My January Reading List
One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2018 is to read more books.
This was also one of my resolutions last year. I failed it miserably. I didn’t read a single book for pleasure last year. Nope. Not one. Nada. Negatory.
That was even after I bought a new book, had books recommended to me, previewed a few books on Kindle, and promised myself I would read a crazy number of books in the fall!
I read none.
The Reading Paradox
Writers are in a bit of a conundrum when it comes to reading. On the one hand, we are readers. We probably took up writing because we loved reading to start. We love stories. We like language. We got good at it, in part, because we read so much.
The problem for writers, however, is we’re often torn between reading and writing. When you’re a writer, choosing between the two is a nigh-on impossible task. Most of us choose writing, time and time again. After all, we’re writers. We should be writing, not reading.
I know I do it all the time.
I Do Read a Lot
One of my other problems in particular is that I’m an editor by trade. I read quite a few books last year — if we count my editing projects as “reading.” I read between 15 and 17 books last year.
Editing is quite different than simply reading, however, and reading for work is again much different than reading for pleasure. Even if I did read almost 20 books last year, I wasn’t reading for pleasure. Editing is hard work! Reading for pleasure is a very different experience.
Getting Back to What I Love
Since I left school, I’ve done very little pleasure reading. Most of my time is spent either writing or reading for work.
I used to read so much though. Over the course of my career, I’ve lost touch with a lot of the things I used to love, and reading is one of them. There’s a reason I put “reading” on my resolutions list last year.
There’s a reason it’s still there this year too.
Lots of people brag about reading 100 or 125 books in a year. Given that I’m just jumping back into reading — and how terribly I failed this goal last year — I don’t think I should take on that level of commitment. I mean, we’re a week into the year already and I’ve yet to turn over a single leaf. (Haha, oh, that’s a terrible pun.)
I’ve set myself a much more modest goal of 24 books this year. That’s a little more than what I read for work last year. In theory, if I’m not editing, reading should be easier and faster. But I also know I get busy and pressed for time, and my goal to “read more” usually gets tossed by the wayside.
So 24 seems reasonable. It’s more than 12, but less than 36. It’s a commitment to about 2 books per month, or around 1 every 2 weeks or so. In my mind, that seems quite reasonable.
I’ve put 2 books on my January reading list to meet this goal and get 2018 started right.
Book 1: Trollvinter by Tove Jansson
I decided I’d start off the year with an easy book for my January reading: Trollvinter. In the summer, I visited Sweden and I had picked up a new book (Farlig Midsommar).
There are a few problems with trying to jump into that particular book now. The first is that it’s the dead of winter outside (we’re sitting at around -30 and the east coast is getting pummeled with the “bomb cyclone” as I write this). Farlig Midsommar is about the summer solstice. Trollvinter, on the other hand, is about the winter solstice!
You can see why Trollvinter is a better choice for January reading. I’ve written before about my predilection for reading books at the same time as they’re set.
The other reason for picking up Trollvinter is, both these books are in Swedish. My Swedish is quite rusty at this point. I’ll likely struggle with Farlig Midsommar, especially since it’s new.
Trollvinter is a book I’ve had for about 5 years now, but I’ve read it multiple times. I’m still learning Swedish (which is why I’m reading a kids’ book), but the familiarity of the text will help me take some of the rust off.
Book 2: Permanent Ink by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
Permanent Ink was another on my fall reading list. I’d sampled it, and I was enjoying it, but never got around to finishing it. Since I was already enjoying the book, I figured it would be a great add to my January reading list.
I had sampled a few others books, but I wasn’t enjoying them quite the same way. It’s not exactly a smart idea to try and establish a new habit with something that’s not really enjoyable. Since I think I’ll enjoy the rest of this book, based on what I’ve already read, the incentive to read and the “reward” should be quite high.
That, in turn, should motivate me to continue reading and establishing my new habit. If I start with something I don’t enjoy, I’m likely to leave off and find other things to do.
Once my new habit is firmly in place, I can be more adventurous and tackle books that may or may not pay off for me as a reader.
What Are You Reading?
Did you make a resolution to read more books this year? (It’s a popular one!) What books are you reading this January? What do you plan to read this year? Sound off in the comments!
(Psst – You can also come find me on GoodReads.)