Bookish Goals of 2019

As always, I’d like to set some bookish goals for the new year. Usually I try to set ten, but this time I’ve decided that less is going to be more.

1. Read 52 books.

For the past few years I’ve set myself a goal do reading 24 books; however, this goal hasn’t been very challenging to meet, especially since I have to read so much for classes. This year I’ve decided to set myself a goal of 52 books, the equivalent of one book a week. Hopefully this will be enough of a challenge to keep my actively reading but not too much of a challenge that it becomes unrealistic to achieve.

2. Read more nonfiction.

I know this is a rather general, vague goal, but I still think it’s worth keeping in mind this year. I have to read so much fiction for my English literature classes that I tend to miss picking up a good biography or memoir. If I could make a third or even half of what I read this year nonfiction, I would be very pleased. This goal will also hopefully help me catch up with my ever-growing nonfiction TBR pile.

3. Listen to more audio books.

Again, another general goal that I nevertheless feel is good to keep in mind in 2019. I loved listening to audio books while I was abroad whenever I had to walk to classes, go to the store, cook, do laundry, etc. I would really like to find a way to work it into my schedule this year and hopefully listen to around an audio book each month.

4. Read all of the books I already own.

Although I’ve gotten better at this over the years and my physical TBR pile has dwindled down considerably, I still own a significant number of books that I haven’t read. I’d love to get to a point where I only have five books or less at a time that I haven’t read, and I think that’s a pretty manageable goal for this year. If I read at least one book that I already own each month then I’ll be on the right track. This goal is partly motivated by my desire to not own any books that I know for a fact I’m not never going to read. Why have extra clutter on hand when I don’t need to?

5. Get back into blogging/bookstagram.

Throughout this past semester I basically stopped posting to both my blog and my bookstagram altogether. I was just so busy with classes, writing an honors thesis, applying to law schools, and life in general that my favorite bookish activities got pushed to the wayside a bit. I’m going to really try to make an effort to fit it into my schedule this semester, even if it’s not as frequently as I would ideally like. Something is better than nothing!

6. Read for fun!

It goes without saying that I read with a lot of different goals in mind: to better educate myself, to open my eyes to different ideas and ways of life, to be more empathetic and understanding of other people. However, each year I make sure to add this goal to my New Year’s list because it’s something I tend to forget in the hustle and bustle of busy schedules and busy reading time. While reading with all of those things in mind is incredibly important, it’s also really important to me that reading remains something I wholeheartedly enjoy and not something that feels like work all the time. Reading has always been something I’ve done because I genuinely love it, and I don’t want that to change!

Those are my six bookish goals for 2019, ones that I hope are challenging yet still manageable and fun to work towards. Wish me luck!

Have you set yourself any bookish goals for the New Year? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Top Ten Tuesday: How to Read More

Happy Tuesday!! The bloggers behind The Broke and the Bookish are taking a quick break from hosting Top Ten Tuesdays this summer, so I thought I would continue on in the meantime with some topics of my own. Recently someone asked me a question I’ve been asked a million times: How do you read so much? Usually my response is something along the lines of: “…I just do?” However, today I’m going to actually answer this question by sharing my Top Ten Ways to Read More. (Spoiler alert: the last reason is the most important!!)

1 || Carry a book with you. This is one of the most important and effective ways to read more because you simply can’t read if you don’t have a book with you. There are so many hidden pockets of reading time throughout the day, from sitting in waiting rooms and taking public transportation to lunch breaks and random bits of downtime between appointments or meetings.

2 || Listen to audio books. Though I would much rather read a paper book than listen to a recording, I must admit that audio books are a golden key to optimizing reading time. I know people who drive, cook, clean, and exercise all while listening to audio books. Just think of how many books they must go through in an average week!

3 || Designate reading time. If you’re anything like me, you thrive on structure, routines, and schedules. I find it helpful to set aside certain times for reading, such as before going to sleep or when I have a free Sunday afternoon. This doesn’t have to be a daily occurrence; rather, it could be as simple as deciding to read for an hour instead of watching Netflix on a Wednesday night after dinner.

