Episode 9: Our 2021 Reading Goals

Transcript

[Carrie] Alright welcome back lit nerds, we are here in the new year of 2021. We’ve got the mwrodcrast [fumbles slightly on the pronunciation of Modcast] crew back. [Chuckles.] I’m a little tongue-tied because it feels like this year is already going by in a little bit of a whirlwind. But we ended the year talking about our favorite book that we read in 2020 and we are here to talk about our reading goals because we know the new year is all about setting resolutions, whether or not we actually keep them. We’ll have to wait until the end of the year to see if that actually comes out. Um, but we have some lofty goals…or well at least I do. 

So I’m Carrie, I’m your host. Here with me today we’ve got the rest of the lovely ladies and you’ll each be hearing from them and uhm, and hear about their particular reading goals for the year. Because I’m your host, I’m going to start this off and you’ll get to hear from me first. 

Every year I set a goal on Goodreads, and my first year I set this goal, my goal was 50 books, and then the next year was 75, and then in the year 2020 the goal was 100 books. I ended the year reading 103, and so I am going to up it a little bit more this year. My goal is to read 111 books. So, I thought, “1 is a good number,” so I decided to triple it. 

I have read so far here on the 16th day of January, I am 7 and a half books into my reading goal already. So I feel very proud–I’m taking a bow, I’m taking a bow. You can’t see but I’m getting snaps and claps and salutes. Uhm, I have a very robust reading list set up. Um, I was chatting with Forest and Daniela here before the Modcast started about Kindle Unlimited, which I use for my “junk food literature”. Uhm, again I’ll drop some RH romance but then again that’s just–you know–neither here nor there. 

My most anticipated books are A Court of Silver Flames that’s coming out in one month! I am so excited! Sarah J Maas is finally releasing the next installment in her Court of Thorns and Roses saga. The last one was released in 2018, so I have waited three. Years. For this one. Uhm, the final installment in, uh, From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout is coming out in April, and then Jay Kristoff is releasing Empire of the Vampire, a new book at–a new take at vampires. And I believe this vampire is, uhm, in the LGBQTIA category, so I am really excited to see how Jay Kristoff writes this character. But that’s my goals. We’ll see if I meet them at 111. I feel really good about it so far. 

What about you Daniela? What is your current reading goal?

[Daniela] So I don’t know if I could top your goals because they do seem a little too intense for me. [Playful laugh.] I like to keep myself humble, so I am just shooting for 52 because that’s what I did uhm in the year 2020, which–I actually ended up with 53, so that felt amazing for me. 

Uhm, I got into so many new genres, so that’s one of my things that I am trying to do this year is–I am really trying to just delve into different types of genres, even ones I am not normally into. So uhm. So far I am at 6 out of 52, so I am feeling really good about that. But it’s probably just because school hasn’t started and I am still unemployed, so you know, I’ve got the time for that. [Laughts.] 

So my only 5 stars out of those is I just finished the, The Ninth House [by Leigh Bardugo] and the Vanishing Half [by Brit Bennett], so if you guys have read those then let me tell you, I completely recommend them. Uhm, I think they are great reads, and I kind of–you know they really aren’t in my genres, but I thought they were really amazing. So you know, here’s to delving into different and new genres. 

But uhm I do have two really anticipated books of the year, and I am so thankful that these books arrived at my door earlier this week because, uhm, they both by chance were released in January. So I am glad I don’t have to wait as long as you guys for your dream books to release. Uhm, now I am not someone who really sets calendars and stuff for anticipated book releases. I think the last time I probably did that was probably when the Twilight series, the Percy Jackson series books were still coming out, I think that was the last time I did that. And I drove to the bookstore first thing in the morning, all excited to get my hardcover, but as an adult I think that I haven’t done that so much because for the most part, A. I had not read as much in the previous years as I did in 2020 and that’s definitely new, so if I can thank Covid for anything it would probably be making me look forward to new book releases because I really don’t have anything else to look forward to, because things are pretty bleak out there. But, uh, another reason is I am just one of those people that tends to really just jump into books. I don’t really, uhm, read synopses so I don’t really look at what’s coming out or what’s new. The only way I’ll end up getting into books is if someone recommends it or if I see it on BookTok, which is awesome. So thank you, BookTok, for teaching me about so many new different types of books. 

