2017 Reading Goals

Happy New Year Everyone!

Masters of Literature Calendar - readalong prompt (WildmooBooks.com)
From Masters of Literature Calendar. Illustrations by Elisabeth Stoinich

Here I am, outlining a new year of reading goals/intentions/challenges. In no particular order, these are my main reading plans for 2017:

1. My numeric reading goal is always 52 books. I like the idea of a book a week. When life gets busy I don’t have the added stress of hitting a high reading goal, nor do I shy away from big or challenging books.

2. I’ve already posted about participating in the Australian Women Writers Challenge (#AWW2017), which you can read here. I’ll read at least four books for this challenge. Last night I started Emily Bitto’s The Strays, so off to a good start.

3. The Classics Club. I have six books in mind for this ongoing challenge:

  • Carmilla, LeFanu, 1872
  • So Big, Ferber, 1924
  • The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck, 1939
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Smith, 1943
  • From Here to Eternity, Jones, 1951
  • Giovanni’s Room, Baldwin, 1956

4. I’m doing a year-long read-along with my friend John Valeri based on the Masters of Literature calendar that I got him for Christmas from the New York Public Library gift shop (and of course I got one for myself, too). Within minutes (probably seconds) of opening the calendar, we decided to read and discuss a book by the featured writer each month:

Willa Cather hiking (WildmooBooks.com) Source: Cather Archive
Cather out hiking (source)
  • January: Shakespeare – kicking things off with MacBeth
  • February: Austen
  • March: Baudelaire
  • April: Dickinson
  • May: Wilde
  • June: Woolf
  • July: Dostoyevsky
  • August: Proust
  • September: Shelley
  • October: Poe
  • November: Kafka
  • December: The Brontes

5. As regular readers of this blog know, Willa Cather is my favorite writer. I am intimately acquainted with her novels, but have only read her more widely anthologized stories like “Paul’s Case” or “The Bohemian Girl,” so this year I plan to systematically read all of her short stories.

6. I have a short list of books that I’ve been meaning to get to. The top two are:

  1. The Swarm by Frank Schatzing. It’s an 881page long thriller about mutant creatures in the ocean. It has never been the right time to read this one–I need to get to it before spring/summer because I don’t want to freak myself out while I’m swimming around in the ocean.
  2. Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe. I became interested in this one after reading A. Scott Berg’s Max Perkins: Editor of Genius.

7. I already own many of the books listed here, so they’ll qualify for Andi’s #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks challenge, which is often on my mind, because I have so many (potentially) fabulous unread books sitting on my shelves. In 2016, just under 20% of the books I read where books I already owned. I’d like to double that number in 2017.

Michael Ondaatje The English Patient Book Cougars readalong (WildmooBooks.com)

Okay, so there’s my 2017 reading intentions, all of which I talk about on Episode 4 of the Book Cougars. Which reminds me: Emily and I are doing a read-along of The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje in February. If you’d like to join us, please check out Episode 4.

What are some of your reading goals for 2017 or are you free reading this year?

Happy Reading!


  1. We read Giovanni's Room for my book club. I really liked it! And I hated all the Steinbeck I ever read (which was when I was a teenager), but then when I read The Grapes of Wrath a few years later, I loved it. So I don't know if I changed, or if The Grapes of Wrath is just so fundamentally different from Steinbeck's other work, but there you have it.

  2. I want to do ALL of these. I especially like the calendar idea. I was thinking of doing something similar, but the year is already 10 days old. Plus I wasn't thinking of such an august, challenging list. My idea was to chose and author a month and read a novel by them as well as an bio/memoir about/by that author. Trying to get more NF into my reading year. A few years ago some bloggers read one Cather novel a month. Was that you? I was thinking of doing that as well.

  3. Hi Joseph, happy to hear you enjoyed the Cather you read! Her later work is so deceptively simple on the surface. I've found that her novels are the type that grow and change along with the reader.

  4. I'm so excited to read Giovanni's Room! Can't say the same about The Grapes of Wrath, but I know I'll be happy to have read it when I finish it. 😀 I haven't read much Steinbeck, but did enjoy The Moon is Down.

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