New Years Resolution: Read More Books!

Coming to you from the cyberpunk dystopia that really needs to end, pleasepleaseplease, a series of New Year’s Resolution themed posts because the only way out is through.

So, you’ve decided to read more for your New Year’s resolution. Excellent choice! Books are good for you, can help you learn a new skill, and are the perfect distraction from :gestures at literally everything:.

You (read: me) may have resolved in previous years to read more and failed, but this year will be different! We will NOT repeat the mistakes of yesteryear. This year we’re making a Plan! Of! Attack!!!

Step 1: Resolve to read more. Congrats, we already did it, I’m so proud of us!

Step 2: Decide on your goal. How many books would you like to read this year? Be specific; choose a smaller number if you have a hard time getting yourself to read. Even reading one more book than last year is still an achievement to feel good about. If you blast through that you can always make a stretch goal for yourself.

Step 3: Break it down now. How many books do you need to read per week to meet hit number? How will you keep track? A simple pen and paper works, but not well if you ignored my sage advice and decided to shoot for the moon on your reading goal. SPL has digital shelves that allow you to designate catalogued items as “For Later,” “In Progress,” and “Completed.” You can even filter these lists if you are fast approaching 2022 and desperately need picture books to meet your ridiculously large goal, did I not tell you this would end badly? Did your family never teach you to listen to strangers on the Internet??

Other simple trackers include word processors, spreadsheet programs/Google Sheets, GoodReads, or free apps like My Library or Bookly.

Step 4: The Hunt BEGINS. My fellow tsundoku sufferers have built-in book lists but for fresh prey the best way to find a new favorite is by looking at an old one. Look it up on SPL.org and scroll down – you’ll see NoveList recommendations, subject headings links, and Lists That Include This Title.

Sometimes these lists are just the wild clicking fury of a library staff member trying to find enough books to fill out her Jane Austen fan fiction display – listen, I want to read them all but I’ve been busy, okay?? Other times these lists are carefully written love letters. Look for annotations – the love language preferred by staff. Your Next 5 does the same thing but better.

Use book challenges or groups for inspiration. Check out Books and Reading if the tried and terrible “cool cover?” method isn’t working out for you. Don’t miss NoveList Plus’s themes (read: AO3-style tags, every fan fiction enthusiast’s fervent dream) and read-alikes.

Protip: Once you have a list, put them on hold and pause them. You’ll move to the top of the list while avoiding inundations.

Step 5: Read. If you’re anything like me, then planning is way more fun than actually doing the work. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading, but sometimes life gets in the way. I pre-forgive you for not meeting your reading goal this year. If you meet it, that’s cool, but put that weight down if it’s too burdensome. Everybody is Going Through It in varying degrees and you don’t need Failed New Year’s Resolution Goals Again Shame on top of that. Our surprise shared resolution this year is Let’s Get Through This and good luck to everyone with that. I hope we all meet it.

     ~ Posted by Stephanie B.

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