First, some stats from 2022:
I read 81 books last year, a combination of read-with-your eyes hardcopy books and audiobooks (plus a few that were a combination of both. [I’m looking at you, Les Mis and Great Expectations.]) Sadly, this number excludes any picture books. I’ve yet to consistently keep records on these, which is something I need to remedy. My favorite book of the year was Fellowship Point (review forthcoming). It’s gone on my favorite books of all time list, which is the highest praise I can give. The longest book was the aforementioned two-volume Les Mis (545,925 words!), which my book club read over a two-month period. The book I read (actually listened to) twice was 4,000 Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, a book I hope to revisit often. My favorite middle grade was the powerfully unforgettable Fighting Words.
Now, onto 2023!
If you know me very well, you know I’ve always got book plans and reading goals. For the last few years I’ve completed a “Clear Your Shelves Challenge,” where I’ve read books I already own. (I was also the only participant in this do-it-yourself reading endeavor.) The first year of my challenge I committed to twenty-five books. By December I was really down to the wire when I hadn’t budgeted my reading time very well. But I finished! And it was a really good experience. The last two years, I’ve cut my Clear Your Shelves books down to twelve a year — much more manageable in the midst of book club titles, library holds, and whatever currently is striking my reading fancy.
This year’s version of my Clear Your Shelves Challenge is a little different: I’m only committing to one (enormous) book I already own: …And Ladies of the Club. It’s my mother and grandmother’s favorite book, and since we’re all double-r Starrs, I’ve always meant to read it (600,000 words. It’s a doozy). Of course, I know there will be other books I’ll read that will qualify for this year’s tweaked challenge (I’m thinking of Kristin Lavransdatter, which my book club will tackle this spring), but I’m keeping it simple and just officially committing to Ladies, as far as personal challenges go.
Speaking of book club, we’ve got all sorts of interesting plans, from my beloved The Phantom Tollbooth to David McCullough’s John Adams*, to Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place.**
This will be my third year reading a poem or two most nights before bed. It’s a habit I hope to hold to forever. So far I’ve read through books I own and have checked a few out from the library. I’ve hardly begun to dip into my collection, one largely made up of books that were once my grandmother’s.
Next year for my challenge I’ll read my Lucy Maud Montgomery journals again. This will be my third time through. (I’ve committed to rereading them every ten years. See? Reading goals and book plans.)
And I’ll always read a handful of recent picture book and middle grade novels (and sometimes a bit of YA, too). So far on that list I have The Star That Always Stays, The Midnight Children, and Wayward Creatures.
So much good reading ahead! I’d love to know what do you plan to read this year. Drop me an email or comment below.
*Another enormous, already-owned book.
**Already owned, but alas, not enormous.
Kerry O'Malley Cerra says
You’re always so inspiring with your goals. I love that you’re reading your mother and grandmother’s favorite!
Happy 2023! May it be your best year yet.
Caroline Rose says
Thanks, Kerry. Congratulations on your new book!
Steve Cromwell says
I hadn’t heard of any of these books, and just added four of them to my basket, which is quite a haul of discoveries for one blog post. Thanks!
Glad to hear it.
Anna Rose Johnson says
I am so delighted that you’re going to read TSTAS! Thank you so much! <3
My pleasure. Can’t wait!