Book Notes

A new year has arrived, and for many of us, that signals the start of our New Year’s resolutions.

We all know that some of the most common New Year’s resolutions are to exercise more, eat healthier or improve finances. All these goals are admirable, but one of my top resolutions this year is to read more. (I already read a significant amount, but you can never have too much of a good thing, right?)

Since we’re all staying home more during the pandemic, there couldn’t be a more perfect time to set new reading goals. If you’re thinking of adding this to your list of New Year’s resolutions, here are some tips that might help.

1. Find your niche.

If you’re trying to read books that fit a certain mold, but you aren’t interested in them, you’re already starting off on the wrong foot.

I learned this lesson in 2020, when I set a goal to read all the books on The Great American Read’s list of the nation’s 100 most-loved novels. I made a valiant effort and plowed through a large chunk of the list, but I came to accept that some of the books on that list didn’t interest me in the slightest, and I was essentially punishing myself by continuing to read them.

My point is to not box yourself into a reading goal that becomes unpleasant for you. Instead, find a genre of books that you gravitate toward, and don’t be ashamed to stay in that lane.

2. Set a goal that works for you.

This applies to any resolution, but the best way to ensure you achieve your goal is to make it attainable. If you’ve never been much of a reader, it probably isn’t a good idea to try to read 10 books a month right off the bat.

For my reading resolution, I plan to set a monthly goal, rather than one goal for the entire year. If you’re like me and your schedule varies from month to month, this may be the way to go for you, as well.

3. Work with others to stay on track.

One of the best ways to stick to a resolution is to have others hold you accountable. If you can connect with someone who shares the same resolution as you, that’s a bonus, but just about anyone can serve as an “accountability officer” for your reading goal.

While the pandemic has halted many in-person book clubs and other reading groups, it has also led to the rise of virtual reading rooms via Zoom or similar programs. This is a great way to keep reading fun and engaging, especially if you’re feeling uninspired on your own.

I hope many of you will choose to take on a reading resolution with me this year. Share your goals and tips with me at hviers@timesnews.net, and get reading!