2014: My bookish resolutions for the New Year

stamp-143189_640I never used to make New Year’s resolutions… other than the usual vague statements about working out more, eating healthier, and cleaning out my closets. But since entering the world of blogging, I have a bit more motivation to put my intentions into words, especially when it comes to my book-related and blog-related plans and commitments.

Without further ado, my bookish, bloggy resolutions for 2014:

1) Organize, organize, organize!  At the risk of sounding completely geeky, I must admit that Excel has been a lifesaver this past year! After seeing a big upsurge in ARC approvals, I realized I was losing control, and finally came up with a tracking system that works for me. Now all of my upcoming review copies are listed in a nifty little worksheet, sorted by publication date, review status, and source, and I can always tell at a glance where I’m on target and where I’m falling behind. Plus, it’s easy to see when I’m becoming too swamped, so I know which months to avoid for future ARC requests. For 2014, I want to expand how I use my system, adding in other key reading targets — such as new releases that I’m excited to read, or older books that I’ve vowed to get to — so that I don’t end up frustrated when I never seem to have the time for what I truly want to read.

2) Ease up on the requests. On the positive side, I now get approved for a lot more of my NetGalley and Edelweiss requests. On the negative side, I haven’t yet adjusted my requesting volume to reflect this. I used to request a lot of books, based on the assumption that I’d get turned down for many of them. Well, now that I’m getting approved more, I suddenly have more than I can handle! It’s okay — with the help of my handy-dandy worksheet, I’ve got it more or less under control, but I cannot allow myself to continue adding to the backlog!

3) Attend more author events. I think I made it to four book signings and/or author appearances in 2013, and I loved them all. I happen to live someplace where there are always amazing events going on, so I just need to make more of an effort to keep track of what’s happening and then actually GO.

4) Show my shelves some love. Without picking a specific number of books or a definite ratio of new to old, I’d like to just state a general goal of hitting my bookshelves more often and making sure to leave time for the unread books I already own, rather than always moving on to the next new thing.

5) Diversify. This was a resolution from last year that didn’t go very far, but once again, I’d like to make a point of reading 3 – 5 books from outside of my usual fiction comfort zone. History, science, sociology, memoirs? We shall see.

6) No challenges! If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself as a reader, it’s that I don’t like being told what to read — even if I’m the one doing the telling. This is why I suck at book groups. Sure, I’ll read the group book… if it’s something I want to read anyway. In the past, I’ve signed up for challenges, but I’ve never stuck to them. Because as soon as some other shiny new book comes along, I ditch my older reading plans and just read whatever I feel like. So in 2014, I’ll just be realistic, concentrate on reading whatever I feel like reading, and not enter any reading challenges! Even though there are some really good and clever ones out there… but no! Not for me! I’ll remain challenge-free!

7) No new series. This is a continuation of one of the resolutions I actually stuck with in 2013: I vow not to start any new series this year — with the following exceptions (because, of course, any good rule has exceptions):

  • New series by authors I love are allowed.
  • It’s okay to start a new series if the entire series has already been published.
  • It’s also okay to start a new series if the final volume will be released in 2014.
  • Obviously, if new books come out that are part of a series I already read, they’re totally fair game.

8) Take stock and take a step back. I’m still working through this one, but starting early in 2014, I plan to take a fresh look at my regular features on my blog, figure out what’s working (and what’s not), and really think about what should be kept, what should be tweaked, what should be replaced, and what should be added. Very vague, I know, but this resolution is really just a way of noting the fact that it’s a good idea every once in a while to reevaluate and try to avoid getting stuck in annoying or unproductive ruts.

nyres9) Breathe, relax, enjoy. I vow to continue to remind myself throughout the year that first and foremost, I read for my own enjoyment. When the blog stress starts to mount or I feel like I have to read something that I’m not excited about, it’s time to hit the pause button, take a few deep breaths, and then do what makes me happy. I read because I love books. And every once in a while, it doesn’t hurt to say that out loud!

May you all be blessed with health, happiness, laughter, and great reading in this wonderful new year!

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25 thoughts on “2014: My bookish resolutions for the New Year

  1. May 2014 be a great year for you! I love your personal reading resolutions. I think they’re achievable. Good luck to you 🙂 I also think that we should read for enjoyment purposes 😉 Have a great reading year!