4 || Set realistic, achievable goals. Telling yourself you’ll be able to finish the entirety of Tolstoy’s War and Peace in one night and still have time to paint your nails before bed is probably not the most realistic goal to set. (Unless you can actually do this, then by all means LET ME KNOW YOUR SECRETS.) Instead, set yourself small goals that can be achieved fairly quickly and easily. I usually like to do this by focusing on chapters or page numbers.

5 || Find a reading buddy. For those of you who work best alongside others, find someone or a group of people to read with. Book clubs are great for helping you read more: not only do they hold you accountable for reading on a regular basis, but they also spread enthusiasm and a contagious bookish excitement. A reading buddy could also just be someone you talk to about books occasionally or even a fellow blogger

6 || Take breaks. This might sound counterintuitive, but hear me out. As with any activity, it’s possible to feel burnt out after reading so much. When you feel a reading slump coming on, do yourself a favor and set the books aside for a while. Sometimes all you need is some time away from the page to recharge your bookworm batteries. Then you’ll be ready to read even more!

7 || Be aware of time and space. Where do you feel the most comfortable reading? Are you an early bird or night owl? Knowing when and where you prefer to read will only better the chances that you’ll be focused and engaged in what you’re reading when you finally curl up with a book. For instance, my favorite reading spot is outside on a sunny day or in this particular cozy chair in my living room on a cold night.

8 || Read in bed… at your own risk. I’ve always loved reading before bed, but I do admit that it’s not always the most productive reading time ever. Sometimes I fall asleep, sometimes I get tired and head to bed early after reading only a chapter or two, sometimes I’m sitting in a position that makes taking notes awkward… This is really up to personal preference, but I’ve found that if I solely rely on time before bed to read I usually get very little reading time during the week.

9 || Get rid of distractions. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the temptation to sneak a peek at your phone, check your inbox, or even take a scroll through Tumblr in the midst of reading. There’s nothing wrong with taking breaks to do these things… unless your goal is to get more reading done! To prevent being distracted, try putting your phone on silent or at least shutting off most notifications if you’re sitting down to read for a bit.

10 || Make reading a priority. To be honest, I think this is the single most important and effective rule on this list. If reading is a priority in your life as a hobby you’re bound to do it more often. The real reason I’m able to read so much is because I want to, so I do. Some people spend their free time binge-watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix or watch streams of hilarious cat videos on Youtube, other people enjoy painting or running or dancing or playing soccer—I choose to spend the majority of my free time reading.

What are your tips for reading more? What do you think of the advice I’ve given here? Have you ever been asked how you read so much? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

2016: How Did I Do?

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Today I’m taking a look back on the 2016 resolutions I made last January to see what progress I made on these goals. I honestly haven’t looked at these resolutions since I first made them, so this will be as much of a surprise for you as it will be for me!

untitled-design-21. Read at least 24 books. I definitely completely this one! As of right now I have read 67 books, which is a lot more than I initially expected to read. I would say that about half of these are probably books I had to read for school, but reading is reading!

untitled-design-22. Read more classics. I just did a quick count, and out of the 67 books I read this year 18 of them were what I consider to be classics. I’m really happy with that number, especially since they generally take me longer to read because I like to take my time with them.  

untitled-design-23. Read more nonfiction/memoir. According to another quick count, I read 23 nonfiction books/memoirs in 2016! I can definitely thank my coursework for that high number. I feel like I found a new appreciation of nonfiction in 2016, which to me is a success in and of itself.

Charles Dickensuntitled-design4. Read more works by Charles Dickens. SUCH A FAILURE. I have yet to read another book by Charles Dickens and it makes me so sad. (Hint: sneak peek of my 2017 resolutions!)

untitled-design-25. Read at least 3 books in Spanish. This past semester I took a Spanish literature class in which I read three novels and countless short stories in Spanish, so this goal has definitely been achieved!

untitled-design-26. Organize my bookshelves. YES. Though I still have to donate quite a tall stack of books that have been sitting on my bedroom floor for months, I recently organized all of the books that I do not. Also: I GOT A NEW BOOKCASE. It’s glorious and shaped like a staircase and I love it so much.

