New Year Resolutions Reworked into Valentine Resolutions

Back on Jan. 1st, when everyone was vowing to eat less, exercise more and get that novel published, I had said something about being more intentional in my reading choices. I definitely did not eat less or exercise more in the past month or so (perhaps the first week?), nor did you witness any noticeable increase in my blogging frequency, but at least this vague notion stayed in my mind long enough so that I am finally able to come up with something clearer.

By “intentional” I do not mean any religious inclination, but I hope that this year I can steer clear on default mode when it comes to reaching for the next book. I’ve remained in my comfort zone long enough, the air has become a bit stale here. Too often do I fall prey of nice cover designs (especially, I did notice, of Victorian crime novels… at least I know my soft spots). Too often do I reach for the literary equivalent of a fast food takeaway, and just like the Bigmac, it fills you up for a few hours, but before long you’re hungry again. Too often do I borrow far too many library books for my own sake, when my TBR pile is gathering dust (and now I have divulged that Mr. Smithereens also has his own opinion on books’ shelf life)

So, I want challenges and novelty.

But, I’m a grown woman and I know my own tastes too. And I want my reading to still be fun.

The quandary! (that’s why this post is up only mid-February!)

Being intentional therefore implies:

1- Pushing my reading borders: exploring areas I tend to ignore, like: science books, religious books, classics, books I have stupid prejudices against, like Russian novels (the names scared me!), and recently published books from my own country-fellows (I am overly suspicious of the Parisian literary hype, but I’m sure it leads me to overlook perfectly nice books). I’m not bold enough to include stuff like SF or horror though. And apocalyptic books. One has to draw the line somewhere I guess.

2- Trying something big: I’m starting to read the Bible this year, folks! (i’m pretty sure I won’t finish in 2013) Although I am not a religious person, I have started last year an online class at the Open Yale Courses website, an introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) by Christine Hayes, and although I prided myself to be familiar with “all that stuff”, I need to go back to the real deal!

3- Taking the time, not rushing. I don’t mind my reading stats to be waay down this year, what counts is that I’ve enjoyed every book.

4- Finding a balance between abandoning the books that I find difficult to dip into, and staying outside my comfort zone because I know it’s important

5- Choosing wisely (especially because of numbers 3 and 4, I’ll spend more time with those titles)

6- Trying to combine entertaining genre fiction with some discovery or novelty (I don’t delude myself that I’ll stop reading all those crime novels, nor do I really want to). Like when I tried this Amish novel late last year.

7- Trying more collaborative reading projects, like readalongs, blogger book clubs etc., if they fit into the categories I focus on. Because reading together really helps staying out of one’s own little comfort zone. Plus, it’s super fun.

I’m not really one to stick to a plan, especially when it comes to books. But those are guidelines rather than stiff resolutions, so I’m rather hopeful. We’ll see!

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6 thoughts on “New Year Resolutions Reworked into Valentine Resolutions

  1. This sounds like something we could all do with! It is very easy to fall into comfort zone reading, and goodness knows it’s necessary some winters. But then again, there is a really special buzz that comes from reading a more challenging book and getting a lot out of it. It doesn’t happen – couldn’t happen – every time, but it’s a particular pleasure when it does. Bon courage!

  2. I like the idea of being more intentional with my reading as well. I’d especially like to tackle more classic novels that I’ve ignored thus far, as well as some “heftier” nonfiction. I’m not *quite* ready to implement any sort of resolve around this yet but by this time next year I think I will be. I’m looking forward to hearing how this progresses!

  3. Good luck, I always set intentions rather than goals as it makes for a more satisfying experience for me. You definitely shouldn’t be scared of the Russians and their patronymics and nicknames and quirks, they’re a pretty interesting bunch if you can brave them. If you find the names a stumbling block though you can always photocopy or print their names out as a bookmark. ;)

  4. Pingback: 2013 in Review and an Outlook on 2014 | Smithereens

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