Sunday, 3 January 2010

Bookish Resolutions

Happy 2010! I am back in London and feeling slightly better. Today will be a PJs and book day, I think, as I attempt to finish my first book of the year (yesterday I didn't manage to read a word as I don't find reading in the car conducive to my physical well-being). I didn't read as much as I had hoped for over the festive period but it was more important to be enjoying quality time with my loved ones, which I did in abundance. This intentional placing of less pressure upon myself to read a set amount of books (normally in an impractical amount of time) ties in with the bookish resolutions that I have set myself for the coming year; these are simple, relaxed rules that I hope will ultimately enrich my reading experience rather than constrain it.

1. Enjoy reading - it's not that I didn't enjoy reading in 2009 but there were occasions, especially in late November/early December, where I felt thoroughly overwhelmed with reading deadlines that I had set myself (or that were dictated by library due dates or book group meetings). I had enough of reading as a chore when I was at University and I need to return to the days of reading purely for pleasure and not with a sense of obligation or pressure.

2. Read freely - part of my stifled feelings at the end of the year were due to having far too many books on my TBR list that weren't there solely out of choice and whimsy but because of challenge commitments or themed reading that I set myself. I will still dabble in these but as and when I feel the freedom to do so. There are so many exciting and interesting reading challenges across the blogosphere and I am not banning them but I need to read for me this year. I miss the freedom of choice in my reading so in 2010 expect more randomness in my reading and more of an insight into my preferred reading material. I'll still challenge myself but on my own terms. I fully intend to complete the two challenges that I have already committed to for the year ahead and some exciting read-alongs but I won't be stressing myself to meet deadlines and missing out on other wonderful books along the way.

3. Acquire less books - I am not imposing any book-buying ban on myself but I am simply going to try to buy and borrow (from the library and friends) less books and obtain review copies until I have made a significant dent in the books that I already have. I already have an immense TBR list and acquired a lot of wonderful-sounding books last year and it saddens me that there were some that I didn't get around to reading. This year I am not making any written reading plans but plan to let my own senses and circumstances guide me in my reading choices on a book-to-book basis as I used to do successfully; for the latter half of last year I had a half dozen books at a time lined up and I don't read well under that pressure. A reduction in the amount of incoming books is required to realistically get on top of the ones already waiting for me.

Three fundamental, unconstrained, achievable resolutