Friday, January 20, 2017

Reading Goals for 2017?

Having packed up my daughter back to college after her long winter break, held my first Board meeting as President of the New England Chapter of Romance Writers of America, gotten a handle on the revisions of my novel-in-progress, and ordered the new part that our HVAC folks finally figured out we needed to fix the heating pump that had been failing intermittently for the last month (so hard to write when you're sitting in a freezing cold house!), I'm finally ready to start blogging again. I have a few books that I'm eager to write about, but before I started reviewing again, I wanted to take a few minutes to think out loud about my goals for my reading this year.

First, I want to try and remember to list on my Goodreads account every book I read. I've tended to put off adding a book to my "read" list until I have the time to write a full review—and when I run into a busy period, I end up forgetting to post a bunch of books I've read but have already taken back to the library, or which have fallen too low on my Kindle listings, displaced by ever-new titles, for the mere sight of the covers to remind me I still owe that review. This year, then, I'm going to add books to my "read" list on Goodreads immediately after I finish reading them, even if I don't have the time then to write a review. Hopefully this will be a better jog to my memory, and I'll follow up with those reviews. If you're a Goodreads person, I'd love to hook up with you there (just search for me under my name, "Jackie Horne." There's 7 of us on Goodreads; I'm the one from Cambridge MA USA).

Second, I want to read more lesbian romance. When I first reconnected to romance a little less than a decade ago, I hadn't read any romances with queer characters. But now, queer romance takes up a significant chunk of my TBR pile, thanks to recommendations from online friends, reviewers, and writers. But such recommendations often tend to feature protagonists who identify as male, or as non-binary, far more often than they do as protagonists who identify as lesbian. I need to make more of an effort to connect with lesbian publishers, readers, reviewers, and writers, because otherwise it is too easy to fall into the totally unsubstantiated assumption that gay and queer writers are turning out far more interesting romances than lesbian writers, just because those are the books that I and my friends and acquaintances are reading. So, at least once every month, I'm going to spend time reading through the upcoming publication lists at Bella Books, Bold Strokes Books, Riptide Publishing, and any other lesbian romance presses you all might recommend, and pick a handful of books to try.

One of the many book challenges you can join online
Link to POC Reading Challenge
Third, I want to expand the Diversity Romance Bingo Challenge that Barb Funes promoted on Twitter and Goodreads (which ended at the end of 2016) into this year. My goal: to get a bingo every month, which would mean reading at least five romances with characters or authors who are from groups or identities underrepresented in the romance genre, with a different underrepresented group or identity in each of the five.

Finally, I want to keep making an effort to read books by authors I don't yet know. Since starting this blog in 2012, I've been introduced to so many terrific feminist romance authors, and I could spend every blog post writing only about my favs. But I don't want to overlook new authors, or to miss the chance to discover older books that I didn't catch when they were first published. If I don't write about every book by your favorite feminist author, it's not because I'm not reading and enjoying them; it's because I want to keep my ears open for new voices, not only the well-established ones.

I hope you won't mind if I use the blog to help keep me focused on goals (especially goals 2 & 3): I plan to report once a month here about my progress, unexpected finds and annoying frustrations.

What are your romance reading goals for 2017? And do you have any recommendations for goals RNFF should consider?


  1. I have started to add you as a friend on goodreads but it wants to know where you went to college - just thought you should know.

  2. Strange! Usually it wants to know where you live, so it can differentiate you from the other folks with the same name.