New Year’s Resolutions aka…

…The Annual Failure Report…

It has become an annual tradition at this time each year that I look back at the bookish resolutions I made last year, confess just how badly I failed, and then, nothing daunted, set some more targets for me to fail at next year. So, let’s begin!

The 2018 Results

1) Cut back on taking freebies for review.

The Target: Accept no more than 48 for review, and read at least 48, so my backlog at the end of the year should be no more (and hopefully less) than it was at the end of 2017 – i.e., 32.

The Result: Oh! 48! Oh dear, I must have misread that! I seem to have accepted 98! Well, it’s only one number different, right? On the upside, I read (or abandoned) 100, meaning that the outstanding total at the end of the year is now 30.

2) Reducing the TBR

The Targets:

a) Read at least 72 books that were on the TBR at the end of 2017.

b) Buy no more than 36 books during the year.

c) The TBR target for the end of the year to be 170. And the target for the overall figure, TBR plus wishlist, standing at a ridiculous 415 at the end of 2017, to be 360.

The Results:

a) I fear I only managed to read 49 books that were on my TBR at the end of 2017.

b) Even I thought this this one was hilarious! However, I was as strict as possible and managed to keep the number down to a mere 58. So less than double the target – impressive!

c) The TBR total (that is, books I own) stands at a horrific 225! BUT… the overall figure, including wishlist, is down to 364! The mathematicians among you will realise this is because I acquired lots of books that were on my wishlist. I’ve been brutal at controlling additions to my wishlist this year, and it’s paid off!

3) The Challenges

a) Reading the Russian Revolution – I had 5 books to go at the start of the year. I planned to finish this challenge around April/May.

The Result: I did indeed finish this challenge in the early summer and loved doing it. One day I might do a similar challenge. Maybe the Spanish Civil War. Or Europe between the wars…

b) Great American Novel Quest – I planned to restart this once the Russian challenge finished, with a low target of just 4 books in 2018.

The Result: I’ve not been enjoying the American books I put on my Classics Club list on the whole, so have allowed the GAN Quest to lapse. I might revive it from time to time if I read a book that I think meets the criteria – loads of my original list of contenders are still sitting on my TBR.

c) Classics Club – To stay on track with this, I planned to read 24 books in 2018 (and start tackling at least some of the longer ones).

The Result: I nearly made it, but not quite. I read 20 over the year, but I did tackle a few of the longer ones. Overall, that means I’ve caught up a little, but am still a few books behind schedule. However, I’m thoroughly enjoying getting back to some classics reading after years of concentrating on new releases.

d) Around the World in 80 Books – I was about halfway through this one at the end of 2017 and averaging 20 books a year, so that was the target for 2018 too.

The Result: Again, nearly but not quite – I read 16 this year. I’m loving this challenge, though, and have lots of great books lined up for it next year.

e) Murder, Mystery, Mayhem – Targeted 20 books for 2018, on the grounds that this would make this a five year challenge.

The Result: Not even close! I read just 12 of these, mainly because I started receiving lots of other vintage crime novels for review. But I’m enjoying this challenge too, so I don’t mind if it takes longer than I initially planned.

4) Other stuff

I didn’t set targets for anything else, but hoped to fit in some more re-reads and do a bit more catching up with authors and series I’ve enjoyed.

The Result: I re-read 15 books over the year, and 25 that count as “catch-ups”, so I’m quite happy with those figures.

Overall then, while I failed on almost every single count, I somehow feel as if I did pretty well! I’m sure the psychologists would have fun with that…

* * * * *

Resolutions for 2019

I’ve done something I’ve never tried before and I’m not at all sure how I’ll feel about it or if I’ll stick to it. Basically, I’ve planned my whole year’s reading in advance, leaving just 30 spaces for new releases, re-reads and random temptations. The idea is this will stop me adding gazillions of books I’ll never find time to read, and ensure I’m reading loads of the books I already own. It should also mean I’ll make progress on my challenges. So my resolutions this year are strictly a numbers game and there’s lots of crossover among the categories…

1) Reading Resolutions

I plan to read:

a) 88 books that I already own as at today. Since I read roughly 125 books a year, that gives me around 40 spaces to fill with books I either buy or receive for review this year.

b) 25 books for the Around the World challenge. This should complete it this year. I’ve selected all the remaining books now and have already acquired most of them.

c) 25 books from my Classics Club list. Ambitious, but doable, and would bring me up to schedule and even a tiny bit ahead. I already have all of these.

d) 10 books from my sadly neglected 5 x 5 challenge. Again, I already own most of these and anticipate loving them, so why do I keep putting them off for other books?

e) 12 books for the Murder, Mystery, Mayhem challenge, again all ones I already have. I’m going for a lowish figure this year since I’m hoping I’ll still be getting lots of other vintage crime for review.

f) 24 books first published in 2019 (minimum). The downside of my challenges is that I’m reading far less new crime and literary fiction and am beginning to seriously miss it, so I’m going to ensure I read at least two a month.

2) Reduce the TBR

I’m going for an overall reduction of 40 books this year. So…

Target for TBR: 185

Target for combined TBR/wishlist (which is a truer picture): 324.

If I stick to my reading resolutions, it should be easy…

Wish me luck!

* * * * *



68 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolutions aka…

  1. Very best New Year wishes to you FF! Our city lost most of our lums in the earthquakes some years back, but I hope the spirit of a good life for 2019 is with us all. All of this reading planning would be so much easier if we didn’t keep feeling we were missing out on so many brilliant books out there and could feel replete and satisfied with the books we actually had in hand – but where’s the fun in that? 📚

    Liked by 1 person

    • And to you, Christine! Ha – I haven’t had a lum in years – it’s amazing that Santa still finds his way in! Haha, I know! Every day as I trot round the blogosphere I could easily add five books to the wishlist… which is kinda how I got into this mess in the first place! But I do often find I’m ignoring books I’m almost sure to love in favour of books that were a passing fancy. No more! The Queen of Willpower rises again, and this year I WILL NOT FAIL!!! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Failure, come to my arms! A girl after my own heart! I may have to plan my reading for most of the year too. Might I interest you in the French Commune revolution? Emma from Bookaroundthecorner and I are thinking of doing a mini read around that, starting with Zola’s La Debacle.


    • I’ve never planned a year ahead before, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to stick it but we’ll see! Ooh, that sounds like fun! It’s a period I know almost nothing about but would like to, and I’m ashamed to admit I’ve not read any Zola. (I did try to read one of his novels in French back when I still remembered some of it, but it was way beyond my level.) I’m in for La Debacle at least – when were you thinking of starting? Haha – congratulations on being the first to fill one of my “random temptation” slots… and before the year even begins!! 😂


  3. I haven’t added the Christmas loot into my spreadsheet that I started for A Century of Books (and will keep going in an attempt at control) but my figures are looking bad too. We book addicts can’t help ourselves. Good luck next year.


  4. I am in awe! There is no way that I would read for a whole year to a plan – I just couldn’t do it. Not with so many books to tempt me away from what I thought I wanted to read – it happens all the time to me. Every time I’ve listed the books I want to read something comes over me and I find they are just the books I don’t want to read – well not yet anyway – and I read something entirely different and not on the list.

    I wish you Good Luck and Happy Reading for 2019!


    • Haha – I have no idea if I’ll be able to stick to it either, but I get annoyed with myself every year for being distracted from the many books I own and really want to read by whatever new shiny thing takes my fancy! We’ll see if it works – I might go insane by February… 😉

      Thank you! Happy New Year – hope it’s filled with chocolate and bookish delights! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Maybe it’s because I have no willpower and I’m painfully slow with reading challenges, but I think you did ok – I’d claim this all as a victory FF! I’m intrigued by your planning out a whole year’s reading in advance – let us know how that goes. A very happy new year to you FF – Slainte!


    • I did really well up to September and then it all fell apart! Clearly I let my chocolate levels dip too low. I’m intrigued to see how the planning goes too. I always plan three months ahead, though I change it all the time, so I might be fine with it or it might drive me crazy… 😱

      Slainte! May your year be filled with bookish delights! 🍾

      Liked by 1 person

  6. All the best for the new year to you, FictionFan! As for the past year, it’s in the past, right? No sense wallowing in that ‘unread book’ guilt. I know there were a lot of books I wanted to read this year and, well, didn’t. I give you credit for making plans and resolutions for your reading, and keeping your focus, even as those shiny temptations come by… If I were you, though, I’d make sure your feline rulers and your postie are all right with your plans, and aren’t sabotaging you in secret… 😉


    • Hahaha – I have warned T&T that they would make a lovely pair of slippers if they don’t behave… and I’m training them to bite the postman! 😉 I do enjoy the challenges – they stop me reading a constant diet of the most hyped new releases. But something has to be done about the piles of unread books – they’re becoming a hazard!

      Happy New Year, Margot! May it be filled with bookish delights!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You may not have hit all your goals, but you still read a lot of books! I think my biggest goal this year is to read more books that I already own. Here’s hoping we both can accomplish that one! Happy new year! 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hahaha. I do wish you luck. And in any case, a failed challenge is a reading success that looks different, that’s all.
    However, I have to say I am rooting for the reading lots of what you own idea. I am doing the same.


    • Ooh, I like that idea – I shall adopt that for future years! 😀 I do hope we all succeed with the reading what we own – it does annoy me when I have books I really want to read lying neglected in favour of books that I got on a whim. This is the year…!!

      Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I could never have read as much either while I was working and playing hard – retirement is a wonderful thing! 😉 Thank you, and thanks for popping in and commenting. Happy New Year to you! 🍾

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hahaha – it’s because I’m lazy that I read so much! I don’t blog about all the things I’m neglecting while I read… 😉 Happy New Year – may it be filled with laughter and chocolate! 🍾


  9. Well there’s worse things to be addicted to! I think I just planned to have one month when my TBR was only one shelf as in not double stacked, and I fear that did NOT happen. But nemmind, eh!


    • Hahaha – I feel so long as we can be philosophical about the state of our TBRs, we’ll be fine… 😉 Happy New Year, Liz – this’ll be the year you get down to single-shelving, I’m sure… 😉 🍾


  10. Best of luck, FF! You know how much of a mood reader I am, so I couldn’t plan my reading to that degree… but I DO want to read more of my own books this year! The trick is to stop ADDING to that stack of books!


    • Thank you – I’ll need it!! I used to be a mood reader too and would actually like to get back to that if I can ever get the TBR back under control – that’s partly why I’m trying to be so strict for a year or two. And we’ve both done well at culling our wishlists at least! 😀

      Happy New Year, Laila – may it be filled with chocolate and laughter! 🍾

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Good luck! I don’t think I could ever plan my reading that far in advance, but it does sound like a good way to reduce the TBR and progress with your challenges. I’ll be interested to see how you get on with it. Happy New Year!


    • Thanks – I’ll need it!! 😂 I don’t know if it’ll work for me, but if it means I actually read some of the books I’ve had for years, then it’ll be worth it. Unless I go insane…

      Happy New Year, Helen – may it be filled with books and more books! 📚🍾


  12. Happy New Year, FF. *This* is why I try not to make resolutions — I just know I’d fail miserably at keeping them, then have to admit to one and all my shortcomings. I admire you for doing just that! And you know, none of us really thinks you’ve failed. Far from it. I find it simply amazing that you’ve managed to accomplish so many of your goals — well done! Best wishes for meeting the targets for 2019 — and I’ll be interested to read about your successes at this time next year!


    • Thank you, Debbie! Oh, I always fail at my bookish resolutions but I have fun trying! 😀 And they do remind me not to stick to a constant diet of the new releases. I like your confidence – maybe this’ll be the year I succeed… 😂

      Happy New Year, Debbie – may your year be filled with books… reading and writing! 📚🍾

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You really are amazing, FF! I think you should feel good about your numbers because compared to most of us you are doing well- or at least compared to me, you definitely are! I’m curious about your American classics you didn’t enjoy. I hope eventually you’ll find some good ones. Love your resolutions this year and will be wishing you well in meeting them! Loved your Scottish saying, too (had to look it up!). Happy New Year!


    • Hahaha – thank you! I do feel if I spent less time drawing up lists and targets I could probably read twice as much! 😉 Hmm… it’s the older American novels – Gone With the Wind, Moby Dick, and then there was Faulkner… and Lolita… 😂 But I have lots of more modern ones coming up so I expect to get on better with them. Haha – I’ll have you speaking fluent Glaswegian soon… 😉 Happy New Year, Jennifer – may it be filled with bookish delights! 📚🍾

      Liked by 1 person

    • Haha – don’t do it! I reckon if I stopped spending time making plans I could read twice as much! 😉 And I suspect my plan will fall by the wayside by about February… 😂 Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. This is hilarious 😂😆😂😊

    I just finished looking at my books acquired list and I had more than I realized. If d read exclusively from that list I’d be in really good shape but that wasn’t the case.


    • Hahaha – glad you enjoyed it! 😀 Yes, it’s great fun acquiring books but too easy! I’m determined to mostly read books I already own this year – it’s crazy having them lying about for years unopened! This will be the year… 😉

      Happy New Year! 📚🍾


  15. I love this! You are planning almost every read for the year – I am planning no reads for the year. Well, I’m reading, but no planning. Let’s see who does better. I bet I win. Maybe not though. I seem to have a desperate need to plan and schedule and make rules. Ha! Happy New Year!!


    • Haha – I’m great at making plans, but not so good at sticking to them! I bet by February I’ll be revamping the list… or throwing it out for a brand new plan! Whatever we do, hope we both have a great reading year. 😀


  16. Oh my, ok this whole idea of planning your reading in advance? Yikes! That will be tough to stick to, but I have faith in you. And if you decide to do something different-oh well, it will be fun regardless 🙂


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