Top Ten Tuesday: Top (Almost) Ten Reading Resolutions for 2016

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Top Ten Resolutions for 2016.

I don’t generally go for formal resolutions, but here are a handful that I’ve come up with that relate to my reading life. Will I stick with them? Time will tell.

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1) I resolve to concentrate on reading the books I already own.

2) I resolve to ease my guilty conscience by finally catching up on my NetGalley books from last year.

3) I resolve to read all the books I urgently needed in 2015, which I bought as soon as they came out and then left sitting on my shelf.

4) I resolve to resist the urge to participate in challenges or any other sort of activity that tells me what or when or how much to read.

5) I resolve to (attempt to) read series as a whole — all books in a row — rather than reading them as they come out and then forgetting all the details in between volumes.

6) I resolve to attach my backlog of graphic novels. Buffy, I’m looking at you!

7) I resolve to branch out just a wee bit when picking books from the library, sampling genres and subject matter that I might not normally read.

8) I resolved to continue my recent trend of Reading On a Whim! (Stated in bold upper case, because I want to hammer it into my own head…) My best and most enjoyable reading happens when it’s unscheduled, not glued to a calendar, but driven purely by whatever strikes my mood when I’m looking for the next book. It doesn’t always work that way, but it’s certainly the reading pattern I want to strive for.

9) And in non-bookish resolutions… I need to exercise more, explore my city more, and make more of an effort to play and relax.

Resolved

That’s what I’m aiming for in 2016!

What are your bookish (and non-bookish) resolutions for 2016? Please share your links!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out our regular weekly features, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2015

Top 10 Tuesday new

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Top Ten Goals/Resolutions for 2015.

I’m going to try to keep it simple this year, and aim for things I have some chance of achieving:

1) Read on a whim! I wrote a whole blog post about this a few days ago (click here if you want to see it) — basically, I’m making it a priority to read according to my moods and fancies and not because of obligations or deadlines.

2) Read outside the box: This seems to be a yearly goal — I need to force myself to read a bit more non-fiction, including history, essays, and armchair travel. I have books already on my shelf that sound amazing, but I always reach for the fiction instead of pushing myself to spend time on non-fiction.

3) Catch up on the books I already own: Yeah, I know, we all have this problem. If I stick to my resolution to read on a whim, I’m pretty sure I’ll get through a lot more of the books I have waiting for me.

4) Request/accept fewer ARCs: This relates to #1 and #3 above. I have to train myself to resist clicking that tempting “request” button on NetGalley every time something catches my eye! Having a backlog of review copies is what makes me feel tense and frustrated when it comes to picking out my next read and feeling like I need to keep to a schedule.

5) Hang out with Buffy: I’m now a full season behind on my Buffy the Vampire Slayer graphic novels, and have Angel & Faith, Spike, and Willow volumes to read as well. I need to do some serious catching up!

6) Reorganize my bookshelves: I say this every year, but my shelves are overcrowded and don’t seem to make any sense at this point. All sorts of books are smushed into random places, either because of physical size or because I was in a hurry (or for ridiculous reasons, like “oh, I love this author, so I’ll put her book next to this other author I love!”). I’m not a stickler or anything, and have no desire to alphabetize or color-code, but it would be nice to have all my sci-fi in one place, and to keep my non-fiction from fraternizing with my YA novels, for example.

7) Donate, sell, upgrade: Related to organizing my bookshelves, it’s time to slim down and weed out some of the books that I either never read and never will, or read once but don’t feel the need to keep. I plan to donate a few bags/boxes for our next big library sale. I have a small stack of books that are new or pretty close to new but that I don’t want to keep for a variety of reasons, and those I’ll try to trade-in at the used bookstore. And for at least one of my graphic novel collections, I’d like to sell the paperbacks that I own and then invest a few more dollars to get the nice hardcover editions.

8) Organize my computer files: I need to spend a few good hours resorting all the various blog-related files on my drive, including photos I’ve taken, book cover images, graphics, headers, etc. I’m going to try to reorganize all of these into an archive that makes sense and is searchable. It shouldn’t be too hard, but I just need some dedicated time to make it happen.

9) Refresh the blog: I’ve had the same theme and layout for a while now, and it may be time for some sprucing up. I’m not sure that I’ll actually change anything significant, but I want to play around a bit with formatting, organization, and widgets and see what happens. I often think I missed out on the artistic gene, so figuring out visuals can be a big challenge for me, but I at least want to try and explore some options.

10) Volunteer: I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and it’s about time to take action! I’d like to do something to share my love of reading while doing good, so I’ve started looking into local volunteer opportunities that relate to literacy, libraries, reading buddies, etc. I haven’t decided yet what I’ll end up pursuing, but I really want to make this happen this year.

I’m sure I could go on and on with things I need to improve or change, but this feels like a pretty reasonable starting place!

What are your top goals for 2015? Wishing you all a wonderful year!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out my regular weekly feature, Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

2015: Reading on a Whim

2015 reading

I know it’s time to make resolutions and set goals for 2015, and I’ll do that… soon-ish.

But for now, there’s one main goal that I have in mind, and while it should be a no-brainer, I’m finding that I actually have to say it, write it down, and carve it in stone. (Or I would, if I had a chisel and a block of marble handy.)

My goal is this:

In 2015, I’m going to concentrate on reading… whatever I feel like.

Shouldn’t that go without saying? But it’s really not that easy.

