Happy 2023, y’all! With the start of a new year come all the resolutions—personal, professional, and, of course, literary.
Tons of readers all over the world set annual reading goals for themselves with each new year. This means that around New Years, they choose an ideal number of books they’d like to read in the following year. Some readers take their goals quite seriously, while others might forget their goals right away—and plenty of readers don’t track their reading goals at all.
Why do people go different routes? What’s the big deal with reading goals?
Where do I track my reading goal?
There are a couple different ways to track your reading goal, independently or through a program, in writing or digitally.
Lots of readers use apps to track their reading. Storygraph and Goodreads both ask readers at the beginning of each year if they’d like to set a reading goal, and then readers can keep track of their books read compared to how much they still need to read to stay on target. These apps also keep track of when you read a book and what you thought of it as well.
Some readers may choose to keep track of their own reading goals. You could start a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to keep count of the books you’ve read so far this year. Others might prefer to keep a handwritten account of their reading in a journal and tally their books on the inside cover.
What are reading goals good for?
Setting a reading goal for yourself is a great way to make reading a priority. If you want to make sure you’re reading consistently throughout the year, having a goal you’re trying to hit can keep that momentum going. It’s harder to let yourself fall into a reading slump or drift your attention to Netflix or doomscrolling if you’re always keeping that reading goal in mind.
What are reading goals bad for?
You should not set a reading goal for yourself if you’re going to use that to guilt or shame yourself. Reading should be a fun, relaxing activity that makes your brain work juuuuust a little bit. It should not feel like a burden or a punishment! If you’re setting this goal to trap yourself rather than inspire yourself—don’t. Be gentle with yourself, and only read when and if you actually want to.
Set realistic goals.
A good compromise if you want to set a reading goal but be careful not to trap yourself is to set realistic, attainable goals. If you read 5 books last year and it felt hard, you’d be setting yourself up for failure if you vow to read 50 books next year. A realistic goal can feel like an attainable challenge, and you’ll be more inspired to dive in.
If you set a reading goal last year, use that as a guide for setting your reading goal for this year. If your goal last year was 30 books and it felt really easy and you still had time to read more at the end of the year, maybe try doubling your goal and go for 60 books this year. If your goal last year was 52 books and you only read 12, and you’d still like to try to read more books, go for a small increase and aim for 15 books next year. If your goal last year was 100 and you hit it with a week or two to spare and it felt challenging and great, set the same goal for next year, or stretch it slightly to 105.
If you set your goal too small and you find yourself nearing that magic number in May, you can always update your goal later! It’s better to start with a small goal, blow it out of the water, and get to set a stretch goal than it is to set your goal too high and never really feel like you can get there.
Should I set a reading goal for myself?
This is up to you. You don’t have to jump on the trendy bandwagon and set a reading goal just because the readers around you are. Ask yourself why you’re considering setting a reading goal for yourself and why you read, and be real with yourself about what you can do.
At the end of the day (often literally), reading shouldn’t be a chore. It should be a pleasure.
written by Christina Kann
Hey there, booklover! We’re compiling a list of our absolute favorite bookish holidays, so mark your calendar and celebrate with us.
Library Lovers Day: February 14
Don’t have a valentine? Wrong! You absolutely do have a valentine, and it’s your local library! Head down there, check out a book, and get reading!
National Children’s Book Day: April 2
This list would not be complete without a holiday dedicated especially to children’s books. We absolutely love kids’ books here at Wildling, and we plan on reading our favorites on April 2—we hope you do too.
D.E.A.R.: Drop Everything and Read Day: April 12
We’re all about a holiday that gives us an excuse to ignore our responsibilities and read instead. We also love celebrating the birthday of the fabulous, wonderful, incredible Beverly Cleary!
National Get Caught Reading Month: May
Wow, have we gotten caught reading in some weird places? You bet we have! And it’s pretty comforting to know there’s a whole month dedicated to something we do on the regular.
Rainbow Book Month™: June
We love celebrating Pride Month in all the ways, and of course that includes the bookish variety! The month of June is dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ+ authors and the stories that reflect the lives and experiences our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, genderqueer, queer, intersex, agender, and asexual community.
Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month: September
Hi, uh, yes. This is a completely objective choice. Obviously.
National Read a Book Day: September 6
We were debating making this day an employee holiday—thing is, we’d probably be reading a book if we were working anyway! Occupational hazard, but at least we’re celebrating!
National Novel Writing Month: November
NaNoWriMo—you know the drill! The goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel over the course of November. Will you be participating?
National Authors Day: November 1
We’ll take any excuse to celebrate our favorite people: authors! Wow, y’all are awesome, and have we mentioned you’re looking great today?
