Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Reading Resolutions


There used to be a time where I read frequently, never traveling anywhere with a book I was reading and a second just incase I finished it wherever I was. I read during my study halls in high school, during downtime while I worked, when I should've been doing homework or on long car rides. It didn't really matter when or where, I always had a book in hand and my nose between the pages. Then I started college and the reading for fun time started slipping away. Slowly, I went from reading 20 to 30 books a year to four or five if I was lucky. I set goals I never fulfilled, bought books I never cracked the spine on, and struggled to through myself in the fictional worlds created by my favorite authors.

Even just this year, I think I can count all of the books I read on one hand, plus an extra finger or two. I read Atonement, Wildflower Fangirl, Saint Anything, Modern Romance, Sweetbitter, and All The Bright Places. The one thing I have in common with all of these is that I finished them in one sitting. I read Atonement on a day off from classes, holing up in my bedroom until I read it front to back. I read Wildflower when I went to the pier to sit out in the sun and enjoy the weather on a day off (and got the worst sunburn or my life). I read Fangirl and Saint Anything on the long drive from home to Cape Cod. I read Modern Romance and Sweetbitter on the drive home from Boston. And, most recently, I read All the Bright Places in one sitting last week and finished it around two in the morning. There was a book I started this year that I'm still reading because I keep picking it up and putting it down and picking it back up and–you get the gist.

The thing is, I don't want it to be like this. I used to find the greatest joy in reading. Hell, I still do! Every time I finish a book I ask myself why I don't read more often, and then I fall victim to my own busy schedule and never carve out time in my day to do something that I enjoy. This year, I set myself a goal of reading one new book a month. That's doable, right? Thirty or so days to read an entire book? I'm not telling myself I have to read Les Miserables or Don Quixote. It could be any book, really.

My friend Alice has a blog with a section all about the books that she reads. Every time I see her post a new book review, I feel a little pang of guilt for not reading as much. So instead of feeling guilty, shouldn't I try to rectify that for myself? Everything she posts about becomes part of an ever-growing to read list, one that I think I've lost entire control of. I don't even know if I have my to-read list anymore. I might have thrown it out in frustration because it kept growing bigger and longer and it got overwhelming to look at. Maybe it was just me being disappointed in myself for not getting through it fast enough, or maybe it was purely an accident. Regardless, it's time to start fresh, anyways.

I started my original list years ago, probably when I was still in high school. I think I'm at a place in my life–freshly graduated from college–to create a new list for myself to reflect my interests where they are now and not where they used to be. Here's a list of what I want to read sometime this year. There will probably be more than twelve, because knowing me, I will bypass some of these options for one reason or another.
  • Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
  • The Girls by Emma Cline
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
  • The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
  • Americanah by Chiamanda Negozi Adichie
  • Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield
  • Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham
  • Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
  • Almost Adulting: All You Need to Know to Get It Together (Sort Of) by Arden Rose *this doesn't come out until spring*
  • Bloom: Navigating Life and Style by Estée Lalonde
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
  • Emma by Jane Austen (and really, anything by Jane Austen...I've been consistently slacking on classics since for 21 years)
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (which I own, but haven't touched)
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz (which, again, I own but haven't touched)
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (what girl has two thumbs and also owns this but hasn't opened its cover yet?)
I'm sure this list will grow, but I also truly hope that it shrinks as well. I'd love for my to-read list to turn into a what I've read and what I've loved list. Here's to hoping I fall back in love with reading in 2017!

What's one book you want to read this year?

2 comments:

  1. Milk and Honey looks really good, but I feel like I've seen half of the poems on my Insta feed haha.

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  2. Just like me! I used to read 50-70 books a year! (That was a long time ago) but I miss my "feel good" hobby so much! I don't know why it always slips away!

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