Another year, another To Do List.




For two years, quite miraculously, I kept a running goal list of books read from January to December. My goal for 2011, 2012, and 2013 consecutively, was 50 books per year. For ’11 and ’12 I was dutiful in writing up brief reviews, and keeping a running list of items that interested me. Neither year, despite my dutifulness, did I reach the goal of 50 books, but I did come in at a respectable 25 and 28—I insist on calling this respectable because I held down two semesters of decent course loads both years.

2013 suffered… brutally, both from a shortened attention span caused by too many moves cross country and back again. I did manage to trudge my way through bits of poetry, newspapers, an intro to film textbook, and the majority of the Stephanie Plum adventures, but no record was kept of details. Not respectable, in my view.

So, here I am on the precipice of another year with the opportunity to set reading goals… among other possibly achievable To Do Lists. Am I so daunted by personal history to lessen the book goal and shoot for a number smaller than 50? No. No I am not.

To my shamefully scattered list of 2013 reads I can, as of today, add Margaret Atwood’s Oryx & Crake. I intend to finish the trilogy in the first weeks of 2014, then move on to the works of Alice Munro, including Dear Life. From there, I will tackle George Saunders, Neil Gaiman, Kevin Powers, Cheryl Stayed, William Landay, Charles Krauthammer, and Gillian Flynn, all of whom have titles listed on the ’12 and ’13 New York Times Best Seller list.

I don’t yet know the titles of the two required textbooks I’ll have this semester—lack of funding has cut me down from a decent course load to only two classes this semester. But I’ll be tossing those in with my book list as well as bits from Anne Sexton’s  and Alan Ginsberg’s poetry collections. On a free trial of Audible I have The Book Thief, and on what’s left of my personal bookshelf, I have The Time Machine, Moby Dick, and White Fang—all classics that I’ve not yet taken the time to sit down with.

Besides the reading goals I intend to tackle the, perhaps, typical life changes many folks realize are important at this time of year: eat more vegetables, exercise, blah blah blah. I, however, do not dare to call these goals Resolutions.

Until the new year rings in, I’d love to hear suggestions for reading materials from y’all. What’s on your list? What delicious literary items should I not allow myself to miss in 2014?

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