It's New Year's resolutions time, and here at The Honest Bookclub we are nothing if not resolute. We make bold, lofty promises. We aspire to greatness
and world domination. We pledge to read our way through the Library of Alexandria on days off, and to write the Great American European Novel.
And then we throw it all to the wind and do whatever we want, because who ever heard of organized readers?
But this year! This year it all changes! We are turning over a new leaf. We are fresh of mind and sprite of spirit (and idealistic of heart), and this year, we are meeting our goals! We are conquering the world one subliminal message at a time, and we are reading our way to enlightenment (and ultimate fangirling) one page at a time.
(We are also racing the Goodreads challenge tracker. It's out to get us, that one.)
(We are also racing the Goodreads challenge tracker. It's out to get us, that one.)
May the odds be ever in our favor.
100 80 books
Every year I'm told that eighty books is a lot. But here's the real truth of it: there are fifty-two weeks in a year. A hundred books read means two books per week. Eighty, even less so. And two books per week should be perfectly manageable. Right? Right? (Though that 0-books-so-far count at the start of the new year is mighty daunting, and I dislike it very, very much.) This is also where I should mention that each year my deep-down-in-my-heart goal is a hundred. I just set it to eighty to lull myself into a false sense of no-pressure. Which works exactly never.
2. Buy more books
Less? What do you mean less? More is the new less! It's a consumerist world, and we're just living in it.
No, not really. For me, this particular resolution comes down to the fact that a vast majority of the books I get throughout the year are either gifts from friends, ARCs from publishers/authors, or on loan from other lovely, lovely people with lovely, lovely book collections. I'm a poor, sad, unemployed grad student who is tired of being a poor, sad, unemployed grad student. So, once I've graduated this year, hopefully I can find a job to fuel my own book addiction. (Also, watch me bury my friends in mounts of books to make up for all their generousness over the years. It'll be a sight to behold.)
3. Place my flag on uncharted
Magellan had nothing on my exploring ambitions. I want to read everything. I want to go everywhere and meet everyone and be everything.* This time, I am taking a trusted sidekick (in the shape of my non-comfort-zone TBR jar) with me on my travels through the vastness of the bookish genres. After all, what's the point of a buffet if you don't sample everything?
What do you mean, most people don't eat an entire buffet?
* Needless to say, all these apply only in a bookish context. I have no interest in being a banker. But I have tremendous interest in being Victor Vale.
4. Defeat NaNoWriMo in a duel
*slaps with a glove* You're on, November. (But also possibly April/July.)
5. Allow another living human with eyeballs a glimpse into my messy writing drafts
Let's be honest. This won't happen. But declaring it a resolution means that I've at least given it the old college try, surely?
6. Be whimsical
Most of the books I read have been through a lot. I vet them. I run background checks. I subject them to a thorough investigation, and then I grill them in an interview room for hours before giving them a chance. I don't want to be stuck with a bad book. But in those rare occasions when I've picked titles up on a whim for a quick one-night-read (if you know what I mean), the results were surprisingly pleasant. So I have decided to be more WHIM-sical. On a WHIM. Get it? Get it?
7. Gently nudge everyone I know and perform a mass conversion (to readers)
All my life, I have been gently (very gently!) nudging, steering and guiding my many friends and family towards Readerdom. Why gift anything else when one can gift a book? Being the wonderfully understanding and patient person that I am, I resolved to only talk their ears off about books 80% of the time.
But this year, ah. 2016 being the leap year that it is, it's an extra day long. That's a whole 24 more which can be devoted to book-worshipping-rituals. It's enough, I wager, to convert any (wo)man - if the book is good. The world is out of excuses. It's time to read like it's going out of style.
Which it never, ever will.
8. Write reviews
I do review the books I read. You know. Sometimes. A lot of the time, however, I pick the next one up immediately. And then the next. And then the next. By the time I sit down to review a book, I've read ten more and the impressions are jumbled into a tangle of impressions and characters and broadswords and puppies, and I can no longer discern what I thought about any of those individual titles.
It's a non-issue, I am aware. But it's one that I intend to tackle. With organization. And stuff. (Now, if someone could point me towards a store that sells organizational skills, I'd greatly appreciate it.)
9. Debut authors, hear me roar
In 2015, I've caught myself (and this blog as a whole) reaching for established authors and familiar territories, and I don't like it. It's an ugly, ugly flaw I don't like to examine too closely. But the new year is a magnifying sort of mirror, and it's turned my comfort-zone-predilection into a giant train wreck that I can't seem to look away from. Much as I have enjoyed my reading year, I've enjoyed it mostly because I played it safe. I waited until twenty thousand six hundred people recommended me an author before I gave them a chance.
