2014 Reading Resolutions (and Reviewing 2013 Resolutions)

Yesterday’s Reading Catholic Book Survey shared my favorite and best reads of 2013.  Today looks back at 2013 reading/writing resolutions, and making some new ones for 2014.

Incidentally, this was a great exercise to do, and I encourage you, whether you have a blog or not, to consider writing about successes from the past year.  I’ve been feeling rather discouraged lately about my self-perceived lack of productivity, but when I look back over the course of the year, I can see that I really do read a ton and write about it quite a bit, and I need to give myself some credit.

At the end of 2012, I had three resolutions for 2013: get more organized with review books (chiefly through getting up to speed and using well GoodReads;  get more opinions (inviting guest posting here, mostly); and share more in real life.  Two I did pretty well, and one I am adding to next year’s list.

I am mildly obsessed with tracking and rating books on GoodReads.  I love the site–I haven’t really connected with others like I had hoped, but it’s been a super way to keep track, especially for someone like me who loves lists.

Sadly, I did not find GoodReads a good way to input the Catholic review books that I receive.  I get so many, and I so I created a shelf called “catholic books received” so I could keep track when they come in.  But that just clutters up my “to-read” list, because I don’t read all the review books, and so I think I will abandon that shelf for the new year, and consider a new way to keep track of what comes in.

GoodReads also offers a way for me to keep track of all the books my homeschooled kids read during the year, and force gently encourage them to review books more often.

I love lists and tracking things like how many books I read this year (93 books & 204 kid lit as of December 30–including picture–books. Yes, I really read them all).  I definitely don’t need a resolution to read more in 2014, but it makes me happy to see all that I did read, and think of ways I can write and talk about all those good books more.

I wish I had been more intentional and organized about inviting local writers to guest post and write about books here at Reading Catholic, but this was a fail in 2013, so this is added to 2014 and setting a goal of having one guest post per month.

As it was, I would randomly hand books to people and say, “you should write about this!” or “I’d love to hear your thoughts!” But follow-up did not happen.  I even had a local friend and extremely good writer (hi, Liesa!) send me a review, and because it came in the Christmas book season, I haven’t even gotten to her yet about posting it.

Share more in real life–I did this, and I’m proud of me for starting a super-small (as in we three “more mature” women) book group to read books we love. We meet about once every six weeks and I feel so grateful for the time together.  But I was sad in December to have to leave a Catholic women’s book group that I’ve been part of for three years.  It  meets on a weekday morning.  It just doesn’t work at all with our homeschooling schedule.  Letting go was hard, but these women will be in my heart always.

For 2014?  I’ve got four.

1. get more opinions. Putting this one on the top.  Once a month–minimum–of guest posting here.  If you’re interested and local-ish (read here to see how much that fits), let me know.  And those of you who I have mentioned it to or given books to, I will be coming to get you soon.  This means you, Bonnie and Marcia.

2.  organize Reading Catholic reviews.  I’ve been pretty uneven about updating and organizing since I switched over to a WordPress blog in February, and I need to set aside several hours each month (or longer, if I could carve out the time) to work on that.  Ideas are welcome, always.

3.  try to do monthly posts on “backlist” ideas here. Last year I started Picture Book Monday after writing this post, but I wasn’t consistent about those.  I’m shooting for a monthly post on either picture book suggestions or girls book group ideas from our years of book groups and reading here.

4.  Jane Austen book group revival.  Some posting on Facebook in recent weeks about our now defunct and much-beloved Jane Austen book group from several years ago makes me resolved to start that up again. Right now I’m part of a Facebook group on Motherhood & Jane Austen, but there is nothing like real life for discussing and geeking out about Jane Austen with women of all ages, mothers  or not.  If you are local and interested in this, will you comment here or let me know? This would definitely be an evening time.

What about you? What are your favorite reads from 2013, and are you making any reading resolutions for 2014?