2020: reading plans

A pair of burgundy boots rest on a bookshelf of fantasy novels

It’s the start of a new year and (cardinally speaking) a new decade – so it must be time to sit down and consider my goals.

Last year I set very few reading goals, but signed up to a big reading challenge. The combination worked well for me in that it pushed me to read books I might not have otherwise picked up, but the combination of Subjective Chaos shortlists, ARC guilt and Dancing with Fantasy and SciFi prompts meant I felt I was reading to order for more of the year than I really liked.

…still, I never learn. I may have stressed about those dance cards, but I loved marking off my reads. Along came Litsy to the rescue with two low-demand but fun-sounding challenges – and I’m creating my own to round out the pack.

Reading Goals

I’ve set my Goodreads challenge to 70 – slightly more reads than I managed in 2019, but lower than previous years. I’m once again participating in Nikki’s Game of Books too, which helps me celebrate my reading in ways beyond just book count and encourages me to read big tomes and tricky books.ย 

Reading Challenges

Contrition of a Bad SF Fan

I began my ‘Confessions of a Bad SF Fan‘ a few years ago with the goal of reading and reviewing classic and backlist SF. It hasn’t gone well: I usually find more to criticise than enjoy in golden age science fiction so I tend to avoid it. However, there are many other older works that I would still like to explore, especially since compiling a list of backlist SFF authored by women in November.

I’ve put together a bingo challenge to help motivate me to read more older works this year. Fancy joining in? Play along! You can go for a bingo (horizontal, vertical or diagonal) or try to fill out the whole card. Tag me in by linking back to this post on your progress updates and I’ll run a giveaway at the end of the year: one entry for participating, and an extra entry for each completed bingo. Giveaway will be open internationally via Wordery.

Backlist Bingo Challenge

To increase my motivation, I’ll be focusing exclusively on backlist books by women, but you don’t need to embrace my gender bias. The bingo is agnostic – play it straight, or introduce your own additional challenge element(s) to fit your reading goals.


I generally want to tackle more of the unread books on my shelves, so I’ve alsoย  joined the #BookSpin challenge on Litsy. We each nominate 20 books we’d like to read from our TBR and TheAromaOfBooks will pick a random number each month to select the title we then tackle. The emphasis is on fun so there’s no pressure – a DNF so you can cross the book off your TBR is just as valid. I only plan to join in 6 reads so that I can weave this challenge in with the other commitments I’ve already made – not least because there’s no overlap between my #BookSpin picks and my Backlist SFF picks…


Last of all, I’m joining BookishMarginalia‘s fun A to Z challenge. I’m playing at the lowest difficulty – a read for each letter of the alphabet, based on the first letter of the title (ignoring articles) or the author’s surname.

Buddy Reads

I do love reading along with friends, so when I heard Runalong Womble was planning a series of monthly read-alongs my 2020 plans changed abruptly. That said, his selections dovetail nicely with my Backlist reading challenge, so hopefully this will help keep me on track! I’ll be joining some or all of the monthly reads of the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold; the Deverry Cycle by Katharine Kerr;ย  and the Patternist Saga by Octavia Butler.

…and that’s before we get to Wyrd and Wonder and SciFiMonth, for which I’ll likely host or join at least one more read-along.

Last but by no means least, I’m wildly excited about how the shortlists are already shaping up for this year’s Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards (the most critical buddy reads of the year). 2019 was an epic year in publishing – if our reading lists are already looking spectacularly satisfying, the decisions and discussions are likely to be devastatingly hard!

Blogging Goals

I don’t think I achieved any of the blogging ambitions I sort of set for myself last year, and I’m not going to set any specific blogging goals this year. My time to blog will continue to be heavily constrained by my work, so I’d prefer to focus primarily on my reading.

That said, I hate how few books I reviewed last year. This was mostly due to time constraints and/or exhaustion: I just couldn’t summon the concentration to write considered reviews for everything – and before you know it, a couple of months have passed and it becomes difficult to write anything at all.

So I want to get back to reviewing every read this year. As I’m likely to be just as busy / tired, my goal is to post immediate impressions to LibraryThing and GoodReads on completion of each book. I’ll continue to write long-form reviews here on the blog for as m any as possible, but if I only manage to give ARCs and favourites the fully-considered treatment I won’t feel so bad if I’ve captured my gut reactions to the rest.

What are your plans for 2020?