2014 reading challengeI wrote earlier about setting some reading goals for 2014. I wanted to organize my reading a little better so that I could both get through some stockpiled purchases, and target my reading toward developing my skills in certain areas. So, one month in, how am I doing?

Goal 1: Read 100 Books

I’ve read five so far, and Goodreads is telling me I am on target. I am regretting that Goodreads does not allow half-star rankings—the books I read were better than three stars, but not quite four stars. For instance, The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult was quite a good read, but was marred by Picoult’s fixation on ‘twist’ endings. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher had a great premise but an unsympathetic narrator. I haven’t hit a five-star book yet.

Goal 2: Do a Thematic Reading Project

I set a goal to read one Jewish-themed book a month this year. I figured that target would still let me read at whim amongst other titles which interested me, but would also give me a chance to explore one topic more deeply and really learn about something. I met the goal this month. The aforementioned Picoult novel was Holocaust-themed, and was my best read of the month. It was about a woman whose grandmother was a Holocaust survivor. When she befriends a man who confesses that he was a Nazi, it prompts her to explore her grandmother’s past.

Goal 3: Read a Book of Daily Essays

I am reading two, actually: The Book of Jewish Values by Joseph Telushkin and Better Each Day by Jessica Cassity. They are both excellent: Telushkin presents a small nugget of wisdom, with commentary from both biblical and general sources, on a different topic each day, with a review on the weekend. Cassity explores different health tips, drawn from published research, with the aim of presenting a menu of suggestions you can explore throughout the year.

Goal 4: Read More French

A bit of a mixed bag, this one. I was hoping to get through one book a month. I see now that this may be an overly ambitious goal. I still find reading in French—or at least, reading proper, grown-up books and not kiddie stuff—to be somewhat slow-going. I am meeting my goal and getting through a few pages a day, but I won’t finish a whole book every month. The aim of this goal is to increase my fluency, so hopefully this will get easier as the year progresses. And I AM reading every day, so I suppose I get a pass on this one. But it won’t work out to a whole book every month.

Goal 5: Spend Less Money

An unqualified success, this one—I have spent NO money! I’ve loaded up my Kobo and iPad Mini with all the books I bought during the last days of pre-agency pricing, and I am determined to get through those before I buy any more. This is the blessing of ebooks—they don’t go out of stock the way paper books do, so if I see something I want, it’s easy enough to just wishlist it for later. Bad news for the publishers, I guess, but good news for me!

So, how is your reading year going? Are you meeting all your goals?