Uhm, but my most anticipated books of the year are uhm, The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins and Lore by Alexandra Bracken. So I have these two [shows books]. I know we’re not visual but uhm, just so you guys can see them. But with The Wife Upstairs, I instantly knew I had to read this book. As I mentioned in our last podcast, I am a huge [extra emphasis on huge] Jane Eyre fan and the fact that this is a modern retelling just had me all in. Uhm, I genuinely fell in love with the characters that Brontë created; uhm, I mean, Rochester has been my literary dream boy for as long as I can remember. So I mean, just–I had to read anything with him in it. And sure, Jane kind of seemed a little lackluster, kind of, at times, but I think you can kind of understand why she was that way. Uhm, just because that was the way that life was set up for women in that time period, it really makes sense. But uhm, the romance was so taboo, and in Jane Eyre, and that’s why, in my opinion, that’s why it was so steamy and scandalous even though like, on the spice level, it was probably in the negatives. But uh, it still did something for me. 

So uhm, to my understanding, the way that this book is going to be is, uh, it’s kind of still full of like, forbidden romance and all that angst that comes with Jane Eyre, so uhm. I am just all into this book. Uhm, the way they are going to do it is, uhm, I think she’s a dog-walker, and she walks dogs in wealthy neighborhoods. And Mr. Rochester is just one of the men she stumbles upon on her walk and uhm, he has a quote unquote dead wife. And she kind of just has to deal with that dead wife. And I am just so curious to how they are going to do that – because god, I just love everything about Jane Eyre so I’m–I have really high hopes for this book. I hope it’s not a letdown. Uhm, I’ll probably write a blog post if it is a letdown or even if it’s not a letdown, you know. I just am really excited for this book.

Now for Lore, the name alone sold me. I am still coming down from the high that is Circe and the Song of Achilles, both by Madeline Miller. Uhm, I just read those at the end of 2020, and I’m–so I’m really into these like, Greek mythology books right now. And uhm, especially because it’s another retelling, and I think that’s just so interesting that new books keep coming out and just that are old books that are completely different and think things differently. If you haven’t read Circe and Song of Achilles, I really recommend those as well. Those are also some of my top 5-star uhm, books of 2020. But uhm, all I really know about Lore is that it’s set in modern day New York, and Athena plays a major role. So uhm, Athena is one of my favorite Greek goddesses, so I’m really excited just to see what they do with this book. 

Uhm, I’m–really hope they aren’t letdowns. I really, really am like, almost too eager for them. I almost hope I didn’t put them on too high of a pedestal, because then I’ll be really, really disappointed. But uhm, alright. Well, I’m really excited just to see what uhm, I end up reading this year. 

So uhm, Leigh Ann, what’s your most anticipated book?

[Leigh Ann] Hi! Uhm, I don’t really have a most anticipated book because, well, as you were talking about Daniela, there is this fear of disappointment for things that you look forward to. 

Like that happened to me last year. There was this new book that was coming out, it was called Hushed. And it’s about how, you know, writing is basically outlawed, so to get caught writing or telling stories about the old days, you get your tongue cut out as punishment. And it had a really great description. It had such potential from the description itself.  I entered the Goodreads giveaway and I won it–I did not win it! That was a lie. That was a lie. I’m sorry. I did not win it. 

[Laughter.] 

I wish I had won it, but the reason that I feel like I won it is because I went to Barnes and Noble for my birthday last year and it was there. Early. Before its publication date. So it was basically an advanced readers copy at Barnes and Noble and I got it for my birthday, so that’s why I feel like I won something. Okay. And I did not win anything, that was a terrible book. I hated it. I was looking forward. I was looking – forward- to it. You can read my Goodreads review on that, it’s so bad. One star. If I could give it less than one star it would’ve gotten nothing. I put that book in the back of my bookshelf where no one can see it. But…I’m not going to get into it, you can find it on my Goodreads page–which, by the way, if you don’t have a Goodread account you need to make one because they have giveaways, where you can enter for any book that they are giving away and I’ve won maybe, like, 25 books from there so far. Like I enter it a lot. I enter it religiously. Like you know how people go to church on Sundays, I look every morning on Goodreads, entering giveaways. Okay.–And I go to church! It’s like a double thing with me. 

But I definitely recommend that because ever since that happened last year, I feel like I shouldn’t anticipate books coming out, necessarily. Because that was really disappointing. That broke my heart, actually. I don’t want to put my hopes into anything this year. So what I’m going to do this year is read whatever comes my way, like I’ve been doing. You know, since I win stuff on Goodreads and I order stuff from Thriftbooks all the time. I’m always reading, right now I am reading a biography of Nichelle Nichols. Autobiography. Memoir, sort of thing. She played Uhura on Star Trek. She’s amazing. That’s what I am reading right now and it’s really good. 

So, I’m just kind of going to go with the flow this year. My reading goal is 25 books. The reason I say that is because if I set a high goal, I am not going to enjoy myself. I am a graduate student so I have to read all these textbooks and all these articles and whatnot for school, so that’s going to be my work; and then my fun readings are going to be the 25 book goals. Things like, fiction, biographies, things I enjoy.  And then that’s not counting fanfiction that I read online, you know, that sort of thing. Uhm. Like, really…Yeah, because I know I’m going to read more than 25 books this year, because last year I read so many books I had to buy another bookshelf for my bedroom, so I feel really good about my goal. I know I am going to, you know, exceed that. So, it’s just another way to boost my self-esteem, really. So that’s what I am going to do. 

