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Tiffany Walsh discusses how achieving reading goals became easier when she brought a friend along.

About a year ago, I was talking with my good friend Irena about how I had not been reading as much as I used to at other times in my life. I was a voracious reader as a child, and as an adult I am a librarian. So much of my life, both leisure and work, has involved books. In recent years however, I have found that the pace of life with two older children, and the various activities, hobbies, and events that this entails, has interfered with my ability to settle my mind and get into a good book.

It made me a bit sad to realize this, but I figured that I would get back into reading someday, when I did not have quite so much running around to do. After my conversation with Irena, though, I listened to a podcast in which the host mentioned something that started my brain whirling with interest: setting a reading goal for the upcoming year on Goodreads.   

I had a Goodreads account, but unsurprisingly, had not used it much owing to a lack of completed reads to chronicle on there. The idea of setting a reading goal took root enough in my mind that I shared it with Irena and we motivated each other to update our ancient Goodreads accounts and set a reading plan for 2023. We even strategized an idea of reading a selection of books together in a virtual book club of sorts, since we don’t live near enough to each other to meet in person with any regularity. I set my official goal at 20 books for the year, figuring that number may be difficult for me to attain given how few books I had been reading.   

We started the year off reading Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice together, since that’s a favorite story amongst both of us, though I had never read the book. After that, we each read a few more contemporary fiction selections of our own choosing, then came back to Jane Austen for our virtual book club with Mansfield Park. We made a secondary goal to read all of Jane Austen’s six novels together, though we recognized that would almost certainly take us beyond a single year. We also read the entirety of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series together, a re-read for me, but a new read for Irena.   

Fairly quickly in the year I realized that with the increased motivation of having set an official goal for myself, combined with the enjoyment of going through this adventure along with a good friend, I was on track to surpass my goal by the summer. I was quite pleased with this, but recognized an opportunity to keep challenging myself, and so reset my goal to double the original amount: 40 books for 2023.  


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Do you set annual reading goals for yourself? #CatholicMom


It is now November, and I’m happy to say that I have met my goal of successfully completing 40 books this year. It was a true variety of genres: secular fiction, inspirational fiction, classic literature, memoirs, and non-fiction on topics ranging from cloistered religious life to legal research relating to my job as a law librarian. It was a fascinating mix, and it re-connected me with what I love about reading to begin with: the transportive experience of being a part of another world when I read fiction, and learning exciting new things when I read non-fiction.

For 2024, I plan on setting another reading goal for myself, and Irena and I plan to continue along our journey through Jane Austen’s books and other classical works of literature that we have not yet experienced. I highly recommend this enjoyable journey through the power of books! 

Do you set annual reading goals for yourself? If not, are you curious to try it out in 2024? I would love to read about your experiences and goal ideas in the comments! 



Copyright 2023 Tiffany Walsh
Images: Canva