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 2021 Results

I continued to plan much of my reading at the beginning of the year, as I have done for a few years now, leaving space for new releases or impulse buys along the way. I never stick to the plan rigidly but it does mean that I remember to make progress towards all of my various challenges… in theory. 

1) Reading Resolutions

I planned to read:

a) 72 books that I already owned as at 31st Dec 2020. I managed to read 53 of these – not as many as planned, but not too bad. I also got rid of another 17, either by abandoning them which happened a LOT this year, or by brutally culling them on the grounds that they no longer appealed. So I feel I’ve been reasonably successful despite the fact that I…

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. Success! I’ve loved this challenge, and have read (or abandoned) all twelve of your choices, and reviewed them all! It’s been a major factor in my culling too – I quickly learned not to put books on the poll I’d really lost all desire to read… 😉

c) 18 books from my Classics Club list. I was due to finish by mid-2021 but knew that was impossible, so extended to the end of the year. Hmm! I read 13 of them. On the upside, my classics reading continues to give me a great deal of pleasure and there were some fab books among the 13, so I feel as if I passed even though I…

d) 6 books in Reginald Hill’s Dalziel and Pascoe series. I said this might be ambitious as the books tend to get chunkier as they go along, so having read 4 this year feels like an achievement, though strictly speaking it’s fair to say that I…

e) 8 books for the Spanish Civil War challenge. I read just 6 for this challenge this year, but in my defence there were some pretty massive factual books in there! And I thoroughly enjoyed the few novels I read, so I feel pretty good about this even though I (All Together, Now!)…

f) 12 books for the Murder, Mystery, Mayhem challenge. I’ve failed to read twelve books every single year of this challenge, so it should come as no surprise to learn that I only read 8 of them again this year. But I’m rather proud of the fact that I bounce back so well from repeated defeats – Robert the Bruce would be proud of me, even though I…

g) 36 books first published in 2021 (minimum). I tried, lord knows I tried. Can I be held responsible for the monstrosities that are brazenly misrepresented as “the best book ever written”? Is it my fault when books are “creatively” written, or written in the first person present tense, or don’t have a plot, or are full of adolescent swearing? Did I make authors think that misery and grief, self-pity and narcissism, death by cancer or dementia, child abuse or graphic violence were entertaining?? I managed to read 22 new releases – or read enough of them to write a review anyway – and abandoned an astonishing 15. So I didn’t meet my target, fair enough, but I don’t feel I can be held solely responsible for the fact that I…

2) Reduce the TBR

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

Target for TBR (i.e., books I own): 153

Result: 179

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

Result: 247

I blame you for this failure. I was doing pretty well till all your Best of 2021 lists came out, tempting me into a flurry of additions to my wishlist at the end of the year! However, the TBR and wishlist both continue to head in the right direction and I feel far more in control of them than I did a couple of years ago, so I feel pretty good about them even though I…

I didn’t set a specific target for review copies, but I took a total of 74 which is considerably up on last year though not as bad as in the years before that. A lot of them have been unsolicited this year, and I’ve become stricter about not automatically adding them to my TBR if they really don’t appeal, but I’ve had some great reads from the unsolicited pile that I’d never have chosen for myself, so overall I love getting them! I’ve cut right down on NetGalley since I’ve found I’ve been abandoning so many new releases, and am being much more careful about which ones I request. The number of unread review books at the end of the year has gone down slightly from 26 last year to 21 this year.

Overall I read 119 books, which is better than 2020 (known as The Year of the Great Slump) but still slightly less than usual (so 2021 will henceforth be known as The Year of the Lesser Slump). But I’ve been back properly in the reading groove for the last few months, so I’m hoping that the slumpiness is behind me now and 2022 will be known as The Year of Great Reading!

