New Year’s comes with a slew of resolutions — often about money or diet — that somehow don’t last past a few weeks, or at most a month. Why not change that up this year and make some reading/book resolutions that will keep you engaged to the end of the year and probably beyond?
Here are nine suggested resolutions [Editor’s note: List inspired by a bookriot.com post] to make your new year reading-rich.
- Read one book that you already own for each one you buy.
We mean well —we see a book in a store or online, it looks interesting, and we buy it. Then we put it down somewhere, forget it’s there, and never get to it. Chances are you have a small library hiding in your house that’s just begging to be read. For every new book you get, make sure to follow it with one you already have. You might well be delighted by what you find.
- Read a book you always meant to read but never got to.
You’ve waited for weeks, months, even years to get to that one book that you thought would be interesting or is a classic, but you still haven’t gotten to it. What are you waiting for? Instead of randomly scanning the library shelves or the Amazon catalog, go directly to that book and dive in.
- Join a book club.
Book clubs aren’t for everybody, but if you enjoy discussing ideas with other people, or you find that having a deadline makes you sit down and read, chances are a book club is right for you. Clubs vary in size from a few people to a big group and may have pre-selected books to read or be open to suggestions. Just because one group doesn’t suit you, don’t assume that none will.
- Cull your collection.
While we, personally, never get rid of books, sometimes it’s important to do so. Maybe you’re moving and you can’t take everything with you. Maybe every surface is covered and you have nowhere to rest your coffee cup any more. Go through what you’ve collected over the years and determine which ones are important (you love them, you want to read them again, you want to fulfill resolution #2) and which ones are not. Most libraries and second-hand bookstores would love to get their hands on anything you don’t want, provided it’s intact.
- Support your library.
This can mean anything from dropping off used books to volunteering a few hours a week to offering to lead a group discussion or conduct a community-oriented class. Talk to the library staff to see what services they need and figure out what works with your schedule. An investment in your library is an investment in the future of reading.
- Log your reading.
Some sites, such as Goodreads, have reading challenges where you keep track of the books you read on their site. You don’t need to do anything that formal, though. Simply keep a log of what you read, when you read it, and how long it took you, and make sure that list is always handy to look at. We’re always buoyed up by looking at our successes.
- Shop independent bookstores only.
While it’s certainly easiest to order a book from Amazon or go to a big chain store, the mom-and-pop indie stores are where reading’s really at. These tend to be stores where the owners are highly knowledgeable about books and passionate about reading, and you will find a wealth of information about reading, writing, and books in general that you just can’t find anywhere else. Best yet, take your kids to these stores; that may be the spark that turns a child into a life-long reader.
- Invest in a Little Free Library.
You may have seen these oversized-birdhouse-looking creations popping up on lawns around your neighborhood. What they are is a non-profit “take a book, return a book” free book exchange created by Todd Bol in Hudson, WI in 2009. They are especially handy in areas where reading materials are scarce and can be a child’s first real gateway to the world of reading.
- Don’t make your reading goals stressful.
Perhaps we should have made this the first resolution, but it’s a good one to have at any stage. Reading is pleasurable; it stimulates the imagination; it teaches you things about the world and its people that will amaze you. If you stress out by making your goals too hard or even unachievable, you risk making reading a turn-off rather than a turn-on. Make reading a habit, one that you enjoy, and you’ll always have tales to comfort, inspire, and inform you, no matter where you are.
What are your New Year’s reading resolutions? Please leave us your answers in the comments section below.