Sunday Salon: Reading plans for 2014

The Sunday Salon

It’s probably foolish to make any 2014 reading plans, considering I’ve not been great at the challenges I set myself this year and work is only getting busier. And yet, I keep having ideas for my 2014 reading that really excite me, so I thought I’d share them with you.

First, what did I set myself to do in 2013 and how, with five weeks of the year left, am I doing against those goals?

Well, this year I signed up to two challenges and a read-a-long, plus I set myself a challenge. The read-a-long of Crime and Punishment was run by Wallace of Unputdownables and was a great success. I (and many others) managed to get through a book I had previously given up on and I’m really glad that I did persevere. The 2013 Translation Challenge is run by Ellie of Curiosity Killed the Bookworm with the goal to read one translated book per month. I’ve actually not achieved that every month, but on the other hand in several months I’ve read more than one translated book. I think translated fiction has become a bigger part of what I read and I hope to continue that without needing a specific challenge.

The 2013 TBR Pile Challenge is run by Roof Beam Reader and it’s probably the goal I needed the most. I have so many books that have sat on my shelves unread for years. I have read eight and a half of the 14 I listed for myself, plus I tried and discarded one. I could have done better and I probably need to have a think about what’s putting me off picking up those books. Certainly it hasn’t helped reduce the size of my TBR, which is almost exactly the same number of books now as at the start of the year. I just love books too much to not buy new ones! But my biggest failure by far is the challenge I set myself – the Cookery Challenge. I said I would make more use of my many cookbooks and blog about them one by one. So far I have blogged about just two of my cookbooks. It’s a poor show.

So that’s 2013 so far. But what are these grand ideas I’ve had for 2014? Well, there are three and if anyone is running a challenge related to any of these I’d be interested to see it, so let me know!


Science fiction
As a teenager I read some classic science fiction along with everything else I could get my hands on to read. But as an adult I haven’t read that much of it. I tried a few years back to get better at this, with some guidance from Tim, whose reading is about 90% SF. But this year I notice I have been especially bad at including any SF in the mix, so I’m going to make it a specific goal for 2014. But what form should that goal take? One random SF book per month? Read my way through the Gollancz SF Masterworks series à la Gavin back in his Gav Reads days? I’d quite like to find some good SF by women, so if anyone has any suggestions I’m all ears.

Popular science
I don’t read a whole lot of non-fiction, but I do like a good essay and I like to learn things. As an English graduate who works with mostly science graduates, I am finding that the scientists tend to be open to and enjoy the arts but a lot of my arts friends shy away from science. There’s a lot of fear of science as something hard or “other”. I think science is fascinating and an important part of understanding the world around us and I’d like to know more, hence this goal. I asked a few people for recommendations of really good popular-science books and the plan is to create a list and read my way through it. I’ll publish the list in December and am open to further ideas on this.


I own thousands of books, the majority of which I have read and kept because I thought I’d like to read them again some day. But since university I have done very little re-reading and what little I have done has largely been provoked by book clubs choosing something I’d previously read, rather than my own overwhelming urge. Partly this is because I am aware of just how many great books are out there, more than I will ever be able to get to. And partly it’s a fear that a book I loved first time round won’t seem so great on a re-read. But there are so many books I have put down thinking how I would get even more from it on a second read. And so many I read 10 years ago that I have mostly forgotten but know I loved. I think it’s about time I stopped being scared and made time to re-read, even if it’s just four or five books per year. I’m not sure if this should be a challenge per se or just something to keep in the back of my mind.

Have you starting thinking about goals for 2014 yet, reading or otherwise? Do you like to be involved in lots of challenges and projects?