Anne Bogel, host of the What Should I Read Next? podcast, curator of my online book club, and my reading guru, always asks the guests on her podcast one question:
What do you want to be different in your reading life?
That question is my starting point for my 2017 reading goals, because these goals aren't going to be to read specific titles, or even certain genres, but to find ways to improve my reading life in general. In 2016 I read eight books less than the year before. Eight! Now, 55 books is still quite a lot. I get that. But for me, that is a significant slump in my reading life. I never push myself to read a certain number of books (quality over quantity, remember?) but I felt a profound shift in my attitude towards reading this year and I want to be intentional in my effort to turn that around in 2017.
What Went Well?
I finally finally got on board and fell in love with the convenience of audiobooks. The only problem is that I am super picky about the narrator so I have trouble finding ones that I can stick with, especially for adult books. If you're a audiobook lover and have recommendations, please send them my way!
My new book club.
I'm not a super serious reader, but my book club reads books that are a little more high-brow, which helps me to push myself into a new range of reading. I'm really looking forward to the books that we'll be reading in 2017. This was my favorite read from book club so far.
What Got in the Way?
A lot of books went unfinished.
I'm talking a lot. I've never really been the type of person to abandon a book, but this year I put down quite a few of them and never picked them back up. All that time spent reading 100 or so pages only to abandon a book really impacted the amount of books that I was able to finish, and left me with kind of a meh attitude because I felt I was no longer able to easily spot books that I knew I would love.
Love/hate relationship over here. I love being able to connect with others on various platforms, but I am also very cognizant of the fact that time spent on my phone and computer is time that I'm not spending reading. I'm sure many readers can relate.
I'm both proud and a little ashamed to admit that I could sustain at least a year of my reading life on only the books that I have purchased but not yet read. The problem is that I have very few books out on display right now. To put them all out would require several bookshelves and space that I don't have, so there isn't an easy fix to this one. But I have to say, when I'm wandering the house looking for inspiration for what to read next, having all my books packed away is not helping me to feel inspired.
How Can I Improve My Reading Life?
My Five Reading Resolutions for 2017
Resolution #1: More children's literature.
Before 2016, I was a voracious reader of children's literature. I didn't read much of it outside of work in 2016, and I'd like that to change for this year. I want to read more children's literature for my own entertainment, not necessarily for the benefit of my lesson planning. So, this year I'm hoping to read at least one children's novel a month. Thankfully, I have a friend in the bookseller/publishing industry who is a adamant lover of children's lit and is a great source for finding the best of the best. Recommendations coming from her on the blog soon!
Resolution #2: More time reading, less time on the phone.
I have very few hours of free time during the week, and despite heading to bed with a book in hand each night, I sometimes fall asleep after reading just a few pages. In 2017, I want more dedicated, distraction-free reading time.
Resolution #3: More audiobooks.
I'm really not a music lover, so when I go to the gym, cook dinner, drive, and fold laundry I prefer to listen to podcasts or audiobooks. This year, I listened to Stuart Little, Anne of Green Gables, The Willoughbys, Charlotte's Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Tale of Despereaux. I find that children's literature is easier for me to finish on audio because they're usually much shorter. I'd like to find more audibooks to listen to and love in the new year. Recommendations, please!
Resolution #4: More books that I love.
I picked up and put down so many books last year. I also felt lost in picking genres. In years past, I always had a go-to, whether it was historical fiction, fantasy, or mystery. This year I tried to dabble too much in genres that I don't love, and I think that contributed to my slump. So in 2017 I want to read more of what I love, even if that means I don't cross the genre boundaries very often.
Resolution #5: More book club talk.
Speaking of not crossing the genre boundaries, I think I get plenty of that just from following along with my book club picks, so have no fear, I will be reading more than just mystery books this year.
I love my book club. As Anne Shirley once said, "Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world." I genuinely enjoy the discussions that I have with my fellow bookworms, and I'd love for 2017 to be the year that I get to join a real, in-person book club as well.
I'd love to hear about some of your reading resolutions for 2017! Leave a comment with one way that you want to improve your reading life below.