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Thursday, December 30, 2010 2:20 pm
New Year's Reading Resolutions
Posted by: Neil Hollands

As a new year approaches, I always like to take time to ponder my reading habits and make a few resolutions for the upcoming year. Here are my reading resolutions for 2011:


As a professional book person, I have a dozen tricks to sneak a few extra pages into my schedule: reading at meals, listening to audiobooks, taking a paperback any time I expect a line, and so on. In this digital age, I’m a multitasker extraordinaire. But I’m not as good as I once was at maintaining focus over long periods of time, and this affects the way I experience books. In 2011, I’m going to sneak five pages at a time less and find time to read for at least an hour more often. I miss the feeling of immersion that only comes when one reads for a long stretch.


A couple of years ago, I quietly started a project to read my way across the fiction section of the larger of the two libraries where I work. From each three foot shelf, I select one book that I think I’ll like and read it. Two years later, because of the many other books that demand my time, I’m still in the middle of the “A”‘ authors. At this rate, I’m never going to make it! So far I’ve enjoyed writers like Julia Alvarez, Louisa May Alcott, Niccolo Ammaniti, Diana Abu-Jaber, Chris Adrian, and Daniel Alarcon, writers whom I probably never would have tried otherwise. Poul Anderson, you’re next!


It’s ironic, as a youngster I had to read classics all the time and often didn’t like them. Now that I’m an adult, I rarely find time for these books, but almost always feel enriched when I do. I appreciate why even minor classics have passed the test of time. In 2011, I’m turning to old books more often.


Conversely, my annual compilations of the best book votes of the year always inspire me to try newer writers. (I hope to start posting about that project next week Buzz readers). This year, Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies, Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists, Gabrielle Zevin’s The Hole We’re In, N. K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Adam Ross’s Mr. Peanut, Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death, and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad are among the shiny new titles that just keep capturing my eye.


I make this resolution every year. I’m not one to read all of the books in a series back to back. I don’t mind stringing them out over years. But my list of unfinished series is becoming almost unbearable, and it’s time to knock some out.  Besides, this resolution dovetails nicely with my first. Maybe if I do read some series books back to back, I’ll find the engrossment that I love.

What are your reading resolutions for the next year? Share them in the comments below, exchange them with reading friends or co-workers, or discuss them at your next book group meeting. It’s got to be more productive than repeating that plan to lose twenty pounds!

4 Responses to “New Year's Reading Resolutions”
  1. misha Says:

    I was working on this very thing today–mounting a display and writing a blog post for my library on reader’s resolutions. Here are a few of mine:

    I will read a big book (one of those doorstops I have heard are good, but have been avoiding)
    I will read a book in translation
    I will read a book with a bad cover (I will admit it, I judge books by their covers)
    I will read a romance with a steamy cover on the bus
    I will read a book of short stories
    I will read genre fiction (ie. science fiction, fantasy, mystery, westerns, etc.)
    I will read a book a friend told me to read
    I will read a reprint
    I will reread a book I loved
    I will read a nonfiction book
    I will read a local author

  2. GreatBooker Says:

    We have a New Years Reading Resolutions post on our Book Club’s blog.

  3. MizB Says:

    While I usually just have reading “goals” each year (read 52 books, review each book I read…), this year I was challenged to come up with some “resolutions”, as well. And, I could only find 2 that I wanted to challenge myself with: (1) write more in-depth book reviews (I’m an independent reviewer, but I hate that most of my reviews don’t go into enough detail), and (2) read more of the books from my own shelves — those books that have been sitting there for quite some time, waiting patiently for me to finally get around to reading them. ;)


  4. Ideas for Reading | Booktalking @ NAFCPL Says:

    [...] to my old habits. If you’re like me, you might want to read this short article on the weblog Book Group Buzz. It’s got some really good suggestions for following through with your [...]

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