I know I said it yesterday (and thank you all for your lovely responses, I won’t respond individually as I would just be saying ‘and to you and yours’ a lot) but I shall say it again now as I scheduled the last one in advance, Happy New Year! I hope that you have all had wonderful festive season and had a wonderful start to the new year. I like a new year, in my mind it is like a new notebook with pristine empty pages ahead of you, you can put a full stop on the year before, thinking fondly of its highs and happily forgetting its lows and start again. It is also a time where you look at what you hope for in the year ahead and of course those New Year’s resolutions. My initial plan was not to have any and just see what the year brought me, however that can lead to laziness and so rather than having resolutions I am going to have guidelines instead. My personal ones are staying personal but here are the ones I have for reading, all two of them – though they are quite wide reaching ones.
First and foremost the year 2013 will be about reading by whim, on the whole. I have to add the ‘on the whole’ for books I need to read for work, not being a judge on this year’s Green Carnation Prize will free a huge amount of my reading year (roughly the time it takes to read 50-60 books, then eleven again, then six again), and books that I will be reading for The Readers Book Club. Other than that I want it to be a year of seeing where my whimsical reading takes me. I might have a big author, modern classic or genre binge, I might only read short books (unlikely as I have started Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserables’), I might read some long or short listed books from prizes… and I might not. I am rather excited about this. I have been pondering for some time if I know the real reader I am yet, and maybe we never do, I am hoping this random year of reading will make all that clearer. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, who knows, either way that is my main plan.
This does mean, bar the aforementioned podcast one, I have decided that it is also a year of no book groups. I did want to go back to Manchester once a month to see Lucy and the lovely troop, I also planned on joining one in Liverpool but really with wanting to read by whim and the fact that I will be commuting a lot to Derbyshire and back for Gran I just think that for now at least I need to be a teeny weeny bit selfish on this score. I will miss the banter, the laughter and the excitement of reading someone else random book choices, but I fancy the idea of books leading me to other books or a random review leading me some new, older of forgotten treat. The same applies to challenges, bar my personal Persephone Project and the last three reads for Classically Challenged, I will not be joining in any challenges or reading projects this year. (Nor will I have a countdown on GoodReads to how many books I said I would read, pressure proved too much this year!) I might miss out, I might not. I just want to get back to the ground routes of books and reading.
This will probably affect the blog, which I have been looking at again over Christmas. I am still pondering my blogging resolutions and was going to post about them today too but it is reading like a rant at the moment and needs a little more time, tweaking and its own separate post probably. But back to reading though for now…
My second sort of reading guideline/resolution is that I want to ruthlessly start all over again. I am very much of a mind that you can never have too many books, yet I do. That might sound mad but let me explain. I have lots of lovely books, but I have too many in the TBR that I feel a little bit ‘meh’ about, and some that I actually feel rather guilty about for varying reasons.
Oh the ‘meh’ books! These are those books that on the whole I have gone and bought on a whim and saved for a rainy day… three or four years ago. These books have not been read in all that time, not their fault much more mine and I think I really need to have a word with myself about if they ever will and if in fact maybe they should have new homes. There are also a fair few books I started once upon a time and have never finished, I feel slight guilt about these and need to let them, and the guilt, go. These could also fall into the guilty books along with some unsolicited books I have lingering in the TBR too.
Don’t get me wrong, I have found some utter gems through unsolicited books that have arrived and I still welcome them and the joy their arrival in the post brings, yet if one is obviously not my cup of tea I find I keep it, again for a rainy day, and feel guilty about just passing it on, be it to a family member or the local independent book shop or library. Libraries are definitely playing more of a pivotal role in my reading this year, as the more I use it hopefully the less ‘meh’ books will end up in TBR limbo. I can simply return them to the library shelves rather than having them sitting on mine making me feel guilty. Guilt isn’t just aimed at the books bought on a whim or sent unsolicited, it can also be those books I really wanted, asked for, then just didn’t get round to initially because the mood wasn’t right. That said when the mood comes back, and this happened with ‘My Policeman’ by Bethan Jones last year, you can find its one of your favourite books of the year as you expected it might be in the first place. Hang on this is straying into blogging territory not reading…
The guilt isn’t just for the books I have that I don’t think I will really ever read, it’s also for the ones that have been languishing, possibly forgotten about, or I have been put off reading because of the books above. Books both old and new I have been desperate to read and then have not for whatever reason. This to me is the positive guilt, I believe there is such a thing, that has brought the realisation I need to toughen up, so this week an epic cull is starting so that my TBR gets more attention than my shelf of ‘just in’ books or ones that jump straight to the bedside table. It’s time for some tough love, both for me and the books and I think I will feel so much better and more whimsical after. Don’t you?
So those are my two rather rambling resolutions/guidelines. What do you think? Have you any advice on the culling or the resolutions themselves? What about your good self? Have you made any reading, or indeed blogging, resolutions or guidelines this year?