When it comes to New Year's resolutions, the cliche is, of course, that everybody gives up after the first few weeks. Gym memberships are abandoned, healthy eating gives way to cheese puffs and late-night pizza runs, and that cool new craft you pick up ultimately gets stuffed in a drawer for the next seven years.
But reading resolutions are awesome because they actually stick. Reading is fun, easy, cheap, accessible, and rewarding. No memberships required, no special skills to learn. And, since you can take books with you, it's easier to fit extra reading into your schedule. Even if you don't fulfill your reading resolution to its exact specifications, any effort to change your reading routine will make your year bloom.
The simple resolution is just to "Read more." If that's what you want your resolution to be, then go for it. For me, though, I think having a specific, tangible goal is both more fun and more achievable. No matter which resolution you choose, the ultimate goal is to expand and enhance your reading. Your brain will thank you for it.
Ready your glasses, your bookmarks, and your library card. Let's make 2016 a year of fantastic reading. You can do it!
1. Read More Classics
We all have those time-honored books sitting on our to-read list, just waiting to be devoured. Go on a Jane Austen binge, make your way through Dracula, or go back and catch up on whichever book you lied about reading when you were in high school (ahem, Great Expectations) This year, buff up your literary game by spending time with the classics.
2. Finish A Long-Ass Book
Ulysses, Infiinite Jest, Crime and Punishment. Take your pick of long-ass books. There's nothing more fulfilling than spending literally thousands of pages with a story and seeing it all the way to its end. This is a great, tangible goal because you'll be able to watch your own progress. Plus, you get literary bragging rights forever. And when you find someone else who has accomplished the same feat? It will be the nerdiest gab-session of the year.
3. Read More New Releases
Especially if you already read a ton of classics, make an effort this year to stay current. There are thousands of older books to catch up on, but there are new, great books coming out daily and so many fresh voices to explore. Plus, this is a great way to discover new aspects to your own tastes.
4. Read More Small/Indie Press Books
Indie presses kick ass. It can sometimes feel like the publishing world is dominated by major publishing houses, but indie presses hold their own, putting out amazing books time and time again. With much smaller staffs, indie presses are great gateways for new, brilliant voices and innovations to break into the lit scene. Some publishers to look out for: A Strange Object, Catapult, Melville House, Pegasus Books, Graywolf Press, Counterpoint Press... and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
5. Read One Book A Week
This is one of those goals that sounds so simple but can actually be a real challenge. It doesn't matter how large or small, just knock out one book a week. Carve out however minutes a day to make it happen, and not only will you be one of the best read people around, but you'll feel your mind getting sharper as the year goes on.
6. Complete A Reading Challenge
The Goodreads Reading Challenge is a great way to broaden your reading horizons. Just set a goal for how many books you're going to read in 2016, log it into Goodreads, and keep track throughout the year. You can set your goal to fit your personal reading style. I personally always overshoot, because for me, half the fun is pushing yourself.
7. Dive Into A New Genre
We all have our home base — for me it's fantasy/sci-fi. But this year, try to branch into a genre you haven't read much of. Maybe you'll find something you love, and worst-case scenario you'll be reminded of why you love your favorite genre so much. But either way, this is such an easy way to bolster your life with new, radical experiences.