10 Reading Goals For Bibliophiles in 2020

by Emposia Writing Team December 10, 2019 1 Comment

bookish reading goals for 2020


Most, maybe all, of us in the bookish community LOVE setting reading goals for the upcoming year. We are always finding new ways to become “better” readers and try to read all the books. As bibliophiles, we try and read all the books we can in this lifetime! That’s basically the ultimate bookish goal.

In this guide, you’ll learn about 10 bookish reading goals that you can set for yourself in 2020. If you’re looking for new, fun and exciting goals to spice up your reading life, you’re in the right spot. You may even be sparked by one of the few I've listed here and create your own spin on it. 

It’s important that your reading goals are realistic. (Or if you like acronyms, SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based.) There is nothing more disappointing than to realize on December 31st that you are nowhere near reaching your goal of reading 400 books. Plus, if you’re a type A personality like me, you love making lists of your goals and checking them off once you’re finished!

Challenge yourself with these 10 reading goals in 2020:

Total Number of Books

This is probably the most common target in the bookish community. On Goodreads, I have seen people set a goal of reading 200 books in a year! Props to them, but I’ll stick to my 50 or so books per year...I have to accept the fact that I don’t read fast.

An article posted on The Atlantic website titled The Adults Who Treat Reading Like Homework in June 2019 stated that so far, 3 million people are aiming to read an average of 59 books by the end of the year. Currently, I’m at 50, so I don’t think 59 is a stretch, but apparently that number was stretched by over-achievers, according to the article (I’ll link the article below - it’s an interesting read).

If you find yourself having a hard time reading and are good at making/reaching goals and one of your goals is to read more, then I think this would be great for you. Goal setting can be one of those fantastic motivators. Jessica breaks down the process of goal setting for book lovers on her blog.

Maybe even try a reading goal with a friend! Hey, Jo, let’s read 40 books this year together and keep each other accountable! There are countless buddy reading groups on Goodreads you can join or you could even try to snatch a reading buddy on bookstagram!

Read More of a Specific Genre

Maybe you’re wanting to read more non-fiction so you can talk about them with your friends who like non-fiction. Maybe you recently read a science fiction book that really struck you and you want to explore the genre more. Maybe you just feel like exploring a genre that you see everyone else raving about and want to see what the hype is. This is such a cool goal because there are so many genres out there that you can’t really go wrong.

Accept a Reading Challenge to Expand Your Horizon

Book Riot has published its 2020 Read Harder Challenge, where you are prompted to read books that are definitely out of your comfort zone; they list a bunch of genres/themes that are completely different from each other and basically force you to expand those horizons of yours. If you’re in the mood to read classic literature, a book of poetry, a Western, a graphic novel, a business book, or a self-help book (and many more), this is a cool challenge to accept. This challenge is made to encourage you to read books you wouldn’t normally pick up at a library or bookstore.

Read Books From Around The World

I follow a bookstagrammer (@hannahmchristmas) who was a guest on Anne Bogel’s What Should I Read Next? Podcast (episode 187) and she surrounds her reading life with books set in different areas of the world. She tries to read books that are set in different countries and to get a feel of different cultures. If you’re craving books with a different worldview, this is definitely a goal you can incorporate into YOUR reading life. If you want to listen to how Hannah reads, check it out here.

Read More...Literally

This is every book-lover’s goal - to read more. This also goes hand-in-hand with the goal of how many books to read per year. You know those mornings, or afternoons, where you’re sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for the nurse to call you in and, out of habit, you whip out your phone? Whip out the book instead. Do you go for long walks or have a long commute to work? Try an audiobook! Do you have a hard time getting to sleep at night because you’re staring at Candy Crush (is that even popular anymore?) on your phone and your brain registers the light as daytime and you can’t seem to shut your brain off? Maybe try reading 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime instead.

I read for an hour before bedtime and I always have an easier time falling asleep. I wake up feeling more refreshed in the morning when I read before bed instead of playing The Addams Family Mystery Mansion game. I listen to audiobooks on my commute to and from work/errands. I carry a book with my wherever I go just in case I may have to wait for something and I have some free time to get some reading in.

Basically, reading makes you more patient and makes you sleep better. Looking for ways to squeeze in more reading time? Check out Mo's 40 tips on how you can read more, even with your busy schedule.

Read Your Friends’ Favorite Books

This is such a cool way to connect with your friends. When you read each other’s favorite book(s), you can get a feel of who they are when you read it. You get a sense of what they value in a book based on their favorite. I have a book club with two college friends and we meet monthly to talk about the book we read - I just pitched the idea that we all read each other’s favorites and then talk about them. Three months of talking about books we love and also connecting with each other on a deeper reading level. That sounds so amazing.

