Wednesday, January 02, 2019

My Year of Reading (and Other Things)

This year, I did not meet my reading goals.  I read 201 books and the goal I set was to read 250.  I looked back at my Goodreads Challenges in the past and I tend to set a goal of 200 and I tend to read about 200 books a year.  I guess I was feeling energetic and optimistic last year when I set a goal of 250.  

I am actually surprised I read 200 books. It was a very busy year of life. So many good things and not my usual amount of reading--even when I had time, I didn't seem to have the brainspace to read as much or as often as I usually do.  

In May, we moved from our house of 20+ years to a condo.

A week later, our youngest daughter graduated from high school.

In August, our oldest daughter got married.

And I was program chair of the 2018 NCTE Annual Convention in November.

It was a fabulously full year with so many good things. But it didn't leave room for much reading or blogging. I loved the year but have been glad to have some quiet time this week to get back to regular reading and to catch my breath and to try to blog again.

When I look back on my year of reading, even though I didn't get to all the books I had hoped to,  I read soooo many incredible books. I read so many books that pushed my thinking and that changed me in some way. Looking back, there are several books that have stayed with me--books that I am so glad I found time to read in 2018. These are, in my opinion, books not to be missed (so if you missed them, add them to your stack!).

It is easy to beat ourselves up over not meeting goals. It is easy to forget--when I look at my 2018 Goodreads Challenge - that I read 200+ incredible books and had a full year outside of my reading life. I think goals are fabulous IF we use them in a way that moves us forward instead of in a way that makes us feel like we are not enough or we should do better. Goals should help us grow and reflect and celebrate. I've been thinking a lot about this as I think about goal setting with students-I worry that sometimes with student goals, we give kids the message that no matter what they accomplish, they need to set a next goal, to do more. And that is not the message I want my students to get. I want them to celebrate all that they accomplish, whether they meet a goal or not.  I plan to share all of this with my students--I want them to know that I did not meet my reading goal and that it is okay -- that I still have so much to celebrate.

As with any goals or numbers, this year has taught me to be careful with the expectations I have of myself and how I measure them. Because 2018 was a year of great reading, great books and lots of other great stuff, no matter the number or the goals I didn't meet.  


  1. Phew! You really did have an amazing year! Full of lots of wonderful events! And you read 200 books besides! I don't think I would have gotten twenty books read if I had done all that you have done this year. Thanks for the book recommendations. I have only read a couple of these. Looking forward to seeing you at CCIRA in February!

  2. What a busy but wonderful year! Congratulations to both of your girls. I love the list you shared...I've read some, but not all. And a few are new to me. Have a wonderful 2019! Happy reading!

  3. Franki, congratulations on your many changes and accomplishments this past year! I love that you are focusing on the achievements, not the end-goal... it really is the journey, not the destination that matters... what beautiful daughters, too, and how lucky they are to have a mom like you to look up to. Happy 2019!

  4. Franki, thank you for this important (and timely!) post. Right now, as so many of us are reflecting on last year's progress and setting new goals, it is so valuable to think of goals as the support and encouragement to do better, but not as a "rod of punishment" to beat ourselves up. I loved your reminder about carefully considering goals that will encourage versus ones that might discourage! Thank you again!

  5. So encouraging, and congratulations on all the wonder you made and experienced in 2018!


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