New Year’s Resolutions

9 Jan

At the beginning of each new year, we sit down and make a list of all the things we hope to accomplish. Some of us focus on becoming healthier, others spending more time with the family, and others on straightening out their finances.

My New Year’s resolutions this year are a little more literary in nature. I’m setting my annual book resolutions.

Read more. Fairly standard resolution for the literary-inclined. To keep track of this, I have taken on the 2012 Reading Challenge put on by Goodreads. Each year, thousands of participants sign up, and this year is no difference. So far (and keep in mind these figures are constantly changing), 88,810 participants have pledged to read a grand total of 5,658,409 books, with an average of 63 books per person.

Some of the participants are setting very high goals for themselves. A few are pledging 150-200 books this year. That would be reading 3-4 books per week steadily throughout the year. I’m not as inclined to such a goal. I’ve set my goal at 20 books this year, excluding any manuscripts I personally work on.

Read more of the classics. I have stuck my nose up at the “classics” most of my reading life. Sure, I read Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield in grade 5, but I’ve never really had much desire to expand my list. This is what I aim to change this year. After all, it’s Dickens’ 200th birthday this year. I owe it to him to read a second book. That and, despite not reading classic books, I sure do collect them.

Read more newly released books. At the other end of the spectrum, I seldom read new releases. I am an extremely picky reader, and I seem to stick to the 90s and only sometimes venture forward. I’m going to read newer books this year, and I’m not just talking about those that by chance made it to the New York Times bestsellers lists.

Read books by non-American authors. Dickens aside, I tend to read only books written by Americans. This was not a conscious choice as a reader, I assure you! To remedy this, I plan to read more non-American authors and even limit the number of British authors I read, as well. It may be fun to try out some translated works or those from, say, Australia, New Zealand, or other English-speaking countries that I may not have thought to try before.

Read nonfiction books. Don’t tell, but I’m really not a nonfiction reader. There aren’t many plot-twisters in real life that can’t be spoiled by Wikipedia (although more fiction spoilers are ending up there as well). I have a hard time following through. However, as I’ve decided to expand what I read on my list, nonfiction books could not be ignored.

Join me this year with the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge. Also, we want to hear from you! What are your literary ambitions for 2012? What are you reading right now?


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