It’s that time of the year when the question on everyone’s lips is ‘what are your new year’s resolutions?’ My stock response is usually to eat less and exercise more-I seldom manage either! This year though, I have a definite target that I am determined to meet. I want to read more.
As a book lover, I do tend to read a reasonable amount anyway, but this year I really struggled to meet my Goodreads target of 50 books and I have been burning the midnight oil to squeeze the last few texts into 2017. This has been a shame as it has detracted from the actual enjoyment of reading; a librarian not enjoying her reading needs drastic action!
In 2018 I am hoping to reignite my passion for reading for sheer enjoyment. I also hope to encourage others to read more too. This is an utterly selfish act as I am hoping it will spur me on in my own reading aims! As the host of our next book club meeting, (see our proud members below), I am planning to persuade the group to take a New Years’ book club pledge to meet more frequently and to read more books. Book clubs are not only about drinking wine! In addition, I would like to set up a book challenge. This might be something along the lines of agreeing to read all of the man-booker shortlisted titles and run a sweep-stake on which will win! The idea is that this will stimulate book based chat and if I am the one to set up the challenge, then I will also have to set a good example and complete it!
From this moment on, I’m also going to shift my mindset and persuade myself that it is ok to stop reading a book if I am not enjoying it! Over the last few months I have wasted too much time ploughing through texts I have found uninspiring – George Saunders 'Lincoln in the Bardo' springs to mind – sorry to those who enjoyed it! I’m also going to find better times to read. Days are so busy and full that I often don’t get to pick up my book until I get into bed. Whilst I definitely don’t want to stop this habit, as it is a great way to unwind, there is a fairly high chance that I will fall asleep with my book on my face and glasses askew! So in addition, instead of browsing social media during journeys and down time in hospital waiting rooms etc, I plan to make sure that I have a book in my handbag and read it!
There are other suggestions I've recently heard of for increasing reading productivity which I know won’t work for me. I can’t, for example, have several fiction book on the go at once. How can you live in several stories at the same time? Also, I can’t skim read. Those ads that talk about CEOs reading huge numbers of books per year by just pulling out the key information, seem to me to be a very reductive approach to a very wonderful activity. I want to become immersed and escape into the book I've invested in.
When reflecting why I have found it difficult to make time to read this year the answer was easy to find: The hours I’ve spent on social media has sapped away the time I used to spend reading! So it is time to change. If I do keep this resolution then it will be the metaphorical equivalent of making my mind and body fit – perhaps listening to a few audio books whilst walking and swimming will mean that I will make my actual body fit too – a great side effect.
To be successful though I’ve some hard habits to break and some great new ones to make. During the time writing this post I’ve noticed that I have picked up my phone several times to check for notifications. A self-intervention is necessary and I am going to have to learn to switch off my phone or put it away! So I'm heading off to make a list of titles that I simply must read in 2018 and to think of more ways to ensure I read more. if you have ideas to share or would like to set a reading target with me then do get in touch. Happy New Year and Happy Reading!