So I’ve been mulling over setting some reading goals for the new year. I don’t like setting hard goals to meet and I never make New Year’s resolutions. But, I do have some general goals I’d like to accomplish this year and going forward.
When I started the blog back in November I didn’t have any goals other than start the damn blog! Then once it launched I tried to post at least twice a week. That was it really. But now that I’m a matured and seasoned blogger (of about two months) it’s time to get serious. In a non-committal kind of way. So here’s a few or more general things I’d like to start doing.
READ MORE DEBUT NOVELS
This year I want to read at least one debut novel a month. I know, right there like two paragraphs above I said I don’t like setting hard goals, and here I’ve set a number. Shush…I can do what I want, it’s my blog.
Anyway, I’d like to read at least one debut novel each month. For a long time I’ve only read books after the author is established. But that means I miss out on the excitement of finding a new author and getting to tell everyone about them. And yeah it may mean I read a few duds, but my guess is I find some gems too. If 2017 was any example there is great potential for some awesome new fiction. So, one new debut a month and by the end of the year maybe I can post a decent best of 2018 list.
For January my debut is Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft. Now I know, this isn’t exactly a debut because he self-published it a few years ago, but it just got picked up by Orbit and released today. It was his debut novel, and I’m treating it as a debut for 2018.
READ MORE SHORT STORIES
Ok, this section should probably be titled “Read SOME Short Stories.” I like never read short stories. Ever. But I should. So I’m gonna start.
I know a lot of writers get their start in short fiction. And I know (or so I’ve heard) there’s some really good material out there. They’re important enough that major awards are given out each year. Really I just suck and need to dive into this medium.
So, another goal is to read short stories. I don’t see myself picking up subscriptions to fantasy or science fiction magazines (though maybe that would be a goal for another year). What I plan on doing is buying a few of the collected annual publications and maybe others as I come across them. What I hope to start with is Art of War edited by Petros Triantafyllou. It has stories by a number of authors I already love so it seems like a good launch point.
READ MORE NON-WESTERN FICTION
I really want to read more non-western science fiction/fantasy and non-western fiction in general. By this I mean books in a non-western (western Europe or North America) setting, or books written by non-western authors.
So much of what we read is western oriented and I know publishers are trying to find and give us new, fresh, and diverse material. I for one really want to dive into books set in Asia or Africa, or even Eastern Europe or that have tones and themes from those regions. Last year I read The City Of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty, a Middle Eastern Muslim inspired fantasy which was really good. I want to continue that.
So far this year I only have one non-western book on my list…only because I haven’t come across any more, and the sequel to The City Of Brass isn’t coming out ’till 2019. But I’m looking. The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang is said to be “inspired by the bloody history of China’s twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic” (HarperVoyarger). This will also count as a debut, so birds…stone…you know the drill.
READ MORE DIVERSE AUTHORS
I’ll admit, most of what I’ve read in my life has been written by white men or women. There’s a million reasons for that but it doesn’t excuse my lack of more diverse reading. This year I want to broaden my horizons and explore worlds created by authors of color and LGBTQ authors. In many ways this goal is related to the one above because there’s some definite overlap, and publishing houses are trying (though they could do better) to publish more diverse authors.
This year I’d like to begin by reading one or more of Nnedi Okorafor’s books and may start with Binti, which won the Hugo Award in 2016 and the Nebula Award in 2015 for best novella. I have a few other authors/books on my list and just need to decide which ones to pick up. I’d love some recommendations if you have any.
READ MORE AWARD WINNERS
I started this category last year but want to really expand on it in 2018. I want to read current and past major award winners. How far I take this I don’t know just yet, but I definitely will include the following awards:
National Book Award
Maybe Bram Stoker Award
Too many more than those and it will just get unwieldy. I’ve already hit on a few of these this year with The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (review to come) which won the Hugo in 1976, Nebula in 1975, and Locus in 1976 for best novel. If I add Binti above I’ll be on a roll! But seriously, I’d like to read the books that win each award this year and then add a few more as time permits. With each award having multiple categories this could be a little daunting but who doesn’t like a good challenge?
So, there you go…my reading goals for 2018 (and beyond). We’ll see come December how I did. If I add any more I’ll let you know. And as always, if you have suggestions for any category or book in general I’d love to hear them.