Read What's on Your Bookshelves

I don’t think I’ve seen or heard of a book-lover who has read all of the books on their bookshelves. I’m sure there are some out there, but I have yet to meet one. I made a goal in 2019 to designate my reading life to the books on my bookshelf that haven’t been read (and maybe even never opened)... yet. Here we are, in November, and have I gotten even close to accomplishing this goal? Nope. I specifically made a goal to not buy books with my own money, to read the books on my bookshelf that probably feel quite abandoned, and only take out of the library the books I read with my college book club that I do not own. It’s hard for a book-lover to NOT buy books. I’ve probably spent more than I should have on books - I’m an independent bookstore lover and will go out of my way to visit one and I will not allow myself to leave without one book at least. I also don’t count the books that are gifted to me...

I do find this goal to be intriguing and a bit of a challenge. I can try for this goal in 2020!

Read to Start a Book Journal or Blog

If you want to expose yourself to the reading world and/or read more critically, starting a book journal/blog is the way to go. I’ve been wanting to do more book reviews lately, but haven’t had the motivation to do so. I always feel like I’m not going to review a book in the “right way.” I see other book reviewers on Goodreads or Instagram or other bookish blogs and I think, “Wow, that review was amazing, I wish I had a way with words like he/she does. My book reviews will sound so dull and uninteresting compared to this person’s, so I just won’t do it.” They had to start somewhere, though, right? I’m sure they had those thoughts.

Break out that notebook! Break out that laptop and Microsoft Word and go to town! Book reviews are all about how the book made YOU feel. Sure, you can talk about the prose and the setting and the character development, but that’s all opinion. Feelings about a book and how they relate to the prose and the character development and the setting are what book reviews are all about, in my opinion. You know that book you just finished? Its review isn’t going to write itself...get to it!

I recently started an electronic book journal. It’s pretty basic. I outline the year and the month and list by number how many books I read that month with the titles and authors. I really enjoy looking at the progress I’ve made each month. I still have yet to start reviewing books. Maybe I should practice what I preach…

Join or Create a Local Book Club

Do you want to try and make more bookish friends that are local to your area? Plenty of independent bookstores and libraries have public book clubs you can join. My two favorite local independent bookstores in my area have book clubs that take place at night and in the morning (for convenience). They also have book clubs for different genres. If you can’t find a local book club, you can always try creating one. Meetup is a great resource to start a group and to meet new people, if one of your goals is to find more local bookish friends.

Read in a Different Format

Technology has affected how you read: there are so many books in a number of formats. You have physical books (hardcover, paperback, etc.), ebooks (Kindle, Nook, etc.), and audiobooks (Audible, Libro.fm, etc.). Maybe a 2020 goal for you is to try out different formats to enhance your reading life. This goes hand-in-hand with the “physically read more” goal. I’m a firm believer that some formats are better in certain settings than others. For instance, you won’t see me listening to an audiobook at home in bed. I leave the audiobooks strictly for the car and/or the plane ride (which isn’t often). When I’m in bed reading before I go to sleep, I strictly stay to physical books, mainly paperbacks, that way I’m not distracted by the LED of my phone, iPad, or what have you. Ebooks are easier to travel with, so maybe whipping that out while waiting for your kids in the pick-up line or at the doctor’s office is easier for you.

Some readers prefer one format over another. Personally, I prefer physical books and audiobooks over ebooks. I just love the feel of a physical book in my hands. Plus, physical books smell amazing! It’s interesting to change it up sometimes...you never know which format will peak your reading life at the time!

Bonus: Romance Book Releases in 2020

Are you a romance reader? Here's Jessica, from PeaceLoveBooksxo, sharing her most anticipated romance releases of 2020:


So, here we are at the mere end of 2019 (“It’s the end of an era...you might say!” Any FRIENDS fans here?). Above are just 10 areas in which you can make reading goals to help fulfill your reading life in 2020. My reading goals for the upcoming year are:

  1. Read 60 books by the end of 2020 (this is such a wimpy number for me, but I’m being realistic, or should I say SMART)
  2. Write book reviews on Goodreads
  3. Keep up with a Book Journal
  4. Read the books on my bookshelf (unless it’s an audiobook or for book club)(no buying books! Which means )
  5. Consistently read a physical and an audiobook at the same time
  6. Read my friends’ favorite books.

If goal-setting isn’t your thing, that’s okay! You read as much as you like, when you like, what you like, and for no one but you! Reading means something different for everyone; whatever it means to you, hopefully you set your goals (or don’t set your goals) as reminders to fulfill that meaning.

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Let’s Meet in the Comments
What are your reading goals for 2020?

Stay Cozy & Happy Reading,

Emposia Writing Team
Emposia Writing Team


Emposia is proud to be collaborating with a group of talented writers to help create entertaining and valuable content for all the bibliophiles out there. We appreciate good conversation so feel free to connect with us in the comments below!

1 Response


January 02, 2020

Hi Nikki, I think it’s a wonderful guide for all book lovers out there. I would for sure be following the one on expand your horizons – I generally find reading non-fiction too hard, but I want to try more areas so that I am not bored of reading same-old. Thanks again for the reading goals guidance! Love, Hina

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