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Headshot of me wearing red lipstick Kara Babcock

Reading goals for 2017

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Now that I’ve discussed my favourite books from last year, here’s what is in store for this year, hopefully.

I’m not a super organized reader. I know some people make lists of what they are going to read, keep calendars of upcoming releases they want to buy, etc. I am a messy, spontaneous reader. I pre-order books and then forget about them until they show up at my door. I keep saying, “I’ll get to it next!” of many a book, only for it to languish in a pile. People have given me books for my birthday or for Christmas from years ago and I still haven’t read them.

I say this so you get an idea of the kinds of goals I set. Think of these more as aspirations that will influence the books I choose to buy/borrow in 2017 and the priorities I give books I already own.

Let’s start there: I currently have about 70, give or take, unread books that I own sitting in my room. If I make the pace required to meet a goal of 156 again this year, that means I could wait well into June before I need to go to the library or buy another book.

We both know that isn’t going to work, however. I already have a $150 order on its way from Chapters in various bits and pieces (thank you, gift cards), and we aren’t even out of the first week of the year!

So my first goal for 2017 is to read more of the books I own, albeit not necessarily all of those book. I already make a conscious effort to FIFO the stacks (fiction in an overflowing milk crate, non-fiction to the side) so I get to the oldest first. And that’s really just something I want to continue, only more intensively. I’d love it if, by the end of the year, I have around 30 owned books, with most of them new as of this year. There are a few books I’m holding out on simply because I want a missing book in a series before I read it (I have all Foundation sequels, for instance, except Second Foundation, which I want to read next, so I’m waiting on that). We’ll see if I can find those missing books to help me out.

Oh wait, there’s more … for the past few years I’ve purchased a subscription to Angry Robot Books, a British science fiction and fantasy publisher, which gives me an ebook version of every title they release in the year. I am embarrassingly behind at reading these. I don’t overly enjoy reading ebooks “on the go”, because it means I have to do it on my phone, and I’m a snob who doesn’t like to look like he’s “on his phone” when in actuality I’m reading a book. So most of my ebook reading happens at home. I’m going to have to think about how to change this—whether I keep an ebook on the go in parallel at all times (ugh) or read ebooks more out of the house (hmm) or have a binge week or something. But by the end of 2017 I would like to at least have read all my Angry Robot Books from 2015.

When it comes to selecting new books, there isn’t a lot I want to change. I already read very widely and diversely. There are a few focuses I’m planning, however.

I want to read more feminist young adult books—both fiction and non-fiction—that target boys. As I mentioned in my previous post when talking about Conviction, I feel like I’ve emphasized reading YA that predominantly targets girls. This is not a bad thing, nor am I suggesting that girls and boys necessarily want to read distinct types of books. However, I feel like if we are going to raise a generation of men who understand privilege, oppression, and the damaging effects of patriarchy, they will need stories that reflect their experiences, stories that say, “Hey boy, I know this is what you’re going through, these are the choices you’re facing, and here’s how you can deal with that in a feminist way. Here’s why feminism is good for everyone.” This is not an original idea, so I assume that there are plenty of books like this out there; I just need to go looking.

By the same token, I’m finding a good number of recommendations for this next goal already, now that I actually started looking. I want to read more books with asexual characters, preferably as protagonists. Claudie Arsenault has put together a growing database of books with ace characters While I have occasionally mentioned, when it comes up, the fact I don’t experience sexual attraction and, quite honestly, don’t get what all the fuss is about, I’ve been reluctant to be very shouty online about being asexual. This is something I might or might not talk about in another post (see: reluctant shoutiness). Similarly, I didn’t feel a great yearning to see that part of my identity represented in my reading, despite my support for the position that representation in media matters. But that’s changing, and in 2017, I want to explore this more deeply. I don’t know where this is going to go.

So those are my reading goals for 2017. I have non-reading goals, but hey, that is another blog post….