2014 reading challengeI wrote earlier about setting some reading goals for 2014. I wanted to organize my reading a little better so that I could both get through some stockpiled purchases, and target my reading toward developing my skills in certain areas. So, one month in, how am I doing?

Goal 1: Read 100 Books

I’ve read five so far, and Goodreads is telling me I am on target. I am regretting that Goodreads does not allow half-star rankings—the books I read were better than three stars, but not quite four stars. For instance, [easyazon-link asin=”B008J48RA4″ locale=”us”]The Storyteller[/easyazon-link] by Jodi Picoult was quite a good read, but was marred by Picoult’s fixation on ‘twist’ endings. [easyazon-link asin=”B007RGYXOO” locale=”us”]Thirteen Reasons Why[/easyazon-link] by Jay Asher had a great premise but an unsympathetic narrator. I haven’t hit a five-star book yet.

Goal 2: Do a Thematic Reading Project

I set a goal to read one Jewish-themed book a month this year. I figured that target would still let me read at whim amongst other titles which interested me, but would also give me a chance to explore one topic more deeply and really learn about something. I met the goal this month. The aforementioned Picoult novel was Holocaust-themed, and was my best read of the month. It was about a woman whose grandmother was a Holocaust survivor. When she befriends a man who confesses that he was a Nazi, it prompts her to explore her grandmother’s past.

Goal 3: Read a Book of Daily Essays

I am reading two, actually: [easyazon-link asin=”B004QX052A” locale=”us”]The Book of Jewish Values[/easyazon-link] by Joseph Telushkin and [easyazon-link asin=”0811877876″ locale=”us”]Better Each Day[/easyazon-link] by Jessica Cassity. They are both excellent: Telushkin presents a small nugget of wisdom, with commentary from both biblical and general sources, on a different topic each day, with a review on the weekend. Cassity explores different health tips, drawn from published research, with the aim of presenting a menu of suggestions you can explore throughout the year.

Goal 4: Read More French

A bit of a mixed bag, this one. I was hoping to get through one book a month. I see now that this may be an overly ambitious goal. I still find reading in French—or at least, reading proper, grown-up books and not kiddie stuff—to be somewhat slow-going. I am meeting my goal and getting through a few pages a day, but I won’t finish a whole book every month. The aim of this goal is to increase my fluency, so hopefully this will get easier as the year progresses. And I AM reading every day, so I suppose I get a pass on this one. But it won’t work out to a whole book every month.

Goal 5: Spend Less Money

An unqualified success, this one—I have spent NO money! I’ve loaded up my Kobo and iPad Mini with all the books I bought during the last days of pre-agency pricing, and I am determined to get through those before I buy any more. This is the blessing of ebooks—they don’t go out of stock the way paper books do, so if I see something I want, it’s easy enough to just wishlist it for later. Bad news for the publishers, I guess, but good news for me!

So, how is your reading year going? Are you meeting all your goals?

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"I’m a journalist, a teacher and an e-book fiend. I work as a French teacher at a K-3 private school. I use drama, music, puppets, props and all manner of tech in my job, and I love it. I enjoy moving between all the classes and having a relationship with each child in the school. Kids are hilarious, and I enjoy watching them grow and learn. My current device of choice for reading is my Amazon Kindle Touch, but I have owned or used devices by Sony, Kobo, Aluratek and others. I also read on my tablet devices using the Kindle app, and I enjoy synching between them, so that I’m always up to date no matter where I am or what I have with me."


  1. Well, you inspired me to set a Goodreads goal this year. I started at 50, but a couple of weeks into the month realized that was too low, and I’ve upped it to 100. At 13 read so far, I’m way ahead.

    I didn’t set a spending goal, but with my Scribd subscription, I sort of wanted to see how low I could keep it. I was doing really well ($.99) until I realized they’re finally releasing the James Michener books in e-format. Hawaii (upon which I’ve been waiting more than a decade!) set me back $7.55, so I’m at $8.54 for the month, not including Scribd. Not bad for a voracious reader.

  2. I had originally set my goal at 120 books with 34 set aside for non-fiction, but decided to lower the goal to 100/30. I would have had to choose a lot of shot books to reach 120 but the books I really wanted to read were all longer and more complex. It will still be a challenge as is. I could probably reach 200 per year if I stuck with pulp crime and Sci-fi science fiction, but too much easy reading is a recipe for dullsrums.

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