Hi! I’m Allie. Last year I set a goal to read 55 books. By July I had met my goal, and by December I had read 40 more. For me, this was a big accomplishment, a source of enrichment and joy, and it has compelled me to continue reading and growing this year.
While at my childhood home over the holidays, surrounded by family 24/7, I yearned for time either to read or to establish my reading goals for 2020. I was able to find moments here and there to do just that and, by the time I boarded the plane from Chicago back to Los Angeles, I had a plan.
I figured out how I would track my reading using a journal of my own design—already a huge improvement from my previous method (more on that in a separate post). I decided to devise my own to-be-read (TBR) list with additional relevant info instead of just adding books to my Goodreads app and forgetting why I added them or how I found them in the first place.
Most importantly, I made a new 2020 reading goal. Rather than choosing a quantity of books to read, I selected three reading challenges in which to partake. I chose these because, by 2019’s end, I wanted to make a change in my reading life.
Previously, I would finish a book and be stuck with the question, what do I read next? This question would then morph into, what do I feel like reading? And that rarely had a clear answer. Did I feel like choosing a fun book or an important book? A book I’m pretty sure I’ll like, or a risky read? I got tired of meandering through library stacks unsure of what I was looking for.
I knew I had to make specific reading goals for 2020 that would provide direction for what to read, while also expanding my reading repertoire. The challenges I’ve chosen are aptly named; I expect I will read books I wouldn’t have picked up otherwise, challenging my taste, interests, and my perspective.
The first challenge is from the Reading Women Podcast, 26 prompts to read books written by and about women. Examples include a book that takes place in Japan, a book about a woman with a disability, and a non-fiction book by a woman historian.
The next challenge comes from Anne Bogel’s blog Modern Mrs. Darcy, consisting of 12 books. I’ve already fulfilled two parts of the challenge: a book published in the decade I was born and a book recommended by a person I trust.
The final challenge I discovered on Instagram. Had I not read so much in 2019, I may never have considered this Native Literature Challenge (found at @nativegirlreading under #nativeliteraturechallenge2020), which includes prompts such as a book by an Inuk author and a Native author’s debut book. In 2019 I read three Native author memoirs, and I have since become interested in Native culture and history. This 5-book challenge is a way to structure and sustain my interest in this topic.
Babble of the Books is where I intend to record my progress and invite you to join me in these reading challenges. I’ll share the books I’m reading and the reflections that they inspire. I’ll show you how I keep my reading journals organized and how I handle any reading obstacles I may encounter. I’ll offer book reviews, book recommendations, and new vocabulary words I learn. Plus, I’ll sprinkle in tidbits from my own life here and there.
This is intended to be a year-long project, and I’m excited for you to join me. Please subscribe and share with me the books you are hoping to read in 2020.
Until next time, happy reading!