a game of thrones coveruntitled-design7. Finally read A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. ANOTHER FAIL. I just can’t seem to prioritize reading this book. (2017, I’m looking at you to pull through!)

untitled-design-28. Read more of the books I own. Though I have acquired quite a few books over the past year (I just can’t help but gravitate towards used book sales!), I have made a conscious effort to read the books I already own while on breaks from school. Besides the occasional used book sale, I have also tried to limit the amount of books I buy. For example, I didn’t ask for any books for Christmas (so much self-control!).

untitled-design-29. Read slowly. This goal will always be a work in progress for me, but I think it’s say that I did make some improvement in this area over the past year. For instance, I’ve consciously chosen to take my time reading longer books such as Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. It’s not perfect, but I’ll keep working on it!

untitled-design-210. Have fun! YES!! One of the ways I spruced up my bookish life in 2016 was by creating a bookstagram. I’ve had a blast taking photos and connecting with other readers on this fun platform. And, as always, blogging has made reading an amazing experience!

All in all, I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made achieving many of my 2016 resolutions. Hopefully I can be just as bookishly successful in 2017!

How did you do with your 2016 resolutions, bookish or otherwise? What were your most fun, challenging, and rewarding goals to work towards? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

How Did I Do? | Bookish Goals for Summer 2016

 

How Did I Do?

It’s that bittersweet time of August once again: the end of summer. This weekend I move into my college dorm room to begin my sophomore year at Wheaton College (MA), and I couldn’t be more excited. However, that also means that I have to say goodbye to an incredible summer filled with friends, family, and fantastic books.

At the beginning of the season I shared my Bookish Goals for Summer 2016, and I thought it would be fun to take a look at the again and see how many I actually accomplished. Let’s see how I did!

Untitled design1. Read 15 books. Success! This is an easy one to check off because I’ve read a total of 26 books since last semester ended. I never expected to read so many books this summer, especially considering that I read some pretty chunky ones (I’m looking at you, Alexander Hamilton and Gone with the Wind!)

Untitled design2. Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo in July. This is one of goals I’m most proud to have completed. As I celebrated in my Camp NaNoWrimo Wrap-Up, I reached my word count goal of 25,000 words on July 15th. It’s certainly not a full draft of my novel, but I’m just happy to have written so much in such a short amount of time.

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Untitled design-23. Stay up to date with writing book reviews. Okay, so I sort of completed this goal. In the beginning of the summer I was really good about writing reviews immediately after I finished reading something. Then July came around with Camp NaNo and the BookTubeAThon and I got so behind with writing reviews. Since then I’ve managed to do a fair amount of catching up, but not completely. This is still definitely something that I have to work on!

819699Untitled design4. Read Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. It has finally happened: I read all 1037 pages of Gone with the Wind!! Let me tell you, I did not expect it to be the wild, emotional rollercoaster ride that it was. This is such a brilliant novel, not only for its story but for its views on gender equality, the Civil War and Reconstruction, poverty, love, loss, and life. A full review is on its way, but for now you can read my immediate thoughts about it here. 

Untitled design5. Participate in more readathons. Although I didn’t participate in multiple readathons this summer, I’m calling this a success because I did participate in the BookTubeAThon in July. I read so much more than I thought I would and I even managed to complete the majority of the reading challenges. I love this event and I can’t wait to participate again next year!

Untitled design6. Read more books that I own. Just about half of the books I read this summer were from my physical TBR. I’m pretty happy with this amount, especially since I’ve been meaning to read many of them for ages. 

Untitled design7. Regularly update my new bookstagram account. Definitely a success! I’ve had so much fun taking bookish photos and admiring the gorgeous ones that you all post.

Untitled designIMG_43288. Read at least one book in Spanish. In July I read a Spanish translation of Animal Farm by George Orwell, and I absolutely loved it! The story was gripping and unsettling but brilliant nevertheless. Initially I was afraid that this would be too challenging for me to read in Spanish, but I ended up being able to understand the majority of it without a problem. Full review to come!

