The Challenge of Coming Up With a Reading Resolution (And What I Finally Decided)
Every year I set myself a reading resolution---usually a numerical value for the number of books I want to read in a given year. I never did this before joining Goodreads in 2011, but now that I've gotten in the habit of tracking my reading, I don't see myself going back.
The only problem with setting a numerical goal is that, unless your goal skews lower, you're not incentivized to read longer books. For example, for the past few years I've wanted to read Anna Karenina, which is 700ish pages (my copy, anyway), but I've avoided it because I knew if I set my Goodreads goal to 50 or higher then it would constantly be telling me I was behind. Then I'd have to subsidize the longer books by reading a lot of poetry or comics.
I realize how ridiculous that is, but I'm a competitive, goal-oriented person, so the numerical reading goal works on me.
I've had numerical goals for the past two years, reading 60 and 77 books, respectively, so I'm ready to mix things up.
I thought it might be fun to read my height in books, but the logistics are a little tricky. Does that mean I shouldn't count the audiobooks I read, or just get their dimensions off Amazon and keep a spreadsheet? Does that mean I couldn't get rid of any books I read but didn't care to read again? Sounds like too much trouble.
Last year I tried not buying any new books and just reading what I already had and what I could get at the library. I'll own my privilege here and just say that I was miserable. I lasted 3.5 months and I think I ended up buying more books than usual because of the quarter year drought. And I know that this book buying, too, is a mental thing because I still haven't read all the books I bought in my initial screw-this-resolution shopping trip.
Everyone has their vices and I finally agreed that buying books is hardly the worst thing I could do with my entertainment budget.
So I learned the hard way that I don't want to do a yearlong goal like not buying any new books, or only read X kind of books.
Building on my past experiences with reading goals, I finally decided what I'd do for 2017.
- Set my numerical goal low.
That way I can read some of the doorstoppers (600+ page books) sitting on my shelves without Goodreads telling me I'm behind on my goal.
- Make half of all the books I read from small presses.
Like I said, I'm no good with yearlong goals, but I have developed quite the affinity for books from small presses. I find them to be edgier, riskier, and more artistically avant-garde than a lot of what's published by the major publishing houses. I love reading, but when I look back on some of the books I read last year, I was BORED. I don't want boring books to make me want to read less. I love reading too much for that.
- Read at least 2 classics.
I used to love reading the classics when they were assigned to me in school, but I've only read one since graduating college in 2013. I think it's time to end that hiatus. I decided to go with Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary.
- Read more of what's on my own shelves.
So I'm not doing a book buying freeze entirely, but I would like to read these books that I already have. Call it shopping from my own shelves, if you will.
Although Goodreads only lets you input a numerical goal and doesn't account for the other things, I'll know. Those other metrics are easy enough to keep up with in my head.
Are you doing a reading resolution? Tell me why or why not in the comments below!