But that’s pretty much it for me, so I am just going to hand it over to Lexys. What are you going to be doing this year, as far as reading goals?

[Lexys] Y’all make me feel so intimidated. My reading goal was to read at least one page of a leisure book at least every day. I’m, uh, a mom of two and I work a lot, and I’m in grad school, so I don’t really get a lot of time for reading. But uhm, I mean, I love reading; I’ve loved it since I was a kid. So, I try to read as much as I can outside of school, but sometimes, I’m so tired I get through half a paragraph before I go to sleep. 

But uhm, since I graduate in May I have hopes to read more this year. Uhm, I am currently reading, uhm, I have it right here, it’s the A Wizard of Earthsea series by Ursula K. LeGuin. I just happened to pick her up at uh, Barnes and Noble one day, and oh my god, I loved them so much. Then after her, I am hoping to go through the Neil Gaiman books–but uh, we’ll see how long it takes me because uh, my daughter doesn’t really give me time to read. But uhm, but yeah that’s uh, I’m hopeful to have more reading. 

Y’all are inspiring me to create a list, because I know if I put anything more than 10 books on there, I’ll probably won’t meet it. [Laughs.] But I’m trying. But yeah, that’s all for me. So Forest what are your goals?

[Forest] So I think my goals for this year are going to be 75 books. And that’s saying something. Because my PhD program is requiring a lot of books right now. And you saw that eye twitch [on camera points at eye], and it’s a whole lot, but I need something to be like a fun read in between my school reads. And  I feel like that’s necessary, especially, if you’re an English major, you know. I am going to read these 40 pages of school work and then I am going to read 30 or 20 pages of this, and it’s a fun read. 

My most anticipated book of this year is going to be Chain of Iron, which is by Cassandra Clare. And it’s a book series that I’ve been reading since I was like, 16, so that’s like 10 years, now. But it comes out March 2nd, so I am really excited for that. Other than that, I am going to try to read like 20 to 30 pages of my – currently I am re-reading A Discovery of Witches because the second season of the show just came out. And it’s awesome. It’s amazing. That’s literally what I am re-reading right now as I am drinking at a bar before classes start. Because we all need that little day in between classes and teaching and everything else to kind of relax and reread something that we’ve read before. So that’s what I am reading. So, I am going to go ahead and pass it to Diany.

[Diany] Hi, everyone. This is Diany. And, uhm, I also understand perfectly well about time and everything. Uhm, like, there is no time to read books because of school and everything, so I also try making a short goal for reading this year. Because of school and everything last year, I could only read at most 16 books? I think. So, this year I am really trying to make it better and read more, so I am trying to go for – at first it was 24, but then I wanted to go into the 30’s–so hopefully I meet that goal for the end of the year. 

And there are two books I am looking forward to reading this year–and one of them, Daniela already mentioned it, which is Lore by Alexandra Bracken. Uhm, just because I am a really big Greek mythology fan and Roman  mythology and you know, seeing the cover it was so pretty I was like–oh my goodness, I need to get this soon, you know. 

Uhm, and also because of the title, it reminded me of a WebToon–because I also read a WebToon called Lore Olympus. And I really really love that because it also has a modern day retelling of Greek mythology and so I am like, “okay, it reminds me of that, so let me get this one and hopefully read it sometimes.” 

And then the other one, just because I was looking into anticipated lists this year by websites to see which good books are coming out. It’s called Siri Who am I, and it kind of has this air of mystery. Let me check who the author is…The writer is Sam Tschida. And they already said it is nothing full of suspense, but it does have that air of mystery because it’s a woman who wakes up and the only thing she can identify with herself is her phone. So using her phone she’s trying to figure out, because she woke up from a car accident with amnesia. So she’s going through this novel wondering, who am I? So she’s trying to figure out her identity using her phone. Uhm, alone. 

So, I don’t know. I just love that mystery into it, and I always like reading that kind of stuff, and you know, I watch TV like that. I think it already came out, so I think I want to get that as soon as I am able to. So that I can read it and then hopefully review it by the end of the year. But yeah, guys. Other than that, I am going to give it to Lane now, so she can tell us her goals for this year.

[Lane] Alright. Hi, everyone! I’m Lane. So last year I made a goal to read 80 books, and I got to 79, which I was ok with, after how the entire year had gone. So for this year–I know it’s still a pretty high number, but I am going to aim for 80 again. I want to get it this year. 

