In 2018 I've set my biggest reading goal ever. 125 books. I'm a little scared by that number and the pressure I'll inevitably put on myself to reach it. Last year I refrained from setting any reading goals because of how obsessed I got with my 2016 goal. I had to learn to love reading again without the pressure.
But now I want more. I want to read more, better myself, learn about new subjects that have recently sparked curiosity. I believe I can bite off this much, chew it, and swallow it into a satisfying literary meal. I've developed some strategies I plan to employ in service of my goal and I thought I'd share them with all of you and with the hope that I'll return to this post throughout the year and remind myself why I'm doing this.
So here they are, my 2018 reading resolutions:
Read more middle grade.
A couple years ago I read When You Reach Me, an incredible middle-grade book by Rebecca Stead. It was quick and refreshing and managed to touch me deeply. I had until that point forgotten how human and therapeutic books for younger readers can be when you approach them as an adult. The struggle of life is universally human and middle-grade provides easily accessible narratives that I hope will be great palate cleansers for me between longer reads.
Don't read when you don't want to.
I'm letting myself off the hook because this is where I get into trouble. I often schedule reading time and always start the day by reading. But some mornings I wake up and I just. don't. wanna. And forcing myself into it means I'll pay less attention, end up hating whatever I'm reading, and generally get huffy with myself. Forcing anything always ends in disaster. So this year I'm vowing to be more go with the flow and less dictator when it comes to my reading schedule. I trust myself to always come back to reading when I'm ready.
Embrace the challenges and the changes.
I am a lover of structure. I plan which books I'm going to read ahead of time and rarely deviate from that schedule. Often at the expense of reading some really great, timely books. This year I'm going to try to go off script and be influenced more by the world around me. I'm going to participate in Instagram challenges to read books I wouldn't normally pick up, and expand my horizons by taking more recommendations, engaging in more conversation about books, and generally being more in-tune with the book world.
Read one science-fiction book per month.
Okay, so sci-fi books tend to be pretty long. This resolution may not be the most compatible with my overall reading goal, but it's what my heart wants. I'm a nerd through and through and my heart beats for alien worlds. This is one of those resolutions I'm hoping will keep a love of reading alive and well throughout the year. The joy of reading something not because you have to or because it's popular and you feel like you should, but reading something simply because you want to escape into a different world for a while.
Give up on bad books.
Not every book is going to be good. There will be duds in the road. This year I'm giving myself permission to put them down and walk away. I don't know what my deal is but historically if I pick up a book, I force myself to finish no matter what my feelings about it. I have to know how it ends. So I drive myself through an unpleasant reading experience toward an unsatisfying finish line. And that's just silly when there are so many good books out there to focus on instead.
Read more graphic novels.
I had an amazing reading experience with Paper Girls last year and I realized that I'd never really checked to see whether there were other graphic novels I'd be interested in out there. Turns out there are. A lot of them. I went through the Goodreads list of the best of 2017 and added a bunch to my shelves and I'm hopeful that will be a good starting point for a new love affair.
Engage more with the literary community.
The Portland literary community is so rich I'm actually ashamed of myself for not being more involved up to this point. I've already filled out a volunteer application for a local nonprofit that puts on author events, and I'm committing myself to attending at least one reading or meetup per month. Book people are my people, and in 2018 I want to expand my community. I believe sharing literary love with others will keep the passion alive and keep me in hot pursuit of my lofty goal.
So these are the goals I've defined in the early hours of the first days of the year. Maybe these will be the only resolutions I manage to stick to, or maybe I'll frequent this post to add new ones as my interests shift throughout the year. Who knows what will happen! But that's the exciting part, right? I'm going to count this year as a win if I'm reading happily, no matter the pace.
What are your goals for 2018, reading or personal? And if you have any tips on how I can accomplish mine, please share them with me in the comments! Also accepting recommendations for the best book you read last year, any middle-grade you love, and graphic novels!
Happy 2018 and happy reading!