts, and Into the Water by Paula Hawkins)

Favorites This Quarter:¬†¬†How It All Began by Penelope Lively, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, and The Watsons Go To Birmingham 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. ¬† I’ve not reviewed the two audio books, because I don’t usually review those on my blog. ¬†I listen to them in the car pretty much exclusively; therefore I don’t have an opportunity to take notes as I do on my print reading. ¬†So I don’t feel like I would have more than a paragraph or two to write about them. ¬†Hmmm… maybe I’ll do a semi-regular audio book round-up in the future? ¬†That’s an idea worth pondering.

Reading Goals: ¬†So I’m happy to say that I’ve completed two of my reading goals for the year! ¬†I have now read 6 juvenile/middle grade titles and have read at least 6 Random Picks (books that weren’t on my TBR at the start of the year.) ¬†It figures that a goal that I completed already would the the random reading, ha ha! ¬†If you’ve been a visitor here for a while you know what a mood reader I am.

In fact, as of late I’ve been considering having NO reading goals at all for 2018. I have been in the mood to just read whatever the heck I want to, with no regard for lists or challenges of any kind. ¬†I just don’t do well with planned reading. ¬†It’s like diets – when someone tells me not to have the cake or cookies, the thing I want most on this Earth is a piece of cake or a cookie! ¬†So when I make a list of books I want to read in a certain time span (Hi #20BooksofSummer!), all I want to read is all the *other* books on my shelves and my Goodreads list! ¬†Mind you, they’re ALL BOOKS THAT I WANT TO READ SO I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH ME, but there it is.

So how was your last reading quarter?  How are you progressing on your reading goals?  Did you make goals?  Are you chafing under them?  Why or why not?


BRL Quarterly Report #7

Hi guys! ¬†Now that it’s nearly mid-April, it’s time to do my first Quarterly Report of 2017! ¬† ¬†Big Reading Life Quarterly Report (1)

Here’s the breakdown of my reading in the first quarter of the year:

Books Read: 23

Fiction: 18

Nonfiction: 5

Audio: 0

Juvenile/Middle Grade: 328250841

YA/Teen: 1

Graphic Novels: 1

Authors of Color: 6

Published in 2017: 2

Favorites This Quarter:  The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (my review here,) Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (my review here,) and Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera (my review here.)

So how am I doing on my 2017 Reading Goals? ¬†I’ve read NO authors in translation, NO¬†books about body positivity/acceptance, only one work so far by a LGBTQ author, only one YA title (Lumberjanes Vol. 2, which is my only graphic novel or comic thus far,) and only one work with a spirituality focus. My reading has been all over the place, heavily on the fiction side. ¬†So I’m not making a lot of progress so far on my goals, but that’s okay! On the plus side, I’ve only had one 2-star read (Peter Swanson’s Her Every Fear,) with everything else a 3 or better. ¬†I participated for the second time in Reading Ireland Month, which is always a fulfilling reading experience. ¬†I read my first Miss Marple mystery and my second ever romance novel! ¬†I’m happy with my reading pace – for the first time ever I’m seriously considering trying to reach for 100 books in a year! I’ve still got plenty of time to make a serious dent in my reading goals. ¬†And even if I don’t, I know my reading will take me to so many entertaining, satisfying, enlightening places!

How are you doing with your own reading goals? ¬†Are you surprised at what you’ve read or not read so far in 2017?

PS… Shameless plug! ¬†I have the honor this week of being Cathy’s featured blogger on her terrific feature The Books That Built The Blogger! ¬†Check out my post here, and please DO follow her fab blog, 746 Books!


BRL Quarterly Report #6

Happy October! ¬†I am just thrilled that it’s finally not 90+ degrees anymore in Tennessee like it was for all of this last quarter, it seemed. ¬†The past few days it’s been chilly enough in the mornings for me to wear socks and shoes instead of sandals and to throw on a cardigan or jacket. ¬†I am deeply grateful.

big-reading-lifeSeems like I had another nice reading quarter (July, August, September.) When I do these things I’m always surprised by how much reading I’ve done, because it seems like I’m always complaining about not having enough time to read! ¬†I’m pretty psyched about my continuing exploration of graphic novels/comics. ¬†I’ve read some really terrific books this quarter:

Total Books Read: 26

Fiction: 19

Nonfiction: 7

Audio Book: 1  (The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor by Mark Schatzker)

Juvenile/Middle Grade: 2 (Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan and The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #4: The Interrupted Tale  by Maryrose Wood)

YA/Teen: 4 (All graphic novels/comics.  The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 1 &2 by Ryan North and Erica Henderson, Aya by Marguerite Abouet, and Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy  by Noelle Stevenson.)

Graphic Novels/Comics: 6 (The above 4 plus Fables Vol. 9: Sons of Empire by Bill Willingham and March Book Two by John Lewis.)

Authors of Color: 9

Published this year: 6

Favorite Reads This Quarter:

I didn’t have written reading goals for this year, aside from my Goodreads Challenge, which I’m definitely going to make. ¬†(I’ve read 65 of 70 books so far. ¬†I deliberately set my number low!) ¬†My unstated goal for every year is to read more works by authors of color. ¬†In 2014, I read a puny 7 works by authors of color. ¬†In 2015, I read 17. ¬†So far this year, I’ve read 18. ¬†My goal is to get to 25 before the end of the year.

How have your goals for the year been going so far? ¬†Anyone met or exceeded goals already? ¬†What’s your favorite book of the last few months?

BRL Quarterly Report #5

Since we’re midway through July already (!) it’s time to do another Quarterly Report, analyzing my reading from April through June. ¬†Apparently this was my quarter for graphic novels!