Untitled design9. Have fun! SUCCESS! I had oodles of fun this summer, bookish and otherwise! I read some amazing books, chatted with some lovely bloggers, and have had a blast discussing all sorts of topics with you all in the comments. Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this blog of mine. I truly appreciate each and every one of you! ❤

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All in all, I’m really pleased with how much I was able to accomplish this summer. To be honest, when I first made this list of goals I was doubtful that I would actually be able to achieve them. This summer was the most fun and productive one I’ve had in a long time. Part of me is sad to see summer end, but I’m also really excited to see what autumn will bring!

Until next time, summer!

What were your bookish goals for this summer? Were you able to achieve them? What do you think of my progress this summer? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish Goals for Summer 2016

BOOKISH GOALS FOR SUMMER

Even though my summer break from college technically began about a month ago, I’m just starting to feel like it’s actually summer. The weather is getting warmer, the sun is starting to shine on a regular basis, and other students are finally having their last days of school for the year. I have a little under three months of summer vacation left, so I think it’s about time that I share my Bookish Goals for Summer 2016. 

This summer I’ll be plenty busy with an internship at a Child Advocacy Center and a bunch of little trips with friends and family planned, so I’m not going to overwhelm myself with goals. My hope is that by setting numerous goals for myself I’ll be able to achieve a good portion of them by the end of the summer. In no particular order, here are my goals:

1. Read 15 books. So far this summer I’ve already read 7 books, so I definitely think that this goal is achievable. I’ve made it so low because I want to give myself the flexibility to read longer, more challenging books or even take a few breaks from reading to do other things.

camp_logo-e8deafda6bcc5574e54da9c596dbf6b62. Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo in July. I love Camp NaNoWriMo because it gives you the flexibility to set your own word goal and work on virtually any project you’d like. I probably won’t be able to write 50,000 words, but to be honest I’ll be happy with any sizable chunk of my novel that I get down on paper.

3. Stay up to date with writing book reviews. It’s so easy to get behind with writing book reviews. Whether it’s because I read too many books too quickly or I just don’t have time to sit down and gather my thoughts, I always inevitably end up falling behind. However, I’m setting a solid goal to write a review of every book I read in the next few months by the time my next semester of college starts in August. It might be a bit of a challenge, but I’m confident that I can do it!

8196994. Read Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Rolling in at a grand total of over a thousand pages long, I’ve been intimidated by this hefty novel for far too long. This is where the intimidation ends!! I’m determined to read this famous tome this summer, even if it means it’s the only book I get around to reading. It seems like something I’ll really love, so I’m eager to dive into it!

5. Participate in more readathons. I love joining readathons, but for some reason I do so only very rarely. At the very least I would like to participate in the Booktubeathon again like I did last summer. I don’t make any videos or anything like that, but I enjoy watching them and I love the sense of community that this annual event fosters.

6. Read more books that I own. This is probably going to be one of the hardest goals for me to meet. Going out with friends to new places in the summer means that I visit a plethora of new bookshops. As you can imagine, I therefore accumulate WAY MORE books than I can possibly read in the few months that I’m home. By the end of the summer, my goal is to have read more books from my physical TBR than anywhere else. I need to trim down that toppling tower ASAP!

7. Regularly update my new bookstagram account. Recently I’ve been getting more into bookstagram (which you can follow me at here), and I feel like my photos are turning out better the more practice I have taking them. If I can maintain a schedule of posting a photo a few times a week, I’d be a happy camper!

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8. Read at least one book in Spanish. Next semester I’ll be taking a literature class called Contemporary Women Writers, which I’m really excited about. Here’s the catch, though: it’s entirely in Spanish. To maintain the Spanish skills I’ve developed throughout these past two semesters I want to try to read at least one novel in Spanish, but hopefully more if I can find the time.

9. Have fun! I always throw this goal in there just for good measure. Because I read so much for my classes, it can sometimes make reading feel like a chore. I need to remember that reading should feel fun and should be something I look forward to doing. If not, it’s totally okay to take a break and do something else for a while!

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What are your bookish goals for this summer? What do you think of mine? Have any advice? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

My Goals for This Strangest Summer Ever

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It’s summer, everyone! And you know what that means: FREE TIME! This summer is going to be the strangest summer ever for me because I just graduated from high school, which means that I don’t have any summer homework!! (FINALLY!!!!!) It’s so weird to be able to just do whatever I want without having to feel productive or constantly be working on assignments and studying. Oh, freedom feels so good!

