Reading In the New Year

Though we’re days into the new year, I am still thinking about my last year in books and how I plan to move forward in this one. I have never felt right creating a best-of list because books touch me in such a deep, personal way.  I take the time to reflect on certain books on this blog and still feel that I can not express what they mean to me.  Others I prefer to keep only in my heart. I could never pit them against one another, arrange them before or after or in between. So, I’m not reflecting in that way.  But I do want to learn from my reading habits and move ahead.

Last year, I made the decision to leave many books unfinished. I don’t know whether this is good or bad.  I used to push myself through a book until I came out the other side.  Sometimes, I’d be truly grateful I did.  Last year, I didn’t leave that option.

Still, I’ve decided to carry this habit forward with me in 2013.  It sounds like such a minor allowance but, for someone who often creates obligations where they don’t exist, it actually provides relief. Oh, I don’t like this book?  I don’t have to read it!  Such a simple thing…but you can’t imagine how long it took for me to get to that place.

Last year, I read just seven non-fiction books (all but one was memoir.)  I’ve decided to change that this year.  I’m dreaming a new novel and I’m just not smart enough to write it.  It’s going to require a lot of research and I hope to find the right kind of narrative to take me away.  First up: The Big Oyster: History On the Half Shell.    

I also took a bit of a drastic step in my reading life this year.  I deleted my to-read list.  It had become too overwhelming and, last year, I spent a lot of time reading books and feeling as if the pleasure was not in the read but the fact that I had simply checked it off.  It just didn’t feel right.  I’m starting new.

My final thought is about books and this blog.  I have struggled to understand how I want to write about books in this space.  Since I don’t consider this a book review blog, I made the decision last year to write only about books I, didn’t merely like, but, loved.  (It should be noted that I don’t write about every book I love because of my inability to express that love.) Sometimes I highlighted books I didn’t love but appreciated for a certain style or structure or theme.  I plan to continue that way this year.  And I hope to make a proper distinction between the head-over-heels kind of books and those that impressed me for other reasons.

Do you have any reading goals for the new year?

Happy reading!

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5 thoughts on “Reading In the New Year

  1. I'm going to actually read some of the books I own – I'm constantly picking up used books for a quarter here or a dollar there, but I usually just toss them on a shelf and forget about them, which makes no sense.

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  2. I've never kept an official to-read list, but I know that feeling when reading starts to feel like a duty. So my reading goal is to make sure I'm still reading for pleasure. Good luck with the new book idea! It sounds exciting. 🙂

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  3. I've been reading mostly YA books since I started writing YA. (Even though I teach MG students.) Now I find myself contracted to write a MG series, so I think I'm going to need to read more in the genre/audience I write for and catch up on some books I missed over the past couple years while reading YA!

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  4. I'm not going to lie…most of the time I'm reading “How to Raise My Spirited Child” because it's my guide-book for raising my child! In the other moments, I have been reading a lot by David McCullough. I just started his new book “The Greater Journey”. It's history, but as everything that McCullough writes, it reads as a story. If I can finish that in-between moments with my spirited child, I'll be happy (no specific timeline).

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