Thursday, January 8, 2015

Have Yourself...a New Year of Reading

Happy New Year, furious readers!  It feels like ages since I last checked in and it is due mainly to the whirlwind I call end of semester responsibilities, the holidays, and trying to add a few more entries to my reading journal before year's end.

One of my favorite "reads" on the first of the year is my Facebook newsfeed.  Normally, I try to stay as far away as possible from newsfeed nonsense, but I grant myself this one exception on January 1st.  Everyone is filled with hope for the new year and is looking forward to the possibilities of adventure, change, and resolution.  When I read them, it is very easy to become inspired about my own resolutions and my own hopes for 2015.

Of course, most of my resolutions lean toward making me a better reader and I encourage you to think of your own "furious reader" mission statement.  What new reading opportunities do you wish to take on? What new authors, genres, or characters do you wish to meet in this new year? What do you want to get out of your reading experience for 2015?

We all know that there is nothing better in these cold months than to curl up with a book, a hot cup of *something,* and a blanket (complete with your sleeping pet or pets to keep you warm).  However, like the fitness goals we hope to keep from January to December, we need to make sure that our reading nutrition and reading exercises are beneficial to us as well (eyes are muscles too!).  There are so many books, stories, authors, and characters at our disposal, how do we know if we are choosing the right ones?  My love for reading has stemmed from childhood, but, as an adult, I struggle to find material that inspires me the way it did within the quiet noise of my personal Bildungsroman.

So how do I, a fellow furious reader, keep my reading up-to-date, inspirational, and helpful to my personal development?  I'm not sure I have a perfect plan, but here are my resolutions for the 2015:

1.  Expand into other genres.  Luckily, my job and education have taught me to look beyond my love of one particular genre, but I have yet to explore the mystery genre.  This year, I would like to add a few well-written mysteries to my reading list.
2. Use more resources more carefully. I am fortunate that I have an independent bookseller, two retail booksellers, a wonderful county library network, and three different university libraries at my disposal.  However, I find myself on book binges where I take too many books out of library (and not being able to read all of them in time), buy too many books at one particular bookseller (where I should be supporting my independent bookseller the most), or not using one of these resources at all. This year, I strive for balance in covering my bookish bases.
3. Update my reading list.  I have hundreds of titles written down in notebooks that I know I may never get to in my lifetime.  However, just having them in these notebooks and knowing that they exist, provides me with a reader's confidence to venture outside my comfort zone and to explore the authors and genres I already enjoy.  My struggle is relying too much on one source for these potential titles.  This year, I hope to use other newsletters, websites, friends, family, colleagues, etc to better build my hypothetical reading pile.
4. Get to my reading pile!!  I have so many books to read and yet I allow myself to get distracted by newer titles.  It is fine to take a reading detour, but you may miss out on a potential new favorite that has been sitting on your shelf for a year (or longer). This year, I will get through my actual reading pile.
5. Reread some old favorites.  I love rereading books that I read ten or fifteen years ago to see if I still hold the same feelings.  Last November I turned 30, so this may be a wonderful exercise as I begin my next decade. This year, I will travel back through old reading lists to visit some old friends.

There you have it, furious readers. I wish you health, happiness, and good reading in this coming year. Don't be afraid to take reading risks, but don't forget to spend time with your favorite authors and/or characters.  Whether your reading resolution is to read more, to start a reading group, to get a library card, or to reach 100 books by December 31st, please remember that every book in your reading journey matters. We are fortunate to have so many different stories available to us, in many forms, and I encourage you not to waste these fantastic reading avenues and opportunities.

As always, I am your humble reading blogger and I ask you all to:
Read Well, Read Often, and Read Furiously.

Happy New Year!!

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