But what about resolutions for readers out there? I’ve outgrown the massive list of reading goals phase, to be honest. I am trying to simplify my life and focus on the essentials. I don’t like setting a goal just for the sake of it. I feel bad about myself when I don’t do it; I’d rather just have fewer ‘goals’ to begin with.
But I do think that even a non-resolver like me can do with a few little reminders. So here are my suggestions for low-key resolutions any reader can make for a book-filled 2016.
- Thou shalt pay for thy content. Yes, I do my share of library and Kindle Unlimited borrows. But every year, there are books I buy too—niche titles which aren’t quite mainstream enough to be in the borrowing pools, or Humble Bundle stuff when the theme is right for me. Respect the authors, guys. Pay for some of your stuff.
- Thou shalt purchase mindfully. There is a corollary to that, though—buy mindfully. A well-meaning relative just got my young friend a package of 80 toy cars for Christmas. Impressive though the sheer quantity was, the quality couldn’t compare to the nice metal ones he buys one at a time. There is a book equivalent to this. It’s called the Kindle Daily Deal. Don’t press the buy now button just because it’s so cheap. Buy a book only if you really want it.
- Thou shalt choose thy format for its function, not its ideology. By this, I mean that paper vs pixel has always felt, to me, like a false binary. There is room for both in the book lover’s life. For me, the function dictates the form. I buy all of my fiction in e-form. But I buy art books, cookbooks and other very visual titles in paper. When the visual aspect is part of the experience, go ahead and enjoy it. But I don’t believe that paper in and of itself is somehow magical or superior.
- Thou shalt try a new author or genre. We all somehow find a random book we might not otherwise have chosen crossing our path from time to time. Maybe it snuck into a bundle which tempted you for other purposes. Maybe the ‘customers also bought…’ box on Amazon suggested it to you. Maybe it’s a book club hit or best-seller with buzz. Next time it happens, give the book a try. Download the sample. Read a little bit outside of your comfort zone. Maybe you’ll like it!
- Thou shalt try to learn a little. I find one of the best ways out of a reading rut is to mix it up a little. Every year, I go on at least one bender where I leave the fiction behind for a bit and read some true stuff. One year, it was White House books. A Kindle Daily Deal title on life in the White House inspired me, and I read several books in a row on the lives of presidents and some memoirs of secret service and FBI life. Another year, a stunning historical fiction novel had me reading everything I could find about the Plague. Learn a little this year. Read some non-fiction.
- Thou shalt support the little guys. Make an effort this year to add a new blog or two to your RSS feed. Many bloggers come to develop other content down the road. It can be a nice way to both learn and grow yourself and support the little guys. For example, I follow a few art bloggers who have jumped onto the coloring book craze. It’s easy to buy these books from them, knowing I like their stuff already.
So there you have it. No pressure. No big list of classics to fail to check off your to-do list. Just some low-key resolutions to help you step out of your reading box just a little. Happy 2016!