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I do have some goals for this summer, but I’m not going to stress about reaching them. Instead, at the end of the summer I’ll look back at this post and see how many I actually completed, just for fun. So here are my goals for the summer of 2015:

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Read at least 15 books.

In the past I’ve been able to read 20-30 books in a single summer, but this year I want to read some longer, more challenging books. To give me some time to relax and read at a more leisurely place, I’m only setting a goal of 15 books. To see which books I plan on reading, you can check out my Summer 2015 TBR. 

Read at least 2 books in Spanish.

I’ve been working on improving my Spanish skills before college, and this summer is the perfect opportunity for me to get some more practice in. I have a few translated novels on my shelf to choose from, so I’m not exactly sure which ones I’ll be reading yet.

Get ahead with book reviews.

I probably won’t have a lot of time to write quality, in-depth book reviews in college, so I want to try to write a lot of them ahead of time. This way I can schedule them for into the fall months, and then I won’t have to worry about hurriedly writing them while I’m trying to adjust to college.

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Organize my photo album.

I absolutely LOVE printing out photos and having them all together in a photo album. I’ve taken an absurd amount of photos this past year, so the first step is going to be to have them all printed out. Then I need to put them all in chronological order and cross my fingers that my photo album is big enough to fit them all!

Work on my Wreck This Journal

A few months ago I started decorating the pages of my Wreck This Journal, which you can see by clicking here. I haven’t had a lot of time to do this since then, but I’m hoping that this summer I can get back into the swing of crafting again. I have some fun ideas for a few pages in particular, so once I finish them I’ll be posting some pictures!

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 Finish watching through the 3rd episode of Lost.

Can I do this? To be honest, this is sort of a stretch for me, but I’m going to try! I’ve been absolutely LOVING Lost lately (as you can tell from this post) but I don’t really watch that much TV. I think I can do it, though!

Watch more movies.

This one is also going to be a little difficult for me. I would much rather read than watch movies, but there are some movies that it feels like everyone in the world has seen except for me. (Grease, The Wizard of Oz, The Notebook, the list goes on and on and on). My goal is to watch more of them in general- maybe at least one a week? If you have any suggestions of movies I should add to my list, let me know in the comments!

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Go outside more.

I don’t just mean go take more walks in the woods, although I also need to do that. By this I mean that I want to experience more things this summer, even if they don’t involve a lot of traveling. For example, my hometown has a tiny beach. In the past ten years I don’t even think I’ve been to it once. WHY? Even if I don’t swim in it, it would be lovely to sit by the water and read everyone once in a while.

Relax!

Senior year was CRAZY! A combination of college applications, AP classes and exams, work, honor societies, and senior year drama and general I have been going, going, going with very few pauses. Since I don’t have the mountains of summer homework that I usually have, I’m definitely going to take advantage of my free time to simply enjoy doing NOTHING. I don’t have to be busy every second of every day, and that is simply wonderful! I am so looking forward to it!

What are your goals for this summer, bookish or otherwise? What do you think of mine? Do you have any exciting plans for this summer? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Are we all on the same page?

are we all on the same pageIt happens every year: as soon as the new year is rung in, blogs are flooded with posts about New Year’s resolutions, goals, and expectations. In the book blogging world this usually entails TBR lists, Goodreads challenges, individual bookish aspirations and even collaborative projects. I love making these goals every year, and I especially like reading about the goals that other people are setting for themselves.

This year while reading countless New Year’s posts I noticed a pattern forming in the majority of lists I read. Somehow it seems as though the book blogging community collectively decided that this year would be the year of cleansing ourselves of TBR lists, purging our bookshelves, and reading whatever we feel like it, whenever we feel like it. These were some of my goals, and I was really surprised that so many other people had the same ideas in mind for 2015.

