I have a lot of writing goals I’m working on this year, but I’m still setting aside time to read. I doubt I’ll be able to replicate last year’s reading of over 100 books! I set my goal at 70 books for 2021. Gathering my book lists there are so many titles I want to read across genres, that I know at some point I’m going to have to pick and choose–or just lose sleep to read. We’ll see.
Like I’ve said before, I like the genres I like and will be mostly sticking to them. It’s fun to know what you like and just keep diving in.
However, I do want to stretch myself in a few areas: unread shelf, biography, and poetry.
1. Another one, really?: The Unread Shelf Project
I’m joining with the Unread Shelf challenge and aiming to read books that I already own. You know the books that have been eye rolling and huffing at me every time I put a new book on the shelf. Sorry, old books…this year is your time to shine! Many of the books below are on my unread shelf.
Find out more about the Unread Shelf Project.
2. Who are you?: Biography/Memoir
I didn’t read a single biography or memoir in all of 2020, my first reading goal is to read a few biographies. So far my list includes:
- Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
- Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo
- Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement by John Lewis
- Untamed by Glennon Doyle
- Educated by Tara Westover
- The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
3. “Beauty is truth…”: Poetry
I also want to read poetry more regularly. I’m very hit and miss with my poetry reading, but I do enjoy it and I can see how reading other poets influences and encourages my own writing. After reading Joy Harjo’s An American Sunrise this fall, the words just started pouring out of me and I wrote more poetry in 1-2 days than I had in a year.
Poets I’m looking forward to reading:
4. Let’s Go Vintage: Classics
I recognize that by reading mostly modern works, there is a different literary stretch of my whatever…
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (still trying to mark this one off my list)
- I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
- A Girl of Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter
- Persuasion by Jane Austen (it’s time for a re-read of my favorite)
- The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
5. How are you, really?: Mental Health
I’ve been on a journey of unraveling and reraveling things in my life and finding healthier patterns of living. It’s been healing, but also hard. Here are some books that have been recommeded time and time again and proven helpful to others on their own emotional and mental journey of healing:
- Wholeheartedness: Busyness, Exhaustion, and Healing the Divided Self by Chuck DeGroat
- Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown
- Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud
- Anatomy of the Soul: Surprising Connections Between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices that Can Transform Your Life and Relationships by Curt Thompson
- The Body Keeps Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van der Kolk
- Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski & Amy Nagoski
6. Spiritual Life
I like to pair a book on Christian living/devotional life with my Bible reading. I heard a Christian author (I forget who, but it may have been Phylicia Masonheimer) say that they switch up their devotional reading between something modern and a classic. I thought that was an interesting and helpful perspective in learning from seasoned and new voices.
Though I can’t say that I have too many Christian “classics” on my list, here I some I hope to read. Though, knowing how slowly I read non-fiction, I’d be surprised if I make it through half of this list:
- A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson
- A Theology of the Ordinay by Julie Canlis
- A Gentle Answer: Our ‘Secret Weapon’ in an Age of Us Against Them by Scott Sauls
- The Deeply Formed Life: Five Transformative Values to Root Us in the Way of Jesus by Rich Villodas
- New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton
- The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and Women’s Work by Kathleen Norris
- Simply Anglican: An Ancient Faith for Today’s World by Winfield Bevins
- Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible by E. Randolph Richards & Brandon J. O’Brien
- Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster
- Strong & Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing by Andy Crouch
7. “You’re on Native land”: Indigenous Authors
I had a moment last year where I was reading a fairy tale retelling and went, “Ah, I wish my culture (Native American) had stories we could retell like this.” First, after the shock of that realization and then the feeling of guilt that followed, I realized that thought for what it was: the effects of colonization, loss of culture, and–we do have stories to tell they are just so far removed from the collective conscious that I didn’t even think of them. (PS – This theme of Indigenous stories may show up in my work a couple of times this year.)
- Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
- There, There by Tommy Orange
- Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
- Tales of Burning Love by Louise Erdrich
8. I gotta know how the story ends: Series
I gotta know how the story ends…and if my hunches are right. Here are a few series I’m looking forward to continuing:
- Namesake by Adrienne Young
- Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman (Technically book 1, but I’ve been reading them in chronological order)
- Gods & Monster by Shelby Mauhrin
- The Pool of Two Moons (Bk 2 in The Witches of Eileanan) by Kate Forsyth
- Son of the Shadows (Bk 2 in Sevenwaters) by Juliet Marillier
- Drums of Autumn (Bk 4 in Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon
- The Book of Life (Bk 3 in All Souls) by Deborah Harkness
9. Where have all the heroines gone?: Classic Fantasy
I feel like I got a late start to fantasy and I have some catching up to do on the classics, which is really more modern classic fantasy (Is that a thing? Maybe? I just made it a thing). I’m mostly looking at fantasy written by women with female main characters. I’m still on the lookout for older women in fantasy.
- The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
- The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
- The Hero & the Crown by Robin McKinley
- A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursuala LeGuin
- Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
- The Last Wish (The Witcher) by Andrzej Sapkowski
10. Welcome to the shelf!: New Books
And last, but not least, new books I’m eager to read (some from debut authors!) in 2021:
- Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury
- Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
- The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
- Ember in Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (Not a new book, Tahir completed the series in 2020, which means I can binge the whole thing!)
I know, I know…if you’re counting (or checking my GoodReads shelf) that’s more than 70 books. It’ll happen. Seventy books, fifty books, one hundred books. There’s books on my unread shelf that aren’t even listed here! Some will get read, some will be left on the shelf, and it’s very likely others will creep onto this list and into my library bag.
What can I say?
Books are magic and I like magic.