Welcome! I’m C.A. Hughes and I’m so happy you’re here!

I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, and, in addition to reading books, I also love talking about what I read! I already track my reading through a list on my phone, an Excel spreadsheet, and an account on Goodreads, but I still felt like something was missing. Through this blog, I am able to combine my passions for reading, writing, and talking about books. I’m so excited to have an outlet to connect with others who share my passion for reading (and to maybe even help spark that passion in others)!

A little bit more about me: I am a fourth-year, dual language, elementary school teacher. In addition to reading, writing, and teaching, I am also passionate about Spanish, travel, and learning about other cultures (and desserts, but that’s not super relevant here). As a reader, I tend to prefer historical fiction or realistic fiction, and I have a soft spot for dystopian young adult fiction. It’s my not-so-guilty pleasure! I also read a lot of children’s books and professional development books for teachers so that I can continue growing in my profession and support my students to the best of my ability.

As a reader, I recognize that I am constantly growing and improving. Therefore, just like my students, I set reading goals for myself each year to ensure that I am fostering this personal growth! My goals differ slightly each year, but I always aim to challenge myself, get out of my comfort zone, and broaden my horizons. And, of course, get through as much of my existing TBR pile as possible so that I can justify my habit of buying new books (even though I’ve run out of room on my bookshelves)!

My goals for 2023 are to…

  • Read 48 books:
    • I significantly lowered my overall quantity goal for this year! This is primarily because of the goal I’m setting to read more lengthy books this year (see below), and I want it to feel attainable. Also, I would like to (hopefully) travel more this year and make time for other things that bring me joy, and I don’t want this goal to make me feel stressed. Speaking of stress, I get enough stress from my job and this can sometimes lead to reading slumps. And that’s okay! I don’t want reading slumps to cause me additional stress because I might not be meeting a certain goal.
  • Read (at least) 20 books that I physically own:
    • This was my husband’s idea from last year and I’m going to repeat it this year! I loved having the extra motivation to read books from my own collection, and I’m excited to see what other new favorites I discover this year! I did lower it slightly from last year, but that’s just to correspond with lower overall quantity goal.
  • Read more long books:
    • Like the genre goal I usually set, this is really vague. Not only is it vague, but it’s subjective too! What counts as a long book? There’s no right or wrong answer here. My idea with this is that there are books that I’ve had for years that I still haven’t read because they seem long and I worry about how long they’ll take me to get through. But I want to get over that this year! This also includes audiobooks. My general thought right now is that a long book is around 450+ pages, and a long audiobook is around 17+ hours… I’ll be completely up front in admitting that this goal is entirely subjective, but those are the general parameters I’m considering. I can adjust them if necessary! The point is just to get me over my feeling of intimidation when it comes to big books. One long book I’d really like to get to this year is The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea (which clocks in around 500 pages).
  • Read (at least) 5 classic novels:
    • I’m repeating this goal again! I think it’s the perfect amount to get me out of my comfort zone without it feeling overwhelming or chore-like. One particular classic novel I’d like to read this year is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (which could also possibly count toward my big books goal!).
  • Read (at least) 5 books in Spanish:
    • I’m keeping this goal as well since I didn’t quite accomplish it in 2022 (or in 2021). I think lowering my overall quantity goal will help with this since I’m slower at reading in Spanish. Also, I generally read middle grade Spanish books to work toward this goal, but I have some young adult and adult books in Spanish that I’d really like to try reading! But these will take me even longer, so I’m glad that I decided to really lower that quantity goal.

You can find updates on my annual reading goals, progress, and my approach to my reviews on the home page. Thank you so much for joining me on my literary journeys!

Goals from previous years:

