Down with Reading Resolutions
Like a lot of people, I get excited by the dawning of a new year. All it takes is a change in number at the end of the date and I am suddenly a much better human - a healthier, tidier, happier version of me. I can spend ages planning my New Year’s resolutions and as a result, the ‘2016 me’ walks more, eats vegetables every day and pays the bills on time. Well, mostly.
I want one area of my life where I can do whatever I want and for me, it’s reading.
That said, there’s one area where I haven’t made any plans, and that’s my reading life.
While I marvel at the discipline of people who can structure their reading around a resolution, and not feel extra pressure as a result, I need to accept I’m not one of them. Instead, my reading life is based on nothing but whim and chance.
This is a world of restrictions and regulations – there are few areas of daily living where you can shrug off the heavy weight of expectation, so when you find one, you should grab it. I want one area of my life where I can do whatever I want and for me, it’s reading.
When I walk into a bookshop and get chatted up by a shiny book that catches my eye, it shouldn’t have to wait – I can, and should, read it straight away, without having to feel guilty. There are so many exciting new releases and new discoveries in the library that I can’t make the commitment that a reading resolution requires.
I could read every day – but what if I don’t feel like it? I could read more short stories – but I’m not sure force-feeding myself is the right way to learn to love them. I could stop buying new books and work through my ‘To Be Read’ pile in an orderly fashion, whittling that sprawling pile down to a modest size, but the economy needs me to spend a percentage of my wage on new releases.
I know, theoretically, no-one’s judging you if you break your own rules, but that’s not true. I am.
Reading is a happy, fun escape for me, and every time I think to myself 'but I should be reading…' I’ll think I’ve failed, that I’ve let myself down. And the more tiny little disappointments like that build, the more I’ll start to feel less happy and confident about my reading.
So there’s only one thing I want to keep in mind when I think about my 2016 reading habits and that’s this: just read. Read whatever I want: be it picture books, doorstop-sized literary tomes or bestselling crime novels. It doesn’t matter what I read or when I read it, as long as I can make time to read when the urge strikes.
No pressure, no rules, just books.
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Image credit: The Blank Art book