Do you have a reading plan?

Posted February 9, 2020 by Lory in discussions / 46 Comments



At the beginning of the year, I love reading about other people’s reading goals and making my own. I also sympathize with those who want to have no or very few goals. Nobody should feel that reading has to be a chore.

This year, I noticed that some people have more specific plans than I do. They aim to read a certain number of various types of books per month, for example — different genres, books from their shelves vs. new acquisitions, etc. I wondered if this might be helpful for me to try.

Since my main goals are reading more books from around the world, more nonfiction, and books from the Back to the Classics categories, I could for example aim to complete at least one around-the-world / nonfiction / classic book each month. Sometimes there would be overlap, making things easier! I also would like to read books from my own shelves, since I took the trouble to haul them all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, so I could put in one of those as well.

Four books per month seems doable, and would help me not to forget about my goals as the year progresses. What do you think? Do you have a reading plan for yourself, and how is it working?

Linked in the Book Blog Discussion Challenge hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight!

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46 responses to “Do you have a reading plan?

  1. I don’t really have a plan, but rather I let the ARCs I get do the planning for me. Mind you, I sometimes have to be careful about what books I ask for to make sure that I don’t have too many coming out all at the same time. That’s because I’m a slow reader due to my mild dyslexia.

    • Too many books coming out all the same time is disaster. I have to watch out for that too (in times when I allow myself to request ARCs at all).

  2. I tend to read around trips I have planned–this year we are going to Maine and so I have a list of books set in or about Maine. Other than the classics challenges (and Karen does a good with her categories), I tend to let whim dictate more than anything. I never want to feel like I “have” to read something.

  3. That seems like a good reading plan! One thing that has helped me a lot is making a habit of checking in on my plans/goals regularly to see if they’re working for me. Sometimes I set a goal that seems reasonable and doable, but then in practice it turns out not to be a good fit for me, so then I reassess.

    In general I don’t make specific reading plans anyway, because I invariably rebel against them. Future Jenny is capricious.

    • Yes, we should not get locked into ideas just because they are ours. We can always change them if they don’t work.

  4. I set a number for the Goodreads challenge, but if I don’t make it, I don’t make it. I can see by midyear if it’s doable, and change it if I must. I stopped doing any other challenges with counts, and just do prompt challenges now. The commitment is about 1 book a month, and I actually enjoy those challenges. Other than that, I have committed to reading more shelf books, because I paid for them, I should read them.

    • I prefer prompt challenges vs. counting myself. I agree about the shelf books. I should read more of what I have!

  5. Guilt-free reading for pleasure is my plan for 2020, if you can call it a plan, but I have vague goals of reducing my accumulated books — joining in literary events if the mood takes me — keep up an average of five books a month where feasible. That’s probably it! Hopefully no house move is on the horizon, as it was for you, which forces one to make hard choices.

  6. I have a basic plan, but it keeps morphing.
    The main idea is every month to read a mix of classics, of brand new books (but I TRY to limit myself to 2 ARCs per month), and of books that have been on my TBR for a while.
    As for audiobooks, I like to alternate between classics and thrillers in French. This year, I’m adding to the mix the Bible. And as for the classics, I’m going to try to listen to a lot of Hercule Poirot. It will probably take me more than this year to listen to all of it.
    But there are also events coming up, disrupting this somewhat, like the Japanese Literature Challenge, though I try to combine it with classics and books on my shelves.

  7. I tend to prefer making broad plans rather than specific ones. I know that my personality wouldn’t work well with specific monthly goals, much like it doesn’t work well with monthly TBRs. By making my goals yearly and phrased in a general way, it keeps my anxiety at bay and I’m usually able to achieve whatever I set out to do in the first place!

  8. I guess I have a loose plan – I try to keep pace with the regular schedule of my reviews, but other than that, I let the chips fall where they may. More important to me than reading a certain number of books or any quantitative goal like that is simply making time to read every day; I think of it like exercise, for my brain. I did set myself a Goodreads target for the year this year, and it already looks like I’ll hit it no sweat 😉

    • I don’t set those numerical goals because I know I’ll always read as much as I can. But sometimes I get stuck in genre ruts and that’s what I try to address.

  9. My plan is to read 200 books this year, 100 of which will be by Australian women. This gives me the freedom to explore. I usually read between 200 and 250 books a year BUT I am no longer in paid employment so I do have a little more reading time available.