Uhm, but this year I want to broaden my scope. I feel like uhm, especially last year which…is what I am going to school for, I am really interested in Edna O’Brien. But I feel like I just read too much of her books. I read like 20 of her books. So, I think I need to take a break from Edna O’Brien for a bit. But I want to read more contemporary Irish literature, so I want to read, you know, Kate O’Brien, Anne Enright, more Edna O’Brien but less, a less amount. And one thing I really want to get back to, I used to love reading Stephen King and scary novels. And I got away from that. And now I really want to get back into it, and read things that will scare me and keep me up all night. [Laughs.] 

Uhm, so those are my goals for this year. I am already two books in. I’ve read two books. So, I’m starting slowly. Hopefully I’ll have more time to read more soon. But those are my goals so now I am going to give it back to Carrie.

[Carrie] Awesome! Thank you. Okay. So I am going to have to go and reconfigure my to-be-read pile. Because now I have so many books that I didn’t realize that needed to be added! Uhm, yeah, that’s what I am going to do after, when we get done here, is I am just going to spend just a few minutes and then I am going to get back to my seventh and a half book. I am actually reading Ready Player Two right now and it’s umm-[pause]. I am mixed about it because I was a fan of the first one, but I am really mixed about this current one. 

I don’t know if any of y’all have ever seen Sword Art Online where the premise is–you have this neural interfacing VR headset and the game designer is like, “you know–haha I am going to rule the world, and like, if you remove the interfacing headset you die in the real world. 

Uhm, I am making some predictions about where this book is going, and I think it’s going to end up with that because that’s how it starts out. You have the introduction of the “own i” [transliteration]–the Oasis Neural Interface, or ONI, but that’s also the Japanese word for demon. So there is not a lot lost there, so we are going to find out what happens. But it’s feeding my nerd heart because I am all about that. 

[Spots something in chat]. 

Awesome! Yeah–talking about Lore Olympus, I just read True Beauty, which is on WebToon as well. It is so relatable. And it also delves into Korean culture. Like, I learned so much about Korean culture I didn’t realize, so I highly recommend that as well.

What’s up, Daniela?

[Daniela] I just wanted to do a quick interjection because I don’t know if anyone else or maybe I am like the only loser who doesn’t know what this is. But what is WebToon? Like, I need to know what that is. I need to be introduced into this world, like I – I need it.

[Carrie] Okay [chuckles]. So let me introduce you to WebToon. So WebToon is an app. It’s almost like, uh, a cross between like uhm, manga and comics. But it’s done through–for an app and you can scroll through it. And the artists, like, the premiere series – I guess you would call the ones that get billed and like promoted by Webtoon- are phenomenal [word emphasized]. You get, usuallym weekly installments or things like that, but the top series I’ve read have been Lore Olympus, which has won many, many awards over the last couple of years. True Beauty is just absolutely phenomenal. It has 133 installments; this is like if it were printed it would probably be like 3-4 books. Like manga-sized books. And it was phenomenal. Freaking Romance by Snailords, was so good and it just wrapped so it’s a completed season. 

Just- it’s completely free. It is completely free. You don’t have to pay for it. You do have to like – if an episode is released it usually is behind a wall until like a couple of weeks later and then it’ll release for free to the public. But you can pay 5 coins, which also gives the creator some money from those coins that you purchase. But they do come free, if you’re willing to wait. But I’m not willing to wait. I have terrible impulse control. So I am like, throwing money at all these creators. And I don’t feel bad about it. Whatsoever.

[Daniela] That sounds amazing. I feel like you guys have completely introduced me into a whole new world. Uhm, I probably won’t sleep for the next few days but uhm, I am here for it. I am ready.

[Carrie] Awesome! Do it! Check out Lore Olympus, True Beauty, Freaking Romance, The Remarried Empress –is really good- Your Throne – uh I have a whole list! We’ll talk. We’ll talk. [Chuckles.]

Alright lit nerds, we have a pretty lofty reading goal for the year–Oh wait! Forest. She has her hand raised. She’s like, no no no no, that was an accident. You should see your face…It’s so delightful right now.

[Laughter.]

They can get spicy!

[Forest] I meant to say something…but it was in the chat and not through this!

[Laughter.]

[Carrie] That’s totally fine!

[Leigh Ann] She looks mortified!

[Laughter.]

[Carrie] Okay, we are kind of silent right now because we are all laughing.  [Laughs.] We all have the giggles right now. With that–yeah, before we get carried away, let’s wrap up the episode. 

I love you all so much! I wish that we were all together. We would probably all be rolling on the floor. We would love to hear about what your reading goals are for the year, be sure to check out the Modcast blog where you’ll see some of these book reviews come in. And let us know what some of your most anticipated books for the year are. Happy Reading! Ciao.


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