I hope that you enjoyed your New Year's Eve celebrations. Sadly, I spent mine sick in bed. But I was nevertheless very excited to say goodbye to 2014 and see what 2015 has to bring. Obviously any new year invites the possibility of endless new year's resolutions, most of which tend to focus on shifting Christmas weight - a worthy goal, for sure. However, new year's resolutions at The Book Habit take a predictably literary turn. A list of personal reading goals are my guide for 2015, but there are numerous ways in which the literary lifestyle can be a part of your new year. Here are a few suggestions:
Set A Reading Goal
This is, perhaps, the easiest way to make a literary new year's resolution. Anyone reading this blog is, I'm sure, constantly lamenting their insufficient reading time. Whether due to a 9-5 job, or school/university occupying all of your time, any devoted reader is in a constant battle to find more head-in-the-book moments. One way to keep track of your reading progress is to set yourself some specific reading goals. I do this every year - with varying success. The best place to start is with the Goodreads 2015 reading challenge. Goodreads is an amazing resource for any reader - I think of it as the social media platform for literary-minded people. Plus, it's an opportunity for us to connect - you can find my Goodreads profile here.
Take A Trip
I do love a Literary Excursion, and one of my goals for 2015 is to increase the number of literary-themed trips I take. With a good backlog of excursions behind me, the UK still abounds with many possibilities. Additionally, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for an unanticipated financial windfall which will allow a return trip to Paris. Wherever you are in the world, there will be literary hotspots for investigation. Take to the internet and, if you find yourself in the UK, browse my excursion reports - make a list of those places you will make a point of visiting this year!
Support A Cause
This particular goal for 2015 might initially appear unrelated to the literary world. But there are a variety of ways in which you can support the book industry and global reading initiatives. The easiest method is in making a pledge to purchase from independent bookshops. This year, The Book Habit will be visiting and posting about a variety of fantastic independent bookshops, both in the US and the UK. These posts will hopefully demonstrate the massive diversity in the way that these bookshops are set-up and run, as well as encourage you to investigate those in your local area. Additionally, look to your local library. Not only is this a great place to find any reading initiatives that you might be able to support, it's also a vital means of ensuring that our libraries remain active and open.
Finally, take a look at World Book Night. Coming up on 23rd April, WBN provides an opportunity for volunteers to distribute books in their communities, and inspire non-readers to give reading a go. There are a variety of ways to get involved - take a look at the website and see what you can do!
I know that many of The Book Habit's regular visitors are already studying in literature-related environments, whether at school or university. But there are also many of us, myself included, who spend their days immersed in distinctly non-literary pursuits. As much as I love my PhD, researching human rights doesn't afford a great deal of opportunity to work with literature on an academic level. Fortunately, the internet is a fantastic resource for anyone who hopes to increase their knowledge in this regard.
My absolute favourite place to go to for this is the Open Yale Courses, English Department page. If you aren't familiar with this initiative, Yale has filmed and uploaded a variety of lectures from courses taught across the university. Visit the English Department's page and you have the opportunity to watch lectures on a variety of literary subjects - from literary theory, to 20th century American novels. Perfect for those cold evenings when you're surfing online!
However you choose to integrate literature into your coming year, I wish you a 2015 filled with books, tea, and adventure!