My goals for 2022 were to…

  • Read 72 books:
    • This is my exact same goal as both 2020 and 2021! I exceeded it both years, but it just feels like a good number to me. I’d like to try to read fewer middle grade books (and more of my own “grown up” books) this year, which means I’d likely have a lower total (since I can’t read them as quickly). I also always like to try to make space for other hobbies and life circumstances so that reading stays fun and doesn’t start to feel like a chore.
    • Final: 66/72
  • Read (at least) 25 books that I physically own:
    • This one was actually my husband’s idea! I was looking at my reading statistics for the year, and was surprised to realize that nearly 2/3 of the physical books that I read were middle grade books that I borrowed from my own classroom library. Being an elementary school teacher, I do probably read more middle grade books than the average adult (and I enjoy them!). However, I also love to buy and collect books to keep on my personal bookshelves, and I’d really like to read more of those! Therefore, I’m aiming to prioritize my own books a little more this year (in addition to reading some middle grade books from my classroom).
    • Final: 25/25
  • Read more historical fiction:
    • Like my nonfiction goal from last year, this one is a little vague. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, but after tracking my reading statistics over the last few years, I realized that I actually don’t read it that often anymore! Therefore, my genre goal for this year is to prioritize reading more historical fiction. That being said, I would like to also continue making an effort to read more nonfiction because I really enjoyed that last year!
    • Final: 11
  • Read (at least) 5 classic novels:
    • I’m repeating this goal from last year. I loved getting out of my comfort zone and catching up on some of the books that I didn’t have to read for school, and I definitely want to continue that journey! However, I decided not to increase it because if it’s too high it starts to feel kind of overwhelming and chore-like. Also, some of the classic novels I’d like to read are fairly long, so I don’t want to set myself up for failure.
    • Final: 5/5
  • Read (at least) 5 books in Spanish:
    • I’m keeping this goal as well since I didn’t quite accomplish it in 2021 (even though I came so close!). One of my life goals has always been to be fluent in Spanish, and literacy is a big part of that. While I am literate in Spanish, I don’t have a great amount of stamina when it comes to reading long passages in Spanish (since I’ve never really had to do it). So I’m excited to continue working on this!
    • Final: 2/5

My goals for 2021 were to…

  • Read (at least) 72 books:
    • Last year I managed to read 100 books (and my goal was 72)! I’m re-using this goal from last year for a couple reasons. The main reason is that I don’t think 100 books will be attainable again this year. During the most intense parts of quarantine and lockdown, I read more than I would normally be able to. I’m hopeful that things will start getting back to being at least semi-normal this year, which means I won’t have as much time to read. Another reason is that I’m afraid if I set my goal too high, reading will begin to feel like a chore (which I definitely don’t want!). This year, I want to make time for lots of hobbies, and not just reading.
    • Final: 103/72
  • Read more non-fiction:
    • I don’t have a specific number or percentage in mind for this one, I just want to prioritize reading more from this genre. I’m rarely motivated to read non-fiction, but I always end up enjoying it when I do! In order to be successful with this challenge, my plan is to read/listen to at least one non-fiction book for every two fiction books that I read.
    • Final: 28 nonfiction books
  • Read (at least) 5 classic novels:
    • I still feel like there are so many classic novels that I have missed out on, and I want to continue seeking these out to participate in more literary discussions. I also really enjoyed the classic novels I read last year, and want to continue challenging myself!
    • Final: 7/5
  • Read (at least) 5 books in Spanish:
    • Last year was actually the first year I ever read an entire book in Spanish! I want to continue pushing myself to read more in Spanish to develop my language abilities, as well as to grow as a bilingual teacher.
    • Final: 4/5

My goals for 2020 were to…

  • Read (at least) 72 books:
    • Last year I managed to read 66 books, so this is just a small increase to stretch the amount I read without being unrealistic. It’s also important to note that I listen to audiobooks on my commute to work, which has drastically increased my book intake. I was resistant to audiobooks at first, but they’ve totally saved my commutes. Of course, now that I’m teaching at home due to the pandemic, my reading rate has slowed pretty significantly, but that’s okay!
    • Final: 100/72 books
  • Read (at least) 1 classic novel:
    • I feel like there are a lot of important novels that I have missed out on, and now that I’m not in school taking English classes I don’t always have the motivation to read them. So I set this goal to make sure I continue challenging myself and getting out of my comfort zone.
    • Final: 3/1
  • Read more sci-fi:
    • This one isn’t very specific. I just feel like sci-fi is one of my least-read genres, so I wanted to push myself to read more books that I wouldn’t normally pick up.
    • Final: 14 sci-fi novels
  • Read (at least) 1 book in Spanish:
    • I’m very passionate about Spanish, and I now teach Spanish literacy as part of my job. Throughout my studies, however, I never really had the opportunity to read novels in Spanish (lots of scholarly articles and academic texts, but not many novels). This goal is to continue my own Spanish literacy development as well as to help me be a better teacher.
    • Final: 6/1

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