It got me thinking: What is it about 2015 that makes us all on the same page? (pun may or may not be intended 🙂 )

I think it’s great that many of us are moving in the same direction this year with our reading habits, but I can’t help but wonder why that is. What was it about 2014 that made a bunch of us want to read all of the books we currently own and take a breather when it comes to our reading schedules? I have never thought about trends like this in the reading habits among book bloggers, book-tubers, and readers and general, and I think it’s absolutely fascinating.

Are you on the same page with your reading habits, or do they differ from what I have seen so much of so far in 2015? Why do you think we all unknowingly made such similar goals? Do you think I’m reading into this to much? (Another pun- look at me go!) Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

top ten tuesday: goals for 2015

TTTHappy holidays, everyone! We’re in that in-between time between Christmas and New Year’s that can sometimes feel a bit strange. The festivities are over, but it’s not quite time to go back to work or school yet (well, at least not for me). But have no fear- The Broke and the Bookish brings us another week of Top Ten Tuesday! This week the theme is Top Ten Goals for 2015. These can be bookish or otherwise, but I think I’m going to stay bookish for now.

  1. Read at least 24 books in 2015. This is the number I’ll be using for my Goodreads challenge, and it’s significantly less than in previous years (which have been 50 and even 100 books). I will most likely read a lot more than 24 books, but I want to take the pressure off myself to fly through them. There have been some longer books that I’ve wanted to read in the past, but I’ve decided not to because I thought they would make me deviate too much from my reading goal. Not this year! 2015 is going to be all about quality over quantity.
  2. Spend more time with each book. A lot of times I feel like I finish reading one book and immediately rush right to the next book without properly contemplating what actually happened in the first one. By slowing down and being more thoughtful, hopefully I’ll get a lot more out of the books that I’m reading.
  3. Read more books that I own. I recently went through my bookshelves and got rid of a lot of books that I don’t have an interest in reading anymore, but there are still quite a lot of books that I have yet to read. My goal this year is to get that number down significantly before I add to my collection in any way.
  4. Utilize libraries more. This might seem contradictory to the previous goal, because how can I be reading more books that I own if I’m borrowing them from the library? What I mean by this goal is that instead of buying more books, I want to borrow them from the library if possible when I don’t already own them.
  5. Take advantage of audio books. Recently I’ve discovered that reading in the car makes me sick, so I never get much reading done on road trips and long car rides. In situations like this, I plan to take advantage of audio books so I can still read without feeling nauseous.
  6. Implement my new rating system. I’m excited to announce that I’ve created a new rating system for myself! I’ve reevaluated what the 5 smileys I currently use mean to me, and I’ll be sharing that with you all in the near future. My aim with this new system is to create more clear distinctions in what my ratings mean and how I actually feel about the books I read. As always, however, thoughts and reviews are WAY more important to me than a simple, restrictive rating!
  7. Read more books in Spanish. I’ve been taking Spanish classes in school for the past five years now, and I’m at the point where I can read and understand basic books for children and sometimes more challenging books with the help of a Spanish-English dictionary. Hopefully I can become better at this with more practice!
  8. Write more thoughtful, specific book reviews. Too frequently I find myself using broad generalizations in my reviews. I’ll say, “The writing was beautiful!” or “The plot had so many twists and turns!” That’s great, but what about the writing made it beautiful? How did the author create the feeling of unexpectedness in the plot and what in particular made his or her method effective? I think I can add a lot more to my book reviews in the future.
  9. Challenge myself. By setting a lower reading goal for myself in 24, I plan to read more challenging books. This can mean longer books, books that challenge my personal ideas and values, books with writing that is more difficult to understand, etc.
  10. Have fun! This is by far the most important goal to me. I never want reading for pleasure  to feel like a chore, so it’s always my personal goal to make sure that reading, above all else, stays wonderfully enjoyable.

Those are my bookish goals for 2015! I’ve only set one numerical goal- my Goodreads challenge- because I really want to emphasize quality over quantity in the new year. If I end up surpassing that goal early on, great! But if not, I’m absolutely fine with that.

I’m super excited for 2015! It’s a big year for me, with graduating high school in June and heading off to college in the fall. I’m hoping to make this year a fantastic one, both from a bookish perspective and otherwise!

What are your goals for 2015? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY