Reading goals 2021

2021 emblazoned on a yellow to orange gradient

What do you mean, ‘it’s March’? It’s been March for 365 days and counting, so just shut up and let me dream, all right? I’ve got to set some reading goals, so, heedless of the bounds of chronology, those goals will be set.

No hard target

In previous years, mostly encouraged by Goodreads, I’ve set a numeric target for books to get read this year. Last year, I aimed for 52 and missed by 30. This year, I’ve abandoned Goodreads for TheStoryGraph, and I’m not going to give myself something to miss. The quantity of books I read doesn’t matter—it’s the quality.

The game of reading my TBR shelves

It’s a new decade: time to try something new. To incentivise my reaching for TBR books instead of new ones, I’m going to gamify my reading. The rules for 2021 go like this:

I get one point for reading a book that I acquired before 2021 began. And on the flip side, I lose one point for reading a book acquired this year. The exception to this rule is library books—if I borrowed the book from a library, it’s a flat zero. And since I’m trying to read more nonfiction again this year, I’m going to give myself one extra point if a book I read is nonfiction.

I’m already curious to see how well I’ll do this year. Hopefully this will set a benchmark I can judge future years against.

More diverse books

Last year I failed abysmally in my attempt to read more books by non-American and non-English authors, getting only three books out of a 13 book goal. This year, I’m going to try again. I’d like at least a quarter of the books I read this year to be by authors from places other than the USA or England (NB England, not Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland).


That’s it! Keeping it simple in these unprecedented times. I hope everyone else is able to look forward to 2021 with, if not hope, then at least grit. We made it through 2020—we can do this.

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