* * * * * * * * *

Resolutions for 2022

Despite my failure to meet most of my targets, I’d like to emphasise that I don’t care! So this year’s targets are just as likely to fall by the wayside, but they give me a great excuse to play with my spreadsheet. 😉 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. I’ve never achieved this target but it would feel like cheating to lower it, and who knows – maybe this year! 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. This will be the last 5 from my first Classics Club list, and 13 from my brand new list which looks all shiny and appealing at the moment. Can’t wait to get stuck in!

d) 6 books in Reginald Hill’s Dalziel and Pascoe series. I doubt I’ll achieve this since the books are getting longer now, but we’ll see! The end of the series is beginning to be within sight. 

e) 10 books for the Spanish Civil War challenge. I have 10 books remaining on the TBR or wishlist for this challenge, and then I’m calling it quits. Unless I come across more that I feel an urgent need to add, of course.

f) 12 books for the Murder, Mystery, Mayhem challenge. I’m sticking with 12 even though I failed so dismally this year. 2022 will be the year I succeed…!

g) 8 books for the Wanderlust Bingo challenge. This was really supposed to be a one-year challenge but didn’t work out that way! So I have eight left to go…

h) 24 books first published in 2021/22 (minimum). I’m reducing this target considerably this year given last year’s debacle, but it’s a minimum figure and I’ll be thrilled if I end up reading and enjoying far more – I’ll be trying hard to find some gems! 

2) Reduce the TBR

I’ll be adding vastly to the wishlist this year to include all the classics on my new list that I don’t already own – probably an extra fifty or so. And I’m actually reasonably happy with my current numbers after the reductions of the last three years – don’t want to run out of books! 😉 So I’m aiming to reduce the TBR by only twenty-nine this year to get down to a nice round figure, and the combined TBR/wishlist will actually go up!

Target for TBR: 150

Target for combined TBR/wishlist (which is a truer picture): 280.

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

Wish me luck!

* * * * *



73 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolutions aka…

  1. I really admire the way you set yourself these challenges, FictionFan, whether you meet them or not. I give you credit for that. And let’s face it; life gets in the way of, well, life – and reducing the TBR! Wishing you well – may 2022 be a good year for you, and may it treat us all better.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. You set yourself some pretty high standards, so I wouldn’t worry too much about whether you reach them or not. I’m glad you have at least come to the end of your reading slump, and hopefully 2022 will be a better year for us all. Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, I’m so glad my slump is finally over and I can use books as an escape from life again! Haha, I must admit I make myself laugh with these ridiculous targets I set each year – they are theoretically possible, but then so is time travel! 😉 Happy New Year, Alyson – hope you have a good one!


    • Haha, yes, I’m getting closer to success every year – I reckon one year I’ll achieve all my targets and be so shocked I’ll never be able to read again… 😉 Happy New Year, Julé – hope you have a good one! 🎉📚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! I admire you for keeping track of your TBR piles. I stopped doing that a long time ago. But I think I’ll have to do some culling soon because my piles are growing ridiculously tall! 😀 Happy 2022 to you. I hope you have wonderful reading year! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha, even with regular culling my TBR has a tendency to keep growing! Better that than running out of books though… 😉 Happy New Year to you too – hope you have a good one! :d


  4. After reading through your list of achievements and failures, I must go lie down. Mine pale in comparison. Still, I plan to emulate your lack of concern over not meeting one’s goals. So freeing! Onward to 2022! May it be better than the last two!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Honestly, the majority of those failures are so close to completion, they hardly count as fails. So I say, Good Job!! I love all the Tom & Jerry gifs…. the best might be the umbrella in the mouth! 😹