Total books read: 22

Fiction: 17

Nonfiction: 5

Audiobooks: 1 (The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg)

Juvenile/Middle Grade Titles: 1 (The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit by Octavia Spencer)

Graphic Novels: 7 ( I read Vols. 3-8 of Fables and March: Book One by John Lewis)

Authors of Color: 7

Published in 2016: 4@thiskitsch

Favorite Reads This Quarter:

Seven graphic novels! ¬†Apparently I’ve caught the bug. ¬†I’m still enjoying the Fables series, but am wanting to branch out and try some others. ¬†I’m currently reading Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy and so far it’s fun! ¬†And I’ve got March: Book Two checked out from the library. If you’ve got a suggestion for another graphic novel or comic I should check out, please let me know in the comments!

Now that I’ve finally finished Middlemarch, I’m taking a break from classics for just a¬†little while. ¬†My plan is to tackle another one in September. ¬†I’m considering a few titles and might even do a poll to help me decide!

Since we’re halfway through the year, how are you doing on your reading goals? ¬†I’d love to hear about your progress.




BRL Quarterly Report #4

It’s that time again. ¬†I can’t believe it’s already April! ¬†Here’s what my reading looked like from January through March:

Books Read: 17

Fiction: 13 (including two graphic novels/comics)

Nonfiction: 4

Female/Male: 12/5

Authors of Color: 2

Audio Books: 2

Published in 2016: As my husband would say, “SQUADOOSH.” ¬†(This means zero.)

Favorite Reads this Quarter:

  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (my review here)
  • Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante
  • A Glass of Blessings by Barbara Pym (review here)

A couple things… ¬†I began the year participating in the TBR Triple Dog Dare . ¬†Even though I caved in mid-February, this accounts for no newly published books so far. ¬†(However, currently¬†I’m reading Samantha Hunt’s Mr. Splitfoot, which will be my first 2016 book.)IMG_3198

Also, I am behind¬†on my goal of reading more authors of color. ¬†Again, I partly blame my participation in the TBR Dare. ¬†I was reading books on my own physical shelves, that I owned as of December 31, 2015. ¬†From this experience I discovered¬†that, in the past, I did not make a conscious effort to buy books by authors of other ethnicities or races. ¬†Granted, I’m a heavy library user, since I work there and all, but still… ¬†I realized that the books I hear about and read about in the usual media outlets are overwhelmingly by white authors. ¬†¬†I began my journey of reading more diversely in 2014, where I read a measly 7 books by authors of color. ¬†Last year the number was 17, which was better, but not outstanding. ¬†I hope to hit at least 25 this year. ¬†So I’ve got to get busy! ¬†(By the way, can I just once again mention how instrumental that series of posts by Book Riot about reading diversely were? ¬†They really opened me up to a whole other level of awareness of this issue.)

So it’s been kind of a strange reading quarter for me. ¬†But I’ve read some awesome books and have really delved into an entirely new genre for me (graphic novels/comics.) ¬†I’ve also become obsessed with bookish podcasts, so my TBR list has exploded! ¬†I’d love to hear from you guys about how your first reading quarter of 2016 has been. ¬†Are you on track with¬†your reading goals for the year? ¬†What’s been your favorite read so far this year?



Big Reading Life Quarterly Report #3

Some lighter reading material that made me super happy recently! I adored “Felicity!”

So the end of September/start of October was crazy, as I’ve written about before. ¬†I realized that I didn’t do my quarterly report. ¬†I like taking stock of the reading I’ve been doing, and seeing how I’m meeting my reading goals for the year (or not.) ¬†So even though it’s October 21, here goes Quarterly Report #3 (July, August, September):

This was a very good reading quarter. ¬†I feel like I’m (unintentionally) striking a good balance between male/female authors, fiction and nonfiction (for me anyway,) and also making good progress on my goal of reading more works by people of color. ¬†11 works by POC so far, as opposed to 7 for all of last year. ¬†I do feel as if my life has been enriched by being more intentional about what I select.

I hope you all are meeting your reading goals for the year, and if you’re not, I hope you don’t feel guilty about it! ¬†Life is too short for reading guilt!

Big Reading Life Quarterly Report #2

My dad’s big on Rumi.

Time to take stock of my second quarter reading this year! ¬†I switched into a new book journal in April (I wrote about my first book journal here.) ¬†It’s a journal with Rumi’s quotations that my father had given me some time ago. ¬†What better way to put it to use than to document my reading life – the good old-fashioned way. ¬†I’m a pen and paper woman at heart.

So here are my stats for April-June:

  • Books read: 17
  • Fiction: 12
  • Non-fiction: 5
  • Female Authors: 13
  • Male: 4
  • Authors of Color: 2
  • Audio books: 1
  • Published in 2015: 7
  • Favorite books this quarter: A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson, The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson, and The Shelf by Phyllis Rose. ¬†Honorable mention goes to My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante.

Thoughts: Kinda dropped the ball¬†on the authors of color. ¬†It’s really apparent to me now the huge disparity between white authors and authors of color, in what gets published, publicized, and reviewed. ¬†Still, I’m the one choosing books. ¬†I’ve also not listened to many audio books this year – I think I’m in a music phase right now (I love¬†you, Sirius XM radio!) ¬†I’d like to read more nonfiction that’s not memoir – some history, biography, and microhistory. ¬†That’s a goal for the next three months.

This has been a really good quarter overall – lots of quality reads. ¬†Here’s hoping the second half of the year is satisfying and fun! ¬†Has your reading year turned out as you’d hoped so far?