My One Reading Goal for 2024 (and Why You Might Consider It, Too)

My one reading goal for 2024 is to read less.

Yup.

You read that correctly.

My sole reading goal in 2024 is to read less than I did in 2023.

And here's why.

Why I Want to Read Less

Last week I updated my Goodreads list for 2023. I keep a handwritten list of finished books beside my reading chair knowing that logging into Goodreads every time I finish another novel is just not a realistic activity in my hectic, go-go-go life.

Maybe you can relate?

Last week I realized that seven months had slipped by without updating what I'd read (insert blushes), so I took the time to move my handwritten list over to my digital record on good ole Goodreads.

Here's what I discovered:

• My 2023 Goodreads Reading Goal (set in January 2023) was 60 books - an achievable stretch for me.

• My "Year in Books" tally at the end of December totaled a whopping 101 books. (The number is actually higher because I reread the featured book each month inside Pretty Literate's Monthly Book Club alongside my Members.)

• That's 30K+ pages (with an average book length of just over 300 pages).

• The book I had most in common with other Goodreads users was Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, which was featured inside this Pretty Literate Seasonal Book Box.

• Of the 101 books I read last year, 41 were classics, and 60 were contemporary.

• Of the 101 books, roughly 16 were reread classics (meaning I read them twice during the year and the second read-through did not factor into my total of 101 because Goodreads doesn't swing that way).

(And none of this takes into consideration the few additional novels that I began and for whatever reason DNFed in 2023.)

By the year's end, I felt tired.

My eyes were strained.

And I felt burned out.

The enjoyment I'd always gotten from reading was disappearing with every new book added to my completed stack and I realized while I was updating Goodreads that I had become ensnared in the "quantity over quality" trap that is rampant on social media this year. I realized that something needed to change.

So I spent time over New Year's weekend pondering my priorities and where my reading goals for 2024 fit into that equation. I texted with some fellow readers to weigh their input. I talked with my husband. I even polled my sisters to factor their thoughts into what I was considering for the upcoming year.

What I concluded was that I want to make 2024 the year of reading less.

Please do not mishear me. 

I am not saying that I want to quit reading.

I am not saying reading is bad.

I am not saying reading "ruins" other areas of life.

I am not saying that I won't relish time snuggled up with good books this year.

There are too many benefits when it comes to reading. (You can check out the research on that here or here or here.)

What I am saying is this - I realized I wanted to slow my roll in 2024 and go deeper inside the pages of fewer books.

Quality books.

Maybe you are stepping in that, too?

Boring In and Going Deep

I read this passage earlier this week and my mind keeps returning to the truth of it:

"I [do not] want to give the impression that I think there is virtue in reading many books. In fact one of my greatest complaints in {school} was that professors trained students in bad habits of superficial reading because they assigned too many books. I agree with Spurgeon: “A student will find that his mental constitution is more affected by one book thoroughly mastered than by twenty books which he has merely skimmed, lapping at them.” God save us from the allurement of “keeping up with {the} Joneses” by superficial skimming. Forget about “keeping up.” It only feeds pride and breeds spiritual barrenness. Instead devote yourself to boring in and going deep. There is so much soul-refreshing, heart-deepening, mind-enlarging truth to be had from great books!" -John Piper, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals

So this year, in 2024, I want to kick the habit of superficial reading that I inadvertently adopted somewhere along the line last year.

I want, instead, to devote myself to "boring in and going deep" inside the pages of fewer books.

Quality books.

And I am inviting you to do the same.

Read less.

Go deep.

Benefit more. 

Consider this your personal invitation to do just that in PL's Monthly Book Club - beginning with January's frosty fiction penned in 1911 by someone who knew a little something about excesses and keeping up with the Joneses.

A quality book by a quality author.

And I've got an entire twelve months of quality classics lined up for us to "bore in and go deep" with this year. Together. 

What do you think?

Was 2023 an overachieving year for you, too?

What reading goals for 2024 have you set?

I hope you'll share your thoughts in the comments.

5 comments

  • During the pandemic I set number goals and easily exceeded them but as life returned to normal along with our new role of caretaker I dropped the number goals and began to read for pleasure again. I still read a large number of books 1or 2 a week depending on size and content but, big but, I only read what speaks to me and DNF many more than ever before stressing quality and pleasure over “must finish” and “social pressure”. I really like your personal goal and think it’s healthy!

    Anne Gould
  • When I read your goal I laughed, because that is also my goal. Last year I did a reading challenge and found myself wanting to finish ASAP. I didn’t like that. I also read over 100 books and that included a few graphic novels. Many of the books would probably have been DNF, but I finished them. I don’t regret it, because sometimes I do go through stages where I want to read as much as I can. But in November and December my dad was in the hospital then rehab center and I spent my time crocheting and watching classic TV, which I enjoy. I think I only read two or three books at that time. I do like having a goal, because it motivates me but I just don’t want it to be just reading. I am still working on my reading goal. But I do want to enjoy watching old TV shows, movies, music and more.

    Bernadette
  • I have lowered my goal to 50 books this year for the same reasons. I want to dig into a few long books as well as classics. I found that a goal of 85-100 books a year was stressful and unnecessary.

    Emily
  • I barely finished my Goodreads reading goal of 25 books for 2023. I was able to stay up to bring in 2024 because of wanting to reach my goal. I’ve set a goal for 24 this year, 2 books a month seems reasonable for me. We shall see- as it almost wasn’t last year. Maybe my goal shouldn’t be to read less, but maybe it needs to be to crochet less or something else less and use that time for hitting my reading goals.

    Heather Qualman
  • I barely finished my Goodreads reading goal of 25 books for 2023. I was able to stay up to bring in 2024 because of wanting to reach my goal. I’ve set a goal for 24 this year, 2 books a month seems reasonable for me. We shall see- as it almost wasn’t last year. Maybe my goal shouldn’t be to read less, but maybe it needs to be to crochet less or something else less and use that time for hitting my reading goals.

    Heather Qualman

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