2013: My bookish resolutions for the New Year
Forget working out more (or at all…), eating healthier, and doing good deeds. (Oh, shush, I’ll try to do those things too).
My extra special New Year’s resolutions are all about reading. It’s a new year, a new opportunity to make some pledges to myself, and perhaps try a new approach or two when it comes to my reading life.
My resolutions for 2013:
- Maintain a healthy ratio of old to new: I have piles and piles of unread books in my house, at least 20 unread books on my Kindle, and yet I still gravitate toward grabbing the newest releases, checking new titles out from the library, and ignoring what I already have. Well, it has to stop! Stop, I tell you! My resolution for 2013 is to aim for at least a 2:1 ratio. For every new book, whether purchased or borrowed from the library, I will read at least two that are already in my collection. I think this will be my biggest challenge, to be honest, and I thought of settling for even a 1:1 ratio… but hey, let’s aim high.
- No new series! I simply will not start any new series in 2013 — with the following exceptions (because, of course, any good rule has exceptions):
- New series by authors I love are allowed. Because I simply must read Gail Carriger’s Finishing School books as soon as they’re released. (Etiquette & Espionage is due out in February. Hurray!)
- It’s okay to start a new series if the entire series has already been published. For example, I read the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher all the way through, books 1 – 6, once the 6th and final book had been released.
- It’s also okay to start a new series if the final volume will be released in 2013. A friend has been urging me to read Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicle series, but I’m holding off until there’s a release date set for the final book.
- Obviously, if new books come out that are part of a series I already read, they’re totally fair game.
- Patronize local books stores. I’ve made a conscious effort in recent years to rely more and more on the library for new reads, and then supplement my shelves with amazing finds at the library’s annual used book sales. But I’m as guilty as the next person in terms of relying on Amazon for cheap prices and quick delivery. I’ll never totally stop buying from Amazon, but I will try to funnel more of my book dollars toward the wonderful people who work so hard to keep independent bookstores alive in our communities.
- Housekeeping. It’s time to do some culling. Yes, there are a lot of books on my shelves that I intend to get to eventually. But, facing facts, I admit that there are some that have been there long enough that if I really wanted to read them, I would have done it already. Impulse buys, unfortunate duplicates, books that sounded more appealing than they ended up… they need to go. I resolve to do some serious sorting and put together a bag or two (or three) of books to donate for the next library sale.
- The same goes for kids’ books in my house. My son, world champion reluctant reader, has shelves full of books that he’s never going to read. Every time his school has a book fair or his teacher hands out Scholastic book order flyers, he begs me to buy stuff and swears that this time, he’s really, really, really going to read them. I’m a sap and never say no when it comes to books, but of course, it turns out just how you’d expect. So, another culling is in order. I resolve to go through my son’s shelves — with him — take out the books that he has no interest in or that he’s already outgrown, and donate them to a good cause.
- Try something new! I’m a fiction reader, head to toe and deep down in my bones. But it’s nice to stretch one’s wings, expand one’s mind, branch out a little bit. So I resolve to read at least 3 – 5 non-fiction books in 2013, preferable from a few different areas. History, biography, social commentary, science — I’ve actually got some terrific-looking books on my shelves already, and it’s times I paid them some attention. I’m such a fiction junkie that this may be one of my hardest resolutions to keep, but I intend to at least make the effort.
- Face facts. I don’t like short stories. I’ve never particularly liked short stories. So maybe it’s time to face facts and stop trying to force myself to read them. Every time I go to the used book sales, I come home with at least a few volumes of either fairy tales, science fiction stories, or horror stories. And no matter how much I like the author, I just never feel motivated enough to pick up a story collection rather than a novel. So my resolution for 2013 in this regard is to let myself off the hook and admit that it’s just not going to happen.
They say that resolutions are made to be broken. Remember those 15 pounds we all vowed to lose last year? Or the year we were all going to become fluent in Spanish?
Well, I’m determined to give all of my bookish resolutions a fair try. Some may stick, some may not. But here’s to 2013! May it be full of good cheer, good health, and good reading for all!