The OF Blog: 2015 Goals

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2015 Goals

Unlike previous years, I aim to make 2015 a simpler year for me in terms of goals.  No wait, actually, I'm going to have fewer goals, but these might prove to be very difficult to accomplish.

I did fairly well with my goals in 2014.  I aimed to read at least 50 books each in Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese.  I finished with 60 read in Spanish, and 52 each in French, Italian, and Portuguese.  Combined with around a half-dozen in other languages (mostly read via parallel comparisons with English translations), over 54% of my total reads in 2014 were in languages other than English.

I also read 144 books (co-)written or (co-)edited by women this year, or 35.38% of the total books read.  I had set my modest goal at 35% (knowing it would be relatively more difficult to read a larger percentage in non-English books, due to limitations on how I could acquire those books), so it was nice to achieve this.

I almost achieved my goal of reviewing the remaining Premio Alfaguara winners that I hadn't reviewed by year's beginning.  I finished re-reading the last book yesterday morning, but I didn't have enough time before bed to write a coherent review and I barely had enough time to finish writing my last two Best of 2014 posts before leaving for work.  I will, however, write that review sometime this weekend.  I did read/re-read all 25 winners, in both incarnations of the award, and certainly plan on reviewing the 2015 winner soon after it is available.

But that is 2014.  This now is 2015, and with the new year, comes different goals.  I think I have spent too much time writing as a reviewer and not enough time working on honing my skills as a freelance translator.  Therefore, I have two translation-related goals for 2015:

1)  Post a rough draft prose translation of the rest of Book II of Vergil's Æneid.

I posted my 1994 Intermediate Latin translation notes last year, along with the first 30 lines of Book II that I did from scratch then.  I think another 800 lines or so can be accomplished over the course of the year.

2)  Finish translating an Argentine story collection and see if I could get it published.

Uncertain if copyright stills applies here in the US (author died in the early 1940s and this particular book was never published in the US in any language; it is in public domain in Argentina and elsewhere), but just in case, I'd like to see if I can finish a book-length project and then let the pros read it and weigh in, if they so choose.  More fun than reading nearly 200 reviews from me this year, right?

There are other goals that will take away from reading/reviewing time, things that are much more important to me than reading another page from any book.  Here they are:

3)  Exercise for at least 45 minutes on 185 days minimum this year.

I've had my fair share of injuries and pain, but I think regular exercise will alleviate some of that, including my chronic bronchitis, which I truly worry will be the death of me.

4)  Walk at least 500 miles as measured on my Nike phone app.

I walked nearly 400 miles in four months in 2012, but fell off the wagon since then due to weird work schedules and leg/back nerve pain.  I'm conditioning myself these next three months to resume walking 5-8 miles/day for 4-5 times/week.

5)  Average at least 1 lb/week weight loss for the year.

Gained nearly 30 lbs. after my back injury, due in part to the steroids I had to take.  I want to lose that and some more.  This is a multi-year goal, as I would eventually like to weigh within 15 lbs. of my high school playing weight by the end of 2016.

But for those who want some reading/reviewing goals, here goes:

6)  Review works by the 2015 Man Booker Prize, National Book Award for Fiction, Premio Alfaguara, Baileys Prize for Women's Fiction, Premio Strega, Prix Médicis, and Prix Goncourt.

Pretty straightforward, no?

7)  Read the entire Les Rougon-Macquart cycle by Emile Zola.

Only twenty books.  Oh, I plan on reading them in French.  No decision yet if I'll review them all, however.

8)  Improve my German reading comprehension.

At some point in the next few years, I hope to be able to visit Central Europe, including one of my cousins in Bavaria, so it'd be nice to work on a language that I used to be able to read a bit back when I was in school in the 1990s.  Might try to work my way through 20 books originally written in German.  Kafka perhaps?

9)  Average writing at least a post a week on my WWI blog.

I neglected it in 2014 in order to complete my ambitious 2014 reading/reviewing goals.  It'll receive much more priority this year.

10)  Review at least five more books by Zoran Živković. 

He was kind enough a few years ago to send me Serbian editions of his works and I'd like to finish reviewing those in the next couple of years.  This also means I plan on working on my reading comprehension of that beautiful language as well.

11)  Teach other reviewers how to effectively utilize rabid Serbian reading squirrels in order to improve the quantity and quality of their writing.

Still working on teaching them how to compose better prose, however.  Maybe by 2016, they will be able to translate and compose fiction as well.

Feasible goals, no?

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