    Happy New Year and good reading for us all. 🎉📚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. An’ tae ye, an’ a’! I admire your positivity in setting challenges but I think I’ve finally learned that it’s a pressure I don’t need to put on myself when my basic aim is to enjoy what I read! But I support your right to, ahem, stamp ‘Failure’ on your end of year post for 2022…😁 Blwyddyn Newydd Dda, and stay safe. Watch out for those tall dark strangers around midnight…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, happily I’m pretty good at completely ignoring my targets whenever it suits me, and I’m sure all this constant failure must be good for my soul… 😉 A’r un fath i tithau! (Don’t blame me if that’s wrong – blame Google! 😂) So long as they bring cherry cake they’ll be welcome…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Maybe you shouldn’t set so many reading goals for yourself. Then you probably wouldn’t have to put out a failure report. A success report! I only set one goal at the beginning of the year, and that is a number of books on Goodreads. Through the year I participate in a few things, but otherwise, I read what I want.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, but where would be the fun in that? 😉 I failed slightly at my Goodreads one too this year because of my slumpiness, but it’s a much more realistic one for me usually. I set it at 125 books and some years I’m a couple above and some years a couple below. But honestly, I don’t take my targets seriously – they’re only there as a kind of prompt to remind me not to forget my various reading projects. And to let me do a failure report at the end of the year… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Whew, I’m exhausted just reading your list here! And I’m totally in awe of your success — truly! I didn’t set such lofty goals for myself (I’m not a book review blogger, after all!), but I have to modestly admit I completed the number of books I set out to read (despite throwing several at the wall in utter frustration). Happy New Year, FF!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I always feel a sense of achievement when I put this list together, even if I have failed! Well done on meeting your target of number of books set – I missed my own very slightly due to the slump over the summer but I have high hopes off meeting my target this year since the slumpiness seems to have worn off. Happy New Year, Debbie! Hope it’s a good one for you and yours! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You truly teach us all how to fail with grace and good spirits, FF! I love this post as it always makes me feel better about not reaching all of my goals either. Really, you’ve got the right attitude about it… set the goals and you’ll make progress no matter what. Happy New Year and may 2022 be a great reading year for you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha, thanks, Laila! I do feel that I’ve become a bit of an expert in failure – I’m thinking of running courses in it! 😉 Setting the targets definitely does focus my mind on remembering to make some progress towards all my various reading projects and luckily I still feel as if I’ve succeeded even when I fail! 😉 Happy New Year to you too, and I hope it’s a good one for you and your family!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Well done, FF. Thanks for your insights, recommendations and role modelling. My reading achievements pale next to yours, but it’s been a good year for reducing the TBR a little for me. Admittedly, it required the radical step of moving house for six months while our house is being renovated!
    Happy New Year to you & happy reading in 2022.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy New Year, Angela! Ha, when I was younger I had a theory that I should move house every three years simply to force myself to stop hoarding stuff! Sadly I’ve lived in my current house for twenty-five years now and the book hoarding has got out of control… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Happy New Year to you too! Haha, I really only set these targets as a bit of fun and don’t expect to achieve them all. But they serve as a reminder to all the various genres I like to read in and stop me from just sticking to the same thing all the time. I always feel goals should be achievable, but not easy if that makes sense. If I tried really hard (which experience tells me I won’t!) I could achieve all of these… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Happy New Year! Ha, I’ve started the year off with getting way behind with keeping up with my own and everyone else’s blogs, so it’s all going well so far… 😉


  11. I think we both see reading goals in the much the same light; we don’t generally care about them, but we make them anyway because it’s sort of fun. I’ve only read made one goal this year, diversify my reading, but I’m posting my end of year stats tomorrow so you will see the full extent. No matter what goals you made for 2021, you still had a good year of reading, so that’s the main thing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • In fact all my goals together could be summed up as exactly that – to diversify my reading. If I don’t make an effort I tend to read an almost total diet of crime novels which is fun but leaves all the other books lingering! I’m way behind with reading blog posts but will get to your stats post soon – I love seeing other people’s stats! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I enjoyed reading your year in review! Although I don’t like playing the targets game too much myself, I do spend quite a bit of time playing the lists and spreadsheets game, so I understand how diverting it all is. I smiled at how you engaged (or didn’t) with recently published books. I think I must have read more of those this year than I have before. This probably comes from either requesting the library to buy them or putting them on reserve, and then when they turn up, I have to read them. Fortunately I did have a more pleasurable experience with most of the books than you had with yours.
    I also want to thank you once again for the book choices and wonderful reviews you do and how much this contributes to my reading (even if it takes a few years for me to get there. This year examples of books I’ve enjoyed that originated from your recommendations include: Go Set a Watchman, The Scottish Clearances, The Silver Darlings, The Prisoner of Zenda, The Ship Who Sang (I read a book of stories about this character), The Spoilt Kill, The Conjure-man Dies and Scott Turow’s books. Each of the readalongs led me to interesting reading I may not have got to myself. I’ve also been wandering through the Wanderlust Bingo challenge, so thanks for that diversion. The biggest surprise for me was how much I’ve been enjoying the Spanish Civil War novels you’ve recommended. This is not a topic I would have thought of attending to, but each of the novels I’ve read has captured me so far.
    Very best wishes for a peaceful, healthful and book-full year to come FF.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha, glad you enjoyed it! My spreadsheet and targets bring me a lot of entertainment even if I simply set myself up for failure every year! 😉 I must admit I’ve struggled with contemporary fiction for most of my life – I’ve always preferred classics. So this is really a continuation of a trend and more my fault than the books, I think, though I blame them! I think I prefer to read about societies I’m not part of, either because of culture or time – books about my own time and place irritate me because they seem so obsessed with whatever the daily headlines are telling us. Like the plethora of Brexit Britain books, for instance – ugh! I don’t think anyone will say anything really profound about Brexit until at least fifty years have passed and we see what happens.
      I’m so glad to have tempted you to so many books and to know that you enjoyed most of them! The review-alongs have been a lot of fun and I love how they’ve grown organically with no actual planning. While I’m delighted so many people have joined in this time I’m hoping it doesn’t become a kind of regimented book club where we all end up reading things that don’t really appeal much – must guard against that! The SCW novels have been great so far, especially since I’d never heard of most of them and chose them purely based on various Best Of lists. There are several more coming up this year which I hope turn out to be just as good. Here’s to a Bookish New Year! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  13. And a belated Happy New Year from me too, FF, if I haven’t already said it on an earlier post. Or even if I have 😊 Rose has really said it all so I shall say no more but instead look ahead to another stimulating year of lively posts and much chocolate. Bledhen Nowydh Da!

