I usually approach my to-be-read list like I approach an ice cream cooler. Surrounded by beautiful, brightly-colored choices, all of them delicious in their own way, I tend to go for the chocolate. Chocolate with cherries, chocolate with chocolate chips and fudge swirls, chocolate with cookie dough, chocolate with caramel truffles. Yes, all the different kinds of chocolate, but in the end they’re ALL CHOCOLATE.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with chocolate.
We have a very close relationship, chocolate and I.
But, while I’m thoroughly enjoying my chocolate-whatever ice cream, I’m missing out on that sweet strawberry, or that zippy lemon-blueberry, and that neon-green pistachio, all flavors which I also enjoy. But chocolate is where I’m comfortable. So, in the end, it usually wins out.
And so it is with my reading. I gravitate towards the same types of stories. And – no surprise here – they tend to be much like the kinds of stories I write. Smart female lead overcomes great odds, discovering she’s even stronger than she thought, and probably finding romance along the way. It’s my comfort zone.
But, it could easily become a pit, and I don’t want that. Instead of flitting from book to book with “hey, this looks cool,” as my only deciding factor, I wanted to be more purposeful with my reading. So, I’ve pre-planned my reading for 2018.
That’s right. I’ve planned my reading list for the WHOLE YEAR.
Goodreads helps encourage that with their yearly Reading Challenge by allowing you to set a goal for the number of books you plan to read by the end of the year. 24 is a solid goal number for me. Two books a month – not too little, but not too much to stress me out, especially considering I got started a month late, and some of the books on my list are 600+ pages long. This also gives me a little wiggle room to slide in a few *bonus books* throughout the year if I want.
I put out a call for recommendations with two specific goals in mind:
- As a fantasy writer, I think there are some books/authors that are generally considered required-reading, books/authors that help define the genre. Stories which, if you’re going to write in the genre, you ought to have read. I want to fill in any gaps I have.
- I want to include a much bigger helping of indie fantasy authors.
I got some really great recs, and together with the books I already had in mind, ended up with upward of 80 titles to choose from. Whittling them down to a mere 24 was difficult, and let’s just say I have plenty to choose from for next year.
And they’re not all chocolate. In fact, the one I’m currently reading is about as far from my usual fare as you can get (within the fantasy genre).
What about you? What are your reading goals for this year? Drop me an email, or comment below!