Jólabókaflóðið: December 24
It’s the Icelandic Christmas Book Flood, and we absolutely love this tradition. It is customary for every person in Iceland to receive at least one book on Christmas Eve. Just settle in with a cup of hot cocoa and read till you fall asleep!
Whether you choose to observe these holidays by reading, writing, or both, we can’t wait to celebrate with you all year long!
written by Grace Ball
Got a lot of book-loving friends? Of course you do--bookish friends are the best kind of friends. And those great friends deserve great gifts, whether it’s for a birthday, a holiday, or maybe just to thank them for introducing you to your new favorite author.
Here’s a wrap-up of our favorite bookish gift ideas of the season.
A book from Bookshop.org
It might seem too obvious to say, but get your book bestie . . . a book! There’s still nothing like the gift of a new book, fresh with that new-book smell. *Deep inhale* Yep, it’s a high like no other.
But this time, instead of ordering on Amazon because it’s easy, or maybe because your favorite bookstore’s online selection is more limited, you can now support your favorite indie bookstore by shopping the super-convenient, massive selection of books available on Bookshop.org. Bookshop works with local, independent bookstores to provide an immense selection of books that are as easy to find and order as they are on Amazon--but instead of your money supporting billionaires and completely bypassing authors, your money goes to your local bookstore! It’s a win-win!
(Can’t figure out which book they’ll love? Get them a Bookshop.org gift card!)
A set of dust jackets from Nerdy Ink
The art of Nerdy Ink is otherworldly--and surprisingly affordable. It’s apparent that the artist behind the brand is a book lover themself, because so much passion is put into every piece. As of now, they’ve got dust jacket sets for collections like the Percy Jackson, Shadow and Bone, Red Rising, Throne of Glass, and Tolkein series of books, and at only $30-39 for an entire set, they often sell out. So hop to it! Your book bestie will cherish these (and you).
A cute tee from Inkwell Threads
You. Will. Love. These. Tees.
There are a lot of bookish T-shirts out there, and Inkwell Threads repeatedly comes out with the best designs. They are bright, colorful, modern, and clever as heck. Plus, there are so many options that you’re bound to find something for every kind of reader: your super-sarcastic friend who’s into horror, your daydreaming pal who wishes they lived at Pemberley with Mr. Darcy, your witchy sister who gives off all the fae energy, and even that one friend with kids who often struggles to find the time to read at all.
They’re so well designed that your friend will want to wear these tees with every kind of outfit. There’s nothing like getting to wear your favorite bookish attire out and about and looking chic and stylish. Pair one with a blazer, a high-waisted pant, and voila!
A protective book sleeve from Book Beau or DreamingofCelie
A true book-lover has at least one book with them at any given time. But taking your favorite book out into the world is a dangerous game: those book covers can be dented and torn and spilled on, the ends get all bent-up if you try to put them in your bag, and what if you’re reading in the park when it suddenly starts (*shudder*) raining?
Get your friend a gift that will protect their books in any situation: a pillowy book sleeve from Book Beau or the DreamingofCelie, two shops with lots of designs, cool options (some are waterproof and zip-up!), and even related accessories, like mugs, e-reader sleeves, tote bags, and reading pillows.
Book Beau is a company that’s grown a lot in the past few years, so their quality and variety are great. The designs are gorgeous, and their thick sleeves comes in sizes “Mini” (for trade paperbacks) through “Jumbeau” (for your giant hardcovers).
DreamingofCelie (an Etsy shop) also has high-quality products and a great variety, plus it’s full of designs purposefully made to bring more inclusivity to the bookish world, like the infectiously joyful "Latina Joys" sleeve, the unique "Black Woman Comic Panels" sleeve, or the freaking adorable “Women on the Go” sleeve. The shop is a Black-woman-owned business boasting almost two thousand sales and rave reviews for quality, design, originality, and customer service. You can’t go wrong here.
A book holder
Your bookish friend may want to read everywhere and at any time, but the reality of reading is sometimes frustrating and messy. You want to read on your lunch break, but holding your book open with one hand and eating with the other can lead to hand cramps, your book flipping closed when you’re in the middle of a juicy scene, and mustard splattered across the pages of your favorite hardcover. Or maybe your kid fell asleep in your arms again, and while you’d rather die there than wake them from that peaceful sleep, you know if you had an extra set of arms you’d be a hundred pages into that novel you’ve been dying to start.
Well, the world of cheap and clever items has heard your cry!
Coffee/tea/wine that they can enjoy while reading
written by Mary-Peyton Crook
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