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! I’m almost frightened to look…

The 2020 Results

I planned much of my reading at the beginning of the year, but events soon drove me into the mother of all slumps, so my good intentions were thrown by the wayside as I retreated into the comforting worlds of vintage and classics. That won’t stop me from planning ahead again this year, though! Failure is merely a state of mind…

1) Reading Resolutions

I planned to read:

a) 88 books that I already owned as at 1st Jan 2020. 

The Result: I read 52. This is bad. Very bad. Even worse than last year when I managed 60. Oh well, never mind! Might as well start off the way I mean to go on…

b) 8 books for the Around the World challenge.

The Result: Yay! I did it! I finally finished this challenge and loved doing it, so I count this one as a major success! 

c) 22 books from my Classics Club list. 

The Result: I read 12. This one all went horribly wrong! Not that I didn’t read classics – I did – tons of them. Just not the ones on my Classics Club list. I find as I get near the end of this challenge the books that looked so shiny when I put them on the list five years ago are now looking somewhat dull and tarnished. Must do better!

d) 6 books in Reginald Hill’s Dalziel and Pascoe series.

The Result: Ooh, so close! I read 5, mostly in audiobook format, and thoroughly enjoyed all of them. So I don’t care that I…

e) 7 books for my Spanish Civil War challenge

The Result: I read a measly miserly 2! I have no excuses – I hang my head in shame.

f) 12 books for the Murder, Mystery, Mayhem challenge.

The result: I read 6. Despite reading a zillion vintage crime books, I failed to fit these in. I blame the British Library for sending me all the review copies…

g) 24 books first published in 2020 (minimum).

The Result: I only read (to the end) 20 new releases this year. Admittedly I also abandoned an astonishing 15 – mostly for being too woke or for sending me to sleep. Sometimes both. So my failure was not for want of trying! (Am I sounding defensive now? I think I am… 😂)

2) Reduce the TBR

I aimed for an overall reduction of 40 books last year. So…

Target for TBR (i.e., books I own): 165

Result: 193

Target for combined TBR/wishlist (which is a truer picture): 282.

Result: 280

WOOHOO!!! For the second year in a row I’ve met the combined target reduction! This is because I’ve continued to acquire loads that were already on my wishlist, while practising iron self-control to limit additions to the wishlist, with the result that it’s steadily decreasing.

Overall I read 112 books, which is the lowest number since I started recording my reading on Goodreads in 2013, and a lot of them were quite short! My page count was also down but this figure on Goodreads is never accurate since it assumes 100% of the pages in abandoned books and often assumes zero pages for audiobooks, so I tend to ignore it.

I didn’t set a specific target for review copies, but I took a total of 63 which is considerably down on the last few years, though still a bit too high. I’ve cut right down on NetGalley since I’ve found I’ve been abandoning so many new releases, but my favourite publishers have all been super generous with paper copies again this year, despite lockdowns! The number of unread review books at the end of the year has risen slightly from 24 last year to 26 this year.

Despite my see-sawing slumpiness throughout the year, and despite having failed at nearly every target I set myself, overall I feel good about my *ahem* achievements. 

* * * * * * * * *

Resolutions for 2021

After this year’s dire failure to meet almost any of my targets I’m going to try to be a bit more realistic this year. There’s a lot of crossover in these targets…

1) Reading Resolutions

I plan to read:

a) 72 books that I already own as at today. Although I’m reducing the target, this is still higher than I’ve achieved in the last few years. Lots of the books in the targets below are included in this figure, so it’s not as bad as it seems…

b) 12 books from the People’s Choice Polls, where I reveal a few of the oldest books on my TBR and you, the People, choose which one I should read. I already have the last three you picked lined up to be read in the first three months of the year.

c) 18 books from my Classics Club list. I only have 18 left to go but I’m supposed to finish by mid-summer. I think that’s highly unlikely, so I’m extending the deadline to the end of the year. Doable.

d) 6 books in Reginald Hill’s Dalziel and Pascoe series. These get chunkier as the series goes along, so this might be ambitious, but I’m enjoying them, so we’ll see… 

e) 8 books for the Spanish Civil War challenge. This is the year when finally I intend to get into this challenge properly. If not now, never!

f) 12 books for the Murder, Mystery, Mayhem challenge. I’m sticking with 12 even though I failed so dismally this year. Not sure that I’ll succeed next year either!

g) 36 books first published in 2021 (minimum). I’m really losing touch with contemporary crime and fiction, so am upping this target considerably and am going to make a determined effort to find books that appeal to me. They must be out there, hiding! I’m sure I can do this…

2) Reduce the TBR

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

Target for TBR: 153

Target for combined TBR/wishlist (which is a truer picture): 240.

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

Wish me luck!

* * * * *



76 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolutions aka…

    • Haha, failing at all my reading challenges has become a kind of tradition – I think I’d actually be disappointed now if I succeeded! 😉 Happy New Year, Meggy! 😀


    • Haha, I must admit I laugh at myself every year when I do this post – failing has become such a tradition! I think I’d actually be disappointed if I discovered I’d succeeded… 😉 Happy New Year, Brona! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Happy New Year, FictionFan! May 2021 be kind to you, and a better year for us all. We could use it! This is one of those years where I don’t think reading has been ‘normal’ for any of us. It’s been that sort of year, so even though you didn’t meet your reading goals, you made it through. You read some good stuff. You survived the novels that you didn’t like. That’s a good thing in itself. Time to take a deep breath and be glad we got through it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy New Year, Margot, and thank you! I can’t say I had any regrets in saying goodbye to 2020, and am hoping 2021 lets us all get back to some kind of normality, whatever that is! In books, and in life! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post. I failed at quite a few of my goals as well. Hardly read a book that I own (which is a huge number, like 400 unread) and my TBR has climbed dramatically. Oh well! 2021 here we come. Happy New Year! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, bookish failure is such fun though – where would we be if it wasn’t for our ever-expanding TBRs? I’m so used to failing now I think I’d actually be quite disappointed if I succeeded… 😉 Happy New Year, Zoe – hope 2021’s a good one! 😀


  3. I love the way you read plenty of books from certain genres like crime and classics, though not from your official list. It probably all still counts. Happy new year, and hopefully 2021 will be better, it certainly couldn’t be much worse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy New Year, Alyson! Yes, indeed, I hope 2021 is better for us all! I was happy to boot 2020 out into the cold last night! I was actually surprised at how much I’d read despite my slump – clearly it wasn’t a reading slump so much as a retreat from anything too challenging – comfort reads all the way. And I finally got into audiobooks, which was a major plus! Here’s to lots of great bookish stuff next year… or that should be, this year! 😀


  4. Love the memes you’ve chosen, and I’m in awe of how much you accomplished (despite the pandemic and resulting reading slump). I imagine all of us, when this thing started, figured it was going to be short-lived. Joke was on us, huh? Anyway, it’s nice to set goals for the new year, and I will eagerly follow your progress. Happy New Year, FF!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I love these animal memes – searching them out is a wonderfully relaxing way to waste some time! 😀 Yes, I used to be involved in pandemic planning when I worked in the Health Service, but somehow even kinda knowing what could happen, it still came as a surprise how much it has affected every part of our lives. 2021 will be better! Happy New Year, Debbie! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Holy moly, FF! You read more books in a year than I read in college (which took seven years) and law school (three years) combined. I can’t say that I’m jealous, exactly, but proud of you for sure. You’re way too hard on yourself. Have the Happy New Year you clearly deserve.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hahaha, but I don’t suppose they let you read all vintage crime! Though it’s actually not a bad way to discover how the law works… 😉 Aw, thank you, Matt! My annual failure report has become a tradition – I think I’d be disappointed if I actually achieved all my goals! Happy New Year – hope 2021 brings you good things! 😀


  6. Hey, wash your mouth out with soap and water, we’ll have none of that foul — oh … sorry. I’d forgotten Hogmanay beckons. Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

    My challenges/goals go somewhat like this: “I will read some books in this or that category” — and then I commit to a number after the event, or month, or challenge is over. Simples! Win win. No beating oneself up. But then, I was never a target-centred kind of person, which is why I was as a teacher ever a square peg in a round hole. And I have the ground-down teeth to prove it!

    Anyway, I thought I was doing well to read 84 books this year. Hah! I’m clearly a lightweight. But enough of me, thanks for sharing your reading this year, and I look forward to whatever titbits you offer us next year! Stay safe, and take care.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahaha, Hogmanay is the only time I ever use Scots, I promise! I’m going to have to practice the Welsh version – checked it out on youtube and I feel it’s actually impossible for humans to say… 😉

      That’s cheating! I like to set myself impossible targets purely for the fun of doing an annual failure post – I think I’ll be devastated if one year I find I’ve actually achieved them all. 😂

      It’s the constant diet of crime that allows me to read so many – they’re much quicker to read than “proper” books, and vintage crime books especially are usually delightfully short! But it’s always the enjoyment that counts – not the quantity! Happy New Year – hope 2021 brings you good things! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, thank you! Failure has become a tradition now, so it would be too upsetting if one year I actually met all my targets! 😉 Happy New Year, Jilanne – may it be better than its predecessor! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. That kitten GIF at the beginning surely must be worth some reading goal points alone, right? 😉

    Thanks for sharing your goals and results! I admire your spirit of getting back on that horse, haha! Seriously, though, nothing ventured, nothing gained. You inspire me. I look forward to following along on your progress through the year.

    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t it adorable? But if I spent less time looking at kitten GIFs, I could probably meet my targets… 😉

      Haha, thank you! I’m so used to failure now I think I’d be worried if I actually succeeded one year! But indeed, it’s the journey that matters, not the destination… 😀

      Happy New Year, Laila – hope it’s a good one!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. As long as there are a few green stamps, it’s hasn’t been a total failure. In fact, considering everything… I think you did just fine! I’ll be curious to see if my numbers go up or down in the coming year since I’m taking a break from reviewing. (95 this year!) I hope you’ll still come look at my book list periodically. My final wrap-up (for my December reading) is posted, so come check it out. Several of the books this month would make my bingo card. 😉

    Happy New Year!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Failure reports are more fun, anyway – imagine how boastful a list of achievements would look! 😉 In the early days of blogging my reading increased dramatically in a bid to keep churning out reviews, and I think I still read more because of it although I’ve learned to take breaks when I need them now. I will indeed be looking at your book lists, and will look forward to you returning to reviewing when you feel the time is right! In fact, there’s talk of another review-along so perhaps I’ll be able to tempt you depending on the book…

      Happy New Year, Kelly – hope it’s a good one! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m not a detailed goal setting kind of person, more a tracking one, then maybe nudging myself in certain directions depending on what I find myself reading and not reading. But I do enjoy you sharing your planned reading frameworks, and also how entertainingly and honestly you relate your journey along these book roads. Another great year of reading for you where the books you read met your interests and needs at the time (and were hastily put [thrown 😉] aside if they didn’t!).
    Ngā mihi mahana o te tau hou kia koe. (Warm greetings for New Year to you.) Good health and lang may yer lum reek!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s the blog that has turned me into this person – I used to just be a mood reader but then somehow all the challenges everyone does got to me, and now I am suffering the Curse of the Spreadsheet! It’s a very enjoyable curse though, and I’ve got used to failure… 😉

      Surprisingly, having checked them both on youtube I find your Maori greeting much easier to say than Calmgrove’s Welsh one! I also discovered Kia Ora seems to be a Maori greeting – all those years of drinking Kia Ora orange juice at the cinema and I never knew that! At this rate I’ll be a linguist soon… 😉 Happy New Year, Christine – hope it brings you joy!


          • All three of us who’ve responded seem to fancy those two, so I’m thinking maybe we should do them both – months apart, of course! I’ll put it on a TBR post this week or next and see if we have any other takers…

            Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, kia ora is a very common greeting here in spoken and written form. It can also be used as ‘thank you’ in certain contexts. When I was travelling in the 80s and was in Nicaragua, one day I came across a travellers’ van with Kia Ora written on it – seeing that, in those pre cell phone days, was like being time warped back home!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, it’s always good to suddenly come across a reminder of home! When I lived in London, if ever two Scots happened to be in the same place they’d suddenly become firm friends as soon as they heard each other accents. 😂

          Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha, thank you! I feel much better now! But I can’t take the credit – it’s all those pesky 1-star books that bring out my bitter sarcasm… 😉 Happy New Year, Rose – hope it brings you joy! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, lovely to hear from you, Sandra! I hope things are a little better for you now and that you’ll feel able to come back soon – you’re missed! We’re planning another review-along… 😉 Happy New Year – let’s hope 2021 is a good one!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Nice work FF! Lots to be proud of here. I join you in thanking the publishers who despite everything kept me going with a steady supply of paper copies-thank god! I didn’t read as much as you, I only clocked in at 105 books this year, which was my goal, but I’m making my goal smaller next year. Also, I never keep track of the pages I’ve read, so who knows how that compares to other years! It always feels like I’m reading more each year but that could be because I have less and less time haha

    Liked by 1 person

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