    • I wish I’d shown some restraint earlier — I’m swamped between now and April, really need to get myself under control! Good luck with the review pile challenge! (And happy new year!!)

  2. I’m not involved in the ARC side of reviewing books, so I just read whatever I feel like (sometimes one book leads to another and so on and so forth) but I admire your plan to organize and plan for what you want to read. I especially like the plan to not start any new series in 2014. I had that in mind for 2013, and I broke it inadvertently (more than once), but as it happens, I’m kind of enjoying the anticipation of volumes 2 and 3 for some of the series I stumbled upon last year. Another year, more books! May you have a happy new year filled with many magical reading adventures! 🙂

    • Thank you, Mary! I look forward to keeping up with your reading updates this year — I hope you read many, many wonderful books in 2014 (and have an altogether terrific year!)

    • I did pretty well with the no new series goal last year — except for a couple of times when I thought I was reading a stand-alone book and didn’t find out until the end that it was the first in a series. Very sneaky — made me mad! I have so many series I’m already involved with that it feels overwhelming to start yet another ongoing saga — sometimes it’s overwhelming trying to keep all those characters straight from book to book, when you have to wait a year in between. Happy New Year!

  3. Good luck with all of your goals for 2014 🙂 particularly the series one, I feel like every book I pick up these days is part of a series – I kind of miss stand alone novels!

    • Thanks! I’ve just gotten so frustrated in the past couple of years, especially when I start a book and don’t discover until the end that there’s a sequel or a series to follow. It’s hard to stick with this one — there’s so much out there that’s so tempting — but I try. It helps keep me a tiny bit more sane! Happy New Year — wishing you a great 2014!

  4. Amen to #9! I think so many of us start blogs because we want to talk about the books we’re already reading… and then after a while our reading habits begin to shift, and not always for the better. It’s definitely important to remember why we’re doing this in the first place!

    (And I’m with you on challenges. They’re just not my thing.)

    • “after a while our reading habits begin to shift” — unfortunately, this has been so true for me! I’m still reading a lot of books that I’m enjoying — but I’m also reading a lot, for better or for worse, that I might not have considered before I started blogging. It’s good to branch out, but at the same time it’s hard to separate personal interest vs what will work well on the blog!

  5. I did my first serious New Year’s resolution in 2013: cook more from scratch. It worked out pretty well and now I feel like I should have one for 2014 but I’ve yet to settle on anything. (Although I quite liked one blogger’s resolution to simplify her life – the trouble is that’s just so general and hard to apply…) Good luck with these ones!

  6. Great resolutions! I don’t like to be told what to read or when to read it so I don’t think I’d like to take part in any challenges either. Reading is one of my greatest pleasures so I also wouldn’t want to feel pressured to read anything by a certain time. Relaxing and trying to remind myself that I’m reading for me, and for pleasure, when the blog stress mounts is something I’ll be working on this year too!

  7. I really like your organizing system for reviewing books, I’m inspired to create my own! I admire your resistance to challenges, I know I never stick to them but somehow I always end up signing up for a few. No new series is one of my resolutions as well, every new series creates an overwhelming amount of books to keep track of. Good luck with your resolutions, I hope you achieve them and I hope you find many new favourite books this year. 🙂

    • Thank you, Isa! Really, my organizing system was something I came up with out of desperation! But it definitely helps make me feel a bit less crazed from time to time… Wishing you a terrific 2014!

  8. hahaha No challenges for me either. My brain totally rebels when I try to force it to do something. I’ve become a total mood reader and can barely follow a schedule so I’m easing up on ARC requests so I don’t end up forcing myself to read something I don’t want to at the time. No new series is a good goal. I actually came up with a new one this week: No new series until all installments are released. When I start a first book and then have to wait for the next I COMPLETELY FORGET STUFF and end up having to scramble to find a recap or take the time to do a re-read and.. no. I read the Legend series back to back and loved doing it that way. Will be a problem when the series is like, “Done!” But there are 90 installments. Oh well. lol Good luck with your goals!

    • LOL, that’s one of my criteria for new series — it has to be all published and available (or with the last book scheduled for publication). I forget everything! It’s horrible — and who has time to reread the old book every time a new book comes out? “Mood reader” — that’s a great thing to be! That’s why I’m not doing challenges — I hate reading under pressure… even when the pressure is purely my own doing! 🙂

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