Tuesday, January 8, 2013

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!


  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.

  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. :)

  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!

  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).

  5. I love your reading goals. I too can make obligations where there are none so admire the freedom these goals bring. I enjoy hearing your picks, knowing they are truly loved or valuable in some way.
    Catherine Denton