Reading Resolutions For The New Decade
29th December 20192020 is around the corner, and alongside puns about clear vision it's traditionally time for some resolutions for the new year. Only this time it's a new decade, so it's ten times the weight of guilt for breaking them after only a week. With that in mind, I've gone for reading resolutions that are largely around making things easier, simpler, and more enjoyable.
1. Quality over quantityVarious apps exist to track reading progress, as well as it being an integral feature of some ereaders. These measures can get in the sea. They tend to encourage binge reading, completionism, and a rush to finish as many books as possible, no matter how that mars the experience.
Reading is supposed to be about learning and enjoyment, and neither of these are optimised by speed reading. I'll be paying less attention to how many books I read, and more to how good they are.
2. Drop unsatisfactory books quickerSometimes a book starts slowly and picks up later, but experience has taught me that this is by far the exception. Usually if a book annoys me for some reason in Chapter 1 it will still be annoying me in Chapter 30, and the only difference will be that I'll have probably figured out the reasons that it jarred with me by that point.
3. Ignore price when deciding whether or not to drop a bookIt's very easy to pick up free books, decide I don't like them, and then remove them from my reading list if they're not my bag. Nothing spent, nothing lost. However, if I paid something for a book, even in a sale, I'm much more reluctant to abandon a book without reading it.
But time is more valuable than the cost of a book. There are more great books available than I'll be able to read in my lifetime, and time spent reading something that doesn't pull me in is time I could spend on a story that does.
4. Ignore author reputation tooI've been disappointed by critically-acclaimed authors who have won awards and had their work adapted onto screen, stage, or radio. It happens. In the past I have been slower to drop books by such authors, persisting with prose and characters that don't light my fire. But whilst critical acclaim is a good sign, the reasons books get highlighted by others can include luck, fashionable themes, and other elements that don't necessarily match what I'm looking for in a story.
5. Finish what I've startedThere are quite a few series starters that's I've found to be excellent. But I've been distracted by shiny new series, rather than enjoying the promising works of authors I rate.
6. Pick series that can be finishedHowever, I'll be avoiding long series that never seem to end. Between three and five novels is about ideal, but anything that goes on for longer I'll be avoiding. I like closure.
7. Read greenThis is probably the most important resolution, given the climate crisis. For me this means reading more on my Kobo, which uses little electricity and compares well to producing and shipping heavier paperbacks. It means using the library for dead tree books where possible, and lending with friends. It will also mean buying fewer new paperbacks.
The 2020s are likely to be the hottest decade so far in modern times. So it's important to look at everything we do and examine whether we could have a lower impact on the environment by doing things differently.
What are your 2020 reading resolutions?
© Ros Jackson