As the page turns / A reader’s resolutions
Right now, I am dying to get home to Tolstoy. Well “Tash Hearts Tolstoy,” that is. The young adult novel about a Kentucky teen who finds herself thrust into Internet fame when her Tolstoy-inspired web series goes viral has been on my “to read” list since I saw it on a listicle and was intrigued by the concept of the main character being romantic asexual (Side note:diversity in young adult literature is why it’s one of my favorite genres.)
It’d be tempting to actually tackle Tolstoy or go to the library and grab whatever catches my fancy. But I’m attempting to read more mindfully — reading books I’ve been meaning to read rather than whatever falls in my lap — as one of my reading resolutions.
I first started creating reading resolutions for New Year’s back when I started using Goodreads, a sort of literary social network where you can track what you’ve read and what you want to read. The site allows you to do a number of things, including set a goal for the number of books you want to read in a year and telling you how many books you should be reading to stay on track with your goal.
My first three years on Goodreads, I set my goal to read 25 books in a year. After surpassing that and reading into the forties in 2015 and 2016, I decided my goal in 2017 would be to read 50 books, as well as more nonfiction. The latter was the first time I set a goal beyond the number of books I would read.
In the end, only 12 of the 59 books I read in 2017 were nonfiction. I still don’t know how I quite feel about limiting myself in terms of genres. My book selection depends on my mood. Sometimes, I need to distract myself with a whimsical YA (young adult) novel, but other times I want to delve into something meatier, like when I tackled David Cullen’s “Columbine” last fall.
However, one thing I did notice when doubling my book goal for last year was that I ended up avoiding longer books for fear they’d throw me off track for my goal. My aim was to read as much as possible until I met it. I also found myself reading a lot of books simply because they were there. As a journalist, there are piles of books sent to other writers up for grabs at the office and in my two years working in the newsroom, I’ve accumulated several stacks.
When going into 2017, I thought about what I really wanted which narrowed down to two things: one) working through the stacks of books I actually have (to save money, space and also avoid having everyone in my life skip out when it comes to finding help for moving out of my apartment) and two) to actually read more mindfully. I’m so tired of looking at or hearing about books I’ve been meaning to read and saying “Oh, I’ve been meaning to read that.”
For 2018, I set my reading goal back to 25 so I can pick through longer books I’ve been putting off for years. I’ve already broken my first resolution and bought more books (I had a Barnes and Noble gift card from Christmas!), but I’m finally picking off items on my “to be read” list. Does it feel good? Mostly. But stay tuned.
Erin’s Top Books Read in 2017
“We Believe You: Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out” by Annie E. Clark and Andrea L. Pino
“Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon
“Shrill” by Lindy West
“Delicate, Edible Birds and Other Stories” by Lauren Groff
“Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty