My reading habits have gone through a major shift the past few years. I’ve been branching out a lot and finding new genres I love. My tastes have broadened and changed. It’s been a little overwhelming sometimes, because it can be hard to focus. I tend to skip from one extreme to the other. As I started thinking about reading goals for 2021, I found help from a favorite source. I love this list of questions from Modern Mrs. Darcy. It really helped define what I want to read and what I want to change.
This year I’m focusing on a few key goals…
Les Miserables has been on my “book bucket list” for years. Last year I tried to read it, but moving into our new house, changing jobs, and more derailed me. Plus, during COVID I found myself reaching for lighter books than I would normally read. This year I’m already over 100 pages into this, and I love the story.
Another long book I’m reading this year is Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow – the book the musical was based on. I love history and biographies. This is an exceptionally well written book, and I’m already planning the author’s Washington biography next year.
I have a list of classics I’ve either never read (Mansfield Park, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn) or that I haven’t read in years and want to reread (Jane Eyre, Frankenstein). This year I’ll focus on more classics, plus some author biographies and books that delve into the backstory behind the novels.
I keep hearing about great literary fiction like Peace Like a River by Leif Enger and Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. I think The Kite Runner also falls into this category. I’ve tried to read it twice, but it’s such a hard, heavy book. This year I’m determined to read it.
Can you believe I’d never read Jane Austen until a few years ago? Now I love her books, and I’ve discovered a whole new genre of books to enjoy. I’ve already read Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen, and I picked up another of her books from the library last week. There are other regency authors I want to try, but just reading through her backlist will keep me busy for a while.
Split time or time slip has become a favorite genre over the past couple of years. These books tell two or more connected stories in two or more time periods. Some of my favorites in this genre have new books coming soon, including Jaime Jo Wright, Amanda Dykes, and Heidi Chiavaroli.
Favorite suspense authors
Mystery/suspense has been a favorite genre since I started reading. This year I’ve got some favorite authors on my list, including more Steven James (our library finally got his prequel series!), Carrie Stuart Parks (her newest releases in July), and Jaime Jo Wright’s new split time mystery (coming in June). While this is still my favorite genre, I’ve gotten more particular about what authors I read, so I limit myself a bit.
More deep, emotional books
Last year was a weird year for me – as I’m sure it was for many readers. The grim reality of everyday life during a pandemic was just hard. But when I look at the books that stick with me, the hard hitting, all-the-feels authors are some of my favorites. Stand out titles include Rachel Hauck’s split time The Love Letter, anything by Charles Martin, and Elizabeth Byler Younts’ The Bright Unknown and The Solace of Water. I’m going deeper with my reading this year and goosing harder books.
A few things I’m changing up…
Less contemporary romance
I like some contemporary romance…but not as much as I like other genres, like women’s fiction or literary fiction. Rachel Hauck is a notable exception – I’ll read anything she writes! I also love Katherine Reay’s literary spin on contemporary novels and Bethany Turner’s rom coms. But for the most part, I’ll be reading a lot less of this genre.
Don’t get me wrong – I love YA novels. But I binged so many last year (The Hunger Games, The Selection) that I plan to back off this year.
I set my Goodreads goal at 60 books this year. It’s the same goal I set (and passed) last year, with two huge books on my reading list, that will be more of a challenge. I’m trying to read through Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mysteries this year, which are fairly short, so hopefully that will hep balance things out.
Do you have reading goals for this year? Are your reading habits changing as you get older or as your life circumstances change?