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?