  10. Your plans sound great, and definitely achievable. Good luck, and I hope you enjoy them!

    I try not to make specific plans because immediately it all becomes like homework and painful and I don’t read the planned books in an elderly teenaged stroppy sort of way.

    Having said that, I am going to be reading for Sylvia Townsend Warner week (this year I cunningly intend to do the reading IN ADVANCE so I don’t run out of time) (I bet nobody’s ever thought of that before), and I am trying to read more Victorian fiction as ‘background’ for the book I’m writing at the moment. So those are more specific plans, but vague enough to keep the teenager inside me from freaking out.

  11. ardene

    I identify with Helen

    I try not to make specific plans because immediately it all becomes like homework and painful

    Having said that, I did notice that I read little non fiction last year (other than biography/ memoir), so I have set myself an easy goal of 1 nonfiction book a quarter. Happy to say that I’ve read two so far, though neither of them will make my favorite list for the year.

  12. My reading plans rarely work – part way through they start to feel like a straight-jacket. I’ve opted for the random approach… maybe that’s a plan after all!

  13. I don’t have much of a plan this year. I was much too strict on my reading schedule last year… This year I’m simply trying to get caught up on honest reviews so I can have more time to mood read 🙂

  14. One of each every month sounds a little too stringent to me. At least for right now. I have very similar reading goals, but I’m also trying to cut back the requirements. For one thing, my hours at work increased and I probably can’t read as much heavy stuff as I would wish.

    • The monthly thing might be too much, I agree. I hope to read 8 to 10 of each category this year, and let the rest fall where they may.

  15. I don’t plan out my reading much, but in past years I’ve participated in challenges, which ended up giving me monthly goals for specific types of books. The only goal I have this year is to read a couple of my backlist ARCs per month so I can clear them away (and keep up with my current ARCs!).

    • It’s important to find the goals that work for you. If you are unsuccessful, it may be the plan, not you.

  16. I like your plan.

    Me? I have no plan but I have goals. Lots of them. My problem is that I’m a massive mood reader so I struggle to read something if I’m not “feeling it” and my brain goes on strike if I have to read to a deadline or a list. Sigh… Winging it with intent is more my style. I have a whole load of options and I read what I’m in the mood for from those options (rather than searching for new) and it works well so far!

    • I can relate to that brain going on strike thing! I also like having a load of options and reading what I’m in the mood for from that. Introducing a bit more structure seemed like it might help me diversify, but we’ll see how it goes.

  17. You and I have very similar reading goals, like reading more nonfiction and more from around the world. I have a monthly book club that reads “women of the world” so that helps. This year I’m actually trying to plan less, at least for now. I typically do quarterly TBRs and try to read a book or two for each challenge every month. At the moment I’m feeling more like I need to read what comes my way and just see where I can slot them into challenges. I think as the year goes on I’ll have to address challenges more directly but for now this feels good. The one thing I’m a bit obsessive about is managing my library waitlists. I watch them constantly to see what’s coming and what’s new. So my reading is largely (and maybe too much) driven by what comes in from my library holds.

    • I took all my books off hold a while ago because it was making me feel too pressured. Now, I put them on a wishlist and if they happen to be available when I need something to read, I check them out. I know this keeps me from reading a lot of the hot titles, but it works better for me – at least for now. I know the appeal of looking forward to something you’re really excited about, though!

  18. I have yearly goals that I don’t stress about too much. They function more like gentle reminders. But I think having a goal of a few books/month wold be more helpful for making sure you get to particular titles. One thing I am trying to do is one middle grade/week but functionally that goal is really just becomes ’52 middle grade titles in a year’…

    • Having some rough numbers in mind is helpful in some ways. But I’ll try not to feel guilty if I fall behind.

  19. I used to just have yearly goals, but this year, I’ve started writing an actual reading list for every month. So far, I’m really enjoying it! I’m reading more intentionally and I’m reading books the complement each other. I also feel less overwhelmed by my to-read list because I have a plan 🙂

  20. I kept my goals simple this year. I did notice this seems to be the trend of breaking down what type of reading each person wants to accomplish.

  21. I’ve kind of morphed four reading challenges into one. My main goal is to read my the physical books on my shelves. I used the three Girlxoxo challenges to pre-select which books I’ll read each month so I don’t have to stress out over that aspect of it. And then I’m following the strategy suggested by The Unread Shelf Project 2020 where the books have to GO at the end of the month, whether I’ve read them or not. Two months in, it’s totally working for me.