No more. I would like to no longer be haunted and stalked by a giant magnifying mirror of shame. So this year, I intend to love, hug, read, worship and high-five a lot of debut authors. I hope they in turn intend to not run away when I do. But we'll see how it goes. I'll keep you posted. Everyone knows I'm the coffee-and-Nutella-queen, though. So my prospects are better than most. I always come in peace, and bearing heavenly delicacies.
10. Build Hogwarts out of books and live in it
A fine aspiration, if I do say so myself. Who needs a hidden-bookshelf-door when your entire
house castle could be made of nothing but books?
1. Read books out of my comfort zone
I'd love to stop reading the same things every now and then, and try something a little different. I do sometimes feel like I read the same old story over and over again. Every so often, reading a genre that I'm not used to would be good. Broaden my reading horizons!
2. Don't DNF so many or so soon
I have a problem with DNFing. If a book leaves a bad taste in my mouth mid-story, I'll stop. Life is too short to be reading books I dislike, but I do sometimes feel like I don't give them a chance. My problem is that I get distracted easily, and if I'm reading a book I'm not enjoying and I put it down, I won't pick it up again. Then I'm thinking 'ah, forget it' and DNF it because why waste my time. I do get annoyed at myself, though, when I think it might have picked up nearer to the end of the story. I need to give it more of an opportunity to make me like it, so I'll read a little longer in 2016. Unless it's terrible or so unreadable that I want to throw it out the window.
3. Don't read so many over-hyped books
My problem is that I jump onto that bandwagon, and I read the 'what's hot' book. I always regret it, as it's never as good as I hear. Which causes me to do resolution 2 – DNF it. I need to read what I want to read, not what people are telling me to read, and that's been an issue in not just 2015. “Read this book, it's amazing” and I see 1000's of pictures of it, “okay, fine I'll read it” and I'm always sad that I bought it. Natalie, you read what you want to read.
4. Read a classic
This was one I was supposed to do this year, and I didn't do it. Why? I hate classics, but as I'm studying English Literature, it's bound to happen. I need to get into the habit of being able to read them, so I'm determined to finally read one. If you have any recommendations for someone who's not a big fan of them, one that is easy to read, I'm all ears.
5. Don't impulse buy books
I have too many books. I find piles of them around the house, they're everywhere and a lot of them are unread. I need to stop buying so many books, otherwise I'll be broke or I'll get too overwhelmed with what to read next. Who knows when it'll be before I read a book that I bought a year a go? I don't want them unloved, so I need to buy them less often.
6. Read faster
Goddamn, I'm such a slow reader. I really wish I could read a book in half the time it takes me to read now. Not only because of work and university, I just take so damn long to read something, and this is one of the reasons why I failed my reading challenge. I need to up my game and get that book read.
7. Recommend books to friends and family
I want my friends and family to read more. I've luckily gotten a friend started on Harry Potter (who is taking about 5 months to read Philosophers Stone, but it's a start!), so I have to keep at it. I rarely have anyone in my real life to talk books to, so it would be lovely to go to a family do and talk about something other than work (maybe then I'll be more up for family meetings!). I want someone to accompany me at the bookshop, who gets excited about releases and go to book signings, so I'm determined to make more people in my life read.
8. Find more time to read
It's mostly due to work and university, but I do get lazy with reading when it comes to that time of year. I really do need to schedule my reading into my life, as I tend to just disregard and I end up in a reading slump. Then, when the time comes that I have some time off from university work, I'm not in a reading mood. Don't let yourself get out of the reading habit, Natalie!
9. Read more under-hyped books
I've found some good ones this year, and I do love to find a hidden gem. As I mentioned before, sometimes over-hyped books let me down, so I love to find something hidden on the shelves, take it come with me, and give it some love. Wow, that sounds wrong...
What I mean is, I love recommending books nobody's heard before, and being pleasantly surprised by that little story that's got such potential. I've noticed now-a-days that books that are marketed so much aren't always the best, they just got lucky. There are so many books out there that are so much better but hardly get any recognition, so I want to keep at it and read more books that are under-hyped. I'm with you, new authors! (I sound quite hipster...)
10. Don't flip through pages prior to reading
I have literally no idea why I do this. I flip through the book and kind of catch sentences (yes, even near the back), then I get annoyed at myself for doing such a thing. I need to stop doing this. This causes irritating, spoilers and anger, so it's not good as a reader.
Talk to us while we're still feeling ambitious and organized, guys! This isn't guaranteed to be long-lasting. What are your 2016 resolutions, and how did you do with your 2015 ones? (For what it's worth, our 2015 resolutions are keeled over, pointing and laughing at us to breathlessness. They're a profoundly unpleasant bunch.)
2016 BOOKISH RESOLUTIONS
4/ 5Oleh The Honest Bookclub