    Liked by 1 person

    • And an even more belated Happy New Year back, Sandra – hope 2022 turns out to be a good one for you! 😀 Haha, I searched for how to respond to your Cornish greeting but google has failed me! So I’ll just say a quick Hoots, mon! and pass swiftly on… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  14. This is funny!! I didn’t fail my reading challenge because I set it up at 100 in January 2021 and then at 89 in late December 2021, which is the number of books I read, so I did complete my reading challenge… :))

    Some of your goals are too harsh though, 24 from books published this year is still a lot, even it is smaller number than last year.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Happy New Year! You seem to have done pretty well overall even if you didn’t meet some of those specific challenges or prompts. All the best with your 2022 goals. I look forward to more interactions in the new year

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You’ve read a lot of books this year so whatever challenges you did and ‘failed’ is something of a mute point – congratulations!
    I’ve very much enjoyed reading this post because as you say you don’t really care about the failing and that’s such a good attitude. As it’s New Year and, I always feel, quite a Scottish time of year there’s no harm in recalling Robert Burns reflection that “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” which is exactly what you do and with good heart. One day, maybe this year, you will I’m sure change a number of those ‘failed’ to ‘passed’ until then just remember you have succeeded in reading a lot more books than many, including myself, would even contemplate managing and brought a lot of humour, thoughtfulness and joy to those of us who follow your thoughts.
    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! 😀 Yes, being retired is a great way to have more time for reading and I appreciate it. When I was younger and working I’d never have been able to read even half as much as I do now – making up for lost time! 😀
      Haha, it would actually be quite tragic if I succeeded at all my targets now since the Annual Failure Report has become a Hogmanay tradition – it spurs me on to start the new year with a bang… 😉 Ah, a fellow Scot! Welcome! Thanks so much for the kind comment, and I hope you have a great New Year! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Congratulations on all that you DID read and for keeping track of how you failed! Seriously, because all that means for those of us who love books is that there was simply not enough time to read, or other books nudged out the ones set as goals, or major distractions kidnapped you (like a pandemic). So bravo, and thank you for encouraging all of us who follow you and make this fun. I must over my goals but don’t put them in numbers or write them down, thinking what if I fail? Well, it’s okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you – haha, I find the secret is to enjoy life’s failures as much as its successes! 😉 It has been a difficult couple of years in a lot of ways, not least discovering that pandemic anxiety has made a lot of us find it hard to concentrate on our reading. I’ve been happy to find that I’m gradually getting back to normal, despite Omicron’s best efforts! Have a great New Year, and whether you fail or succeed in reaching your goals, I hope you enjoy the journey!

      Liked by 1 person

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