Reading resolutions

I have a few book related New Year’s resolutions for 2013:

  • Read more. This seems like an easy catch all, but with the baby and the lure of the television I haven’t been doing a lot of reading lately. I have one book upstairs in the nursery that I read while Joe naps (for exactly 25 minutes at a time) and I have another book in the living room where I spend most of my day. I made sure that the books are drastically different (one is Tom Clancy and one is science fiction) so I don’t get the plots confused. It’s slow going though, I always seem to be in the mood to read the book that’s in a different part of the house.
  • Find new authors. When I do find time to read I have the bad habit of sticking with authors I know I like. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with this, it does keep me in a safe zone. I suppose my concern is that if I pick a book or author I don’t like then I’ve wasted my time. But is it really a waste? I want to be a novelist myself so any reading could be considered research (if only I could write off all of my book purchases on my taxes). If I don’t like a plot, or if I find characters too flat it’s just a way to improve my own writing. I rarely finish books I don’t like anyway, so I’m if I am wasting time it’s not very much.
  • Read nonfiction. I have an advanced readers copy of The Winter King by Thomas Penn that I started before it was published. It’s probably out of hardcover by now. I have another book about Tudor England with a fabulous family tree in the front cover. And Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker (can’t have all of my nonfiction be English history). I should also read Wild by Cheryl Strayed, another advanced reading copy that I did not take advantage of having before the general public. I always convince myself that I’ll read the nonfiction books that look so interesting, from the history of DNA research to a collection of short stories from a local author. Then they collect dust while I reread my favorite novels. Nonfiction just feels like more work. Fiction feels like a break, even a darker story pulls me in more than a collection of lighthearted essays. I would like to break that misconception. More nonfiction for me please!
  • Get the book group back together. We started out reading Margaret Atwood and meeting once a month. That was back when everyone in the group worked at the bookstore. Usually the day before a meeting we would all be rushing through the final chapters, asking each other if we had finished yet, often starting the discussion early over register shifts and lunch breaks. Now one of us is in Colorado, one is in New York, and three of us don’t work at the bookstore anymore. Getting this group of ladies together seems like a daunting task. But well worth it! The different views and different authors we all brought to the table pushed me out of my comfort zone. I think with a little determination and the help of the Internet we can get together again. Maybe every other month. Maybe only posting online, but we should do it ladies!
  • Get the husband to read. I want our son to read. I have read a few books to him already; the response was lackluster. I dropped one of the books on his face and even that hardly got a reaction. I think that if mom and dad both read the kiddo will be more inclined to read for fun as well. My husband is far more interested in reading online tutorials about the new coding language he is learning, seems to be a new one each week. And we both read loads of books and websites about the baby. But I would like him to read more fiction. I think stories are important. They tell us about ourselves and about the world around us. Even if the plot seems far fetched or we don’t see ourselves in any of the characters, how we react to a work of fiction tells us something about who we are.

These resolutions aren’t too crazy or difficult. I think the ones involving other people will be the most challenging. I mean, getting my husband to read more is really a resolution for him. Overall I want books to be a bigger part of my life than they have been in the past six months. I want to read about authors not just what they write but who they are. I want to explore translated works and read more poetry. I’ll do my best to share my experiences with you. Any book related resolution you want to share?

Kelly Hannon worked in an indie bookstore, is editing her first novel, and blogs about annoying people at www.letterstopeopleihate.com. Follow her on Twitter @KellyMHannon

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