Over and over again, despite my best intentions, I find my reading life consumed by commitments and obligations. There are book groups. Challenges. Discussions I’ve agreed to take part in. And all of it means that my reading is determined ahead of time and marked on a calendar… and I end up feeling frustrated and unfulfilled.

Biggest culprit? The domineering, dictatorial spreadsheet I set up to track my ARCs. I thought it was brilliant at the time — a clear, concise way of tracking all of the review books I’d yet to read, sortable by publication date, source, and whether I’d committed to a particular blog post date or other publicity event. It is actually great for all of those purposes — but when I find myself consulting the spreadsheet to figure out what to read next in order to stay on track, well, something is wrong with the system.

I get really antsy. I start feeling like I’m being told what to do (which I do not respond to well, in reading and in life in general).

This is why I’m not a very good book club participant. I’m fine, so long as we’re reading books that I want to read anyway. But when I start feeling compelled to read something that’s not really my choice, I get resentful.

This is also why I’ve stopped doing book-related challenges. I don’t want to pick books based on a category I need to check off or what letter of the alphabet the title starts with. It’s fun to see how well my reading fits in (sometimes), but it’s not how I want to decide what I read.

The bottom line, for me, is that I’ll never have enough time to read all of the books that I want to read. And when I pick and choose, I want it to be based on what I want AT THAT MOMENT.

During the last two weeks, I put aside all my lists and just started picking up the books that I felt like reading. How ridiculous is it that this felt like a big break-through for me, a special sort of treat?

Answer: It’s completely ridiculous.But at the same time, I had the weirdest feeling of freedom. I felt like proclaiming from the rooftops, “I can read whatever I feel like reading!” Crazy, right?

And so… here I am. I find myself in the odd situation of having to remind myself, yet again, that I read for fun and because I love it. Period.

I have enough responsibilities and commitments in my life. I read for me.

How does this translate into a resolution for 2015?

Resolved

In 2015, I commit to reading on a whim. I will read whatever book suits my mood or catches my eye. I will not be bound by calendars or deadlines. I commit to reading the books that I want to read, when I want, on whatever schedule I want.

In 2015, reading will be fun. And also, I hope, stimulating, inspiring, moving, educational, thought-provoking, laughter-inducing, and surprising. But overall, I want to enjoy reading 100% of the time.

Reading on a whim. Oh yes, 2015 will be a very good year!

Resolutions, kept and broken: A look back at 2013

imagesBefore I launch into a whole new set of bookish resolutions for the New Year, I thought I should do a quick look back to see if I actually kept all — or any — or even a few of my resolutions for 2013. And here’s where I stand:

Resolution: Maintain a healthy ratio of old to new.  For every new book, whether purchased or borrowed from the library, I resolved to read at least two that were already in my collection.

Result: Fail! I’m hopeless, I think. The number of unread books on my shelves is simply staggering at this point… and yet the new ones keep coming!

Resolution: No new series. I resolved not to start any new series in 2013, with the exception of new series by authors I already love to read or new-to-me series that have already been published in their entirety.

Result: Success! I can’t think of any series I started this year — with the exception of one or two trickstery books that didn’t warn me up front that there was a big fat “to be continued” lurking at the end. Which is totally not playing fair, as far as I’m concerned. I did read some books in ongoing series that I’m already involved in, and I did read the whole Y: The Last Man series, but those are allowed under my arbitrary rules. This one counts as a win!

Resolution: Patronize local bookstores.

images2Result: Mixed. I still rely on Amazon for a big bulk of my book purchases, especially now that I’m hooked on my Kindle, but I do make sure to visit the local indie sellers pretty regularly to pick up gifts and random impulse purchases… and if I attend an author appearance or other event at a book store, then I’ll always make it a point to buy something while I’m there.

Resolution: Housekeeping. I resolved to do some serious sorting and put together a bag or two (or three) of books to donate for the next library sale.

Result: Mostly a win. I did take quite a few bags of books out of my house. I co-chaired a book swap at my workplace, which was a huge success — and to which I donated about 25 – 30 books from my own shelves. Everyone who participated walked away with some great finds, plus in the end we donated the remaining books to the library for its next sale — a total of 14 cartons of donated books! My shelves are still overflowing, but I did manage to offload some of the books that I just knew I didn’t need anymore, and got my son to do the same. Honestly, this one is a never-ending challenge, and always will be.

Resolution: Try something new! I resolved to read at least 3 – 5 non-fiction books in 2013, preferable from a few different subject areas.

Result: Hmm. Not really. I read two memoirs, and that’s it. I really should have made more of an effort, but what can I say? I’m a fiction fanatic, from my head to my toes.

Resolution: Face facts. I resolved to admit that I just don’t like short stories and stop trying to force myself to read them.

Result: Success. I read a collection of fairy tales that I was excited about, and picked up an anthology that included stories by authors I love. And that’s it. I just said no to any other offers of short story collections, no matter how highly praised or eagerly pushed at me. Iron willed, that’s me!

nyresOverall? I think that’s what you’d call a decidedly mixed success rate! But that’s okay. I never did lose those extra pounds either…

Some of these will make it onto my 2014 resolution list, in one form or another… along with a few new items that I either will or won’t stick with.

How did you do with your 2013 bookish resolutions? Any big successes that you’re particularly proud of? And any “what was I thinking” items? Let’s round out 2013 by sharing our successes and our “not so much” results!