Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Goals for 2023

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Previous Top Ten Tuesday Topics

After looking forward to future releases in 2023 last week, we are looking at bookish goals for the upcoming year – new year resolutions for the bookish.

The problem for me is that I am a complete mood reader and rarely plan the things I should be planning (work, lessons, budget…) let alone reading! After all, reading for me should be a pleasure, a release and a refuge – and perhaps overly planning would deprive it of some of its joy. Were I to set a target of a certain number of books a year to read, how would I feel if I did not meet it? Were I to plan to read at least one book a month in a certain genre, or set in a certain country, or with a certain representation, how would I feel as the end of the month approached and I had not found a book that met the arbitrary criteria, or I stumbled on another book I wanted to read more?

I know many people who love reading challenges like the Popsugar Reading Challenge (the 2023 version of which is available here if you are one of them) and have extended and broadened their reading habits as a result. And that’s great! Personally, I have tried them before… and they don’t work for me. And some of the categories are so abitrary! An author with the same initials as you? Why is that any indictor of either quality or enjoyment? A book with a rabbit on the cover? Sometimes it is fun to look back at those lists at the end of the year and see which categories I could have ticked off, even coincidentally!

Anyway, the list the follows is deliberately rather vague and more a wish, a hope than any sort of commitment!

To frequent more independent book shops.

The book industry is so dominated by the big booksellers – the Amazons and the Waterstones of this world – that the independents can be squeezed, especially in the aftermath of covid. Yes, for the sake of price and convenience, and with my kindle, of course I will order from Amazon and I will pop into the the local Waterstones, but I would also like to make the effort to celebrate and to support those independent sellers who offer more than corporate convenience.

To use the local library for books more often.

To be honest, I do frequent the local library frequently: my autistic daughter finds it a very safe and welcoming space and we go to Lego club most Saturday afternoons. I can see her wanting to join the Dungeons and Dragons club there too – which is not something I would discourage in any way!

But it would be good to use it more often for books!

The corollary of these first two hopes would be that more of my reading would be physical rather than electronic too – not that I object to ebooks (I’d be lost without my Kindle!) but there is something so satisfying about the weight of a book in your hands, the heft and the movement of its pages, the feel of the paper…

To continue to shadow the longlists of the Women’s Prize for Fiction (announced 7th March 2023) and Booker Prize (announced July 2023).

This is an annual ambition with my reading – not that I always manage to read the whole longlist of either but it has become a habit to read at least some, maybe most, of the shortlists and longlists. If I’m honest, the Booker Prize I often find a little conventional and worthy and less exciting a list than it used to be; the Women’s Prize has often taken more risks and introduced me to many of my favourite writers.

To read from the International Booker Prize longlist (announced in March 2023).

I have read a few books from these lists on and off – David Diop’s At Night All Blood is Black – and did feel my reading was a little monocultural last year. This is, more than anything, a reminder to myself that this is a resource to find a wider range of reading – which is really how I approach all these prize lists.

There are of course a range of other book prizes that I also mine for new reads – the Arthur C. Clarke, Hugo, CWA Daggers…

To shadow the Carnegie Medal, which appears to have been relabelled as the Yoto Carnegies (the nominated titles of which have already been released from which the longlist will be announced on 15th February 2023).

This is something that I have done for years again, to the point that I have run a reading club at school for students. Again, this is a prize that has selected some exceptional books and writers – Terry Pratchett, Phillip Pullman, Phillip Reeve, Patrick Ness…

To read more poetry.

Whilst I am not going to set myself a target, for the reasons enunciated above, I would like to read more poetry – some more – because I remember reading and loving poetry more than other forms at University. Its brevity, its conciseness, its power. I’d love to re-read some more classic poetry and read some contemporary poetry.

Yes, I am likely to be keeping an eye on the Forward and the T. S. Eliot prizes, but also I’d really like to head back to the metaphysicals after reading Katherine Rundell’s Super-Infinite, her biography of John Donne!

To keep up to date with Goodreads

Primarily because it’s an easy and quick way to keep track of my reading!

To keep an up to date reading spreadsheet

I wrote a spreadsheet last year – after using ones available online for a couple of years – and refined it this year. I like the pretty graphics. I like the numbers: it can track how soon after publication I got a book, how soon after buying a book I began to read it, how long it took to read after I began… and how many new books I acquired that I have not yet read. It can track my favourite themes and tropes, representation…

To start a reading journal

Because so often numbers are simply… insufficient to engage with the incredibly complex and personal experience of reading,

At present, I do am not quite sure how to start one… ideas and examples would be very welcome!

To read daily, even if only for a few minutes or pages.

Reading for me is about well-being and re-centering, about finding that “me” time. It is so easy in a world as hectic and as busy as we are in to become tired, to overlook the time and energy that we deserve!

To keep blogging

The same is to be said of my blog: it is a day or two a week where I spend time connecting with people on the terms I love best, as a reader. Keeping up with book reviews, without feeling too harassed as unwritten reviews start (inevitably) to pile up; keeping up with these Top Ten lists… it is all a part of finding time for myself, time to be still and reflect on and share, rather than simply consume, books.

Every view, ever comment, every like on the blog is so deeply appreciated!

To be curious, courageous and to enjoy the books I read

This pretty much speaks for itself – and perhaps for me I need to remind myself that it is okay to not finish a book which is a lesson I find… difficult!

Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes

January 24: New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2022 (If you didn’t read books by 10 new authors, share new-to-you authors whose books you added to your TBR in 2022. Get creative, if needed!)
January 31: Freebie

February 7: 2023 Debut Books I’m Excited About
February 14: Love/Valentine’s Day Freebie
February 21: Favorite Heroines
February 28: Genre Freebie
(Pick a genre and build a list around it. It could a list of favorites, a to-read list, recommendations for people interested in reading books in that genre, “if you like this, try this”, etc.)

20 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Goals for 2023”

  1. The yearly challenges I participate in are completely achievable, and I join these to guide my reading when I feel a lull coming on. I’m focusing this year on reading or giving away books I own and haven’t read. I also have created my own Kindle book of 365+ poems so that I can read a poem each day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The word goal or resolution can be off-putting and imply a major commitment. In the rest of my life that is true. For reading, I approach it with less rigor and determination. My goals are out there, but I don’t measure myself or my reading against them. If I fall short (and I almost always do), nobody cares, least of all me. But, they do give me a bit of direction. And I’m doing Popsugar again this after a couple years away…..I see your point about the arbitrary oddball prompts (a rabbit??), BUT looking for an author that I haven’t read before with my initials was an interesting exercise and I hope I’ve found one I’m going to like and will broaden my reading. It’s as good a reason to pick a new book as any other, I guess. I really like your wishes for the year and hope you have great success with them.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am quite happy with the statistics that StoryGraph provides. But your tracking sounds very interesting as well. I thought about keeping track of new purchases, etc., but that would be yet another things that takes away from my reading.

    Book journal— you mean a record of books read by hand and on paper? I stopped journalling on paper a long time ago, it‘s what I use my blog for…


  4. I’m one of those crazy people who LOVES reading challenges. They do help expand my reading horizons and just add a fresh element to my reading. Even the super arbitrary prompts are fun for me. Obviously, though, you have to do what works for you because, you’re right, reading is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Not stressful. Good luck with your goals!

    Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!


    Liked by 1 person

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