Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Reading Your Way Through 2014: A Resolution Worth Keeping

Every 31st December is the same. The impending new year inviting an urge to adopt every resolution under the sun - drink less tea (unrealistic), take up a new hobby (the year I attempted fencing has been enough to cure me of any subsequent impulse), stop talking so much about Jane Austen (I have yet to conform to popular opinion and actually pursue this one). And with each new year, the pattern remains the same - resolutions adopted, committed to, publicised to my nearest and dearest, and failed within the week. There is something intrinsically human about the desire to start anew- a kind of blank slate syndrome that serves as the principal driving force behind the diet industry and gyms everywhere. At the start of 2013, I decided that I had had enough of committing myself to resolutions that are so effortlessly and unthinkingly broken. Instead, I thought I would turn the whole institution of resolution-making on its head and pledge myself to (1) a goal that I could spend the year working towards, and (2) something that I would enjoy, rather than suffer through. Inevitably, this took me back to the second true love of my life (the first, obviously, being my fiancé) - books.


One problem with being immersed in studies year round is that the lifestyle lends itself to less pleasure reading. A day spent with head in textbooks hardly inspires the brain to more traversing across the pages in its spare time. I have never had a problem devoting a substantial amount of my non-study time to demolishing my To-Read pile, but I am also rarely happy with the number of books that I manage to get through in a year. As a long-standing member of Goodreads, the yearly Reading Challenge provided me the perfect opportunity to dedicate myself to a goal worth pursuing. Each year, Goodreads allows its members to set themselves a challenge - the number of books that they commit to read over the course of the year. In 2013, I successfully surpassed my goal of 50 books - averaging one book per week. In light of PhD, plus impending wedding planning, I felt that 2014 was not the year to get ambitious. So, rather than attempt to beat my record, I have set myself another 50 book year. Here's hoping I establish the right pace!

This post comes not only to publicise my own reading goals for 2014, but to encourage you to set your own. The 2014 Goodreads challenge may be a good place to start. But for those of you who are less interested in increasing your reading pace, 2014 may provide an opportunity to set a different goal - investigating a new genre, exploring some local independent bookshops, or making a monthly trip to the local library. Get creative! Let 2014 be a year of bookish joy - and make sure to share your goals with me!

If you are a member of Goodreads, you can join me here.

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