The Goodreads reading challenge is up and live and so begins a new year of reading goals! I love setting myself challenges and goals for reading even though to many this is maybe a stressful thought. But I find I thrive off the challenge!
In 2019, I read 54 books. It was a good year of reading and I focussed on my goals of reading bigger books (my page count for the year was 21,700) and reading books that I had been gifted or recommended by a friend. I’m pleased with how well I did! My reading goal was 50 so I surpassed that.
However, 2019 was also not a fantastic year for me in my personal life. I think 2020 is going to be so much better and that is why I’ve set my Goodreads reading goal to 95 books for the year. Yikes.
This is a little more than 10% better than my best record, which I set in 2016 with 85 books. I feel up for the challenge and have put together a bunch of data to try and win this goal this year with a bit of strategy.
My current physical TBR is 264 books. Yes. It is big. I own all of those, they sit on my bookshelves sucking away at my soul. If I can reach my goal of reading 95 books that will make a serious and happy dent in my TBR.
So here’s the breakdown . . .
In total, I have a lot of pages to read:
Which is mostly terrifying. Over one hundred thousand pages?!? EEK! So that inspired me to take a look at the actual size of the books I have to read. As it turns out, nearly half of my books fall within the non-intimidating size bracket of 300-400 pages. But there are 5 books over 800 pages which is definitely a big yike. The second-largest category, making up nearly a third of my TBR is the books between 400-500 pages. As I’ve set myself such a large reading goal, I will likely focus heavily on the books with the lower page counts.
Moving onto genres, unsurprisingly fantasy takes a massive lead. But interestingly, it’s historical fiction that follows up in second. I do love my history but I wasn’t sure if that would actually be reflected in my TBR. The 5% portion that’s made up of classics probably hasn’t changed for a number of years, and I’m not sure 2020 is the year I’ll be brave enough to tackle that segment.
The most interesting thing, I thought, was looking at whether my TBR was made up of more series or standalones. Series won by far. Which is quite scary, it meant that if I counted how many books I have to read including the sequels, my TBR explodes to over 500 books. So let’s not do that. As you can see below, it’s not a terrifying imbalance between standalones and series, but 60% of my TBR being a part of a series is honestly terrifying.
If I then take a look at the series, themselves, you can see an even scarier statistic *gulp*. The majority of the books on my TBR that are a part of a series are book one. Meaning I HAVE SO MANY BOOKS TO READ. Only a third of those books are the second, third, fourth, etc, in a series. This is something I really want to focus on this year: making progress and finishing series.
Which means I should probably focus on the series I’m only one book away from finishing. Depressingly, over the 264 books, there are 13 (only!!) that are the last in a series. Which looks overwhelmingly like this:
So the question is, what will these books be? Well, I won’t pick 95 books now because we all know that would be a waste of time: I’d never stick to it. But maybe I will select certain books/series. I still want to read books that other people have given me first, I enjoyed having that as my priority, so that makes my goals:
- 95 Books
- Finish/Progress Series
These are the books I acquired over the Christmas period that I will be prioritising:
Which is a bit of a spoiler for my upcoming book haul for December, but I’m sure you’ll live. That’s the easy part to answer and will keep me entertained for the first two months. Probably longer, let’s be real. But if I’m to read 95 books I need to aim for 8 books per month. Which is definitely achievable but I need to have a good reading month every month. Christmas has provided me with 18 books so if I finish all of these by the end of the March, I’ll be both surprised, tickled pink and on track.
That aside, these are the special books I’ve hand-picked to be slain in 2020 – but I’ll split them into some categories as to why. First up, the 13 books that are the last in a series. It would certainly be logical to read these ones first so I make some excellent progress towards my goal.
And it would technically only be a month and a half’s worth of reading. Except some of these books are quite large. So the jury is still out on how I’m going to tackle these and when. As a side note, I’m not convinced Chasing the Shadows will actually be the last book in that series, but for now, it is. Note also, some of these double up with Christmas books which is good news for progress goals!
Looking towards the short books (the 3 that fall under 200 pages), these would be the ones to tick off quickly and creep up to the goal of 95. This is quite fun to do because last year I avoided this sort of tactic whilst I focussed on the page count. So these three books all have tiny page counts:
But I think any further contemplation of what I will read this year will be pointless. I’m armed with my statistics, I know that I have a lot of small books I can target first to reach that goal, and I’m fully aware that there’s a damn good chance I won’t read 95 books. Ah well! I will try hard!!
So what are your goals for this year? Do you always make crazy spreadsheets to work out the most strategical way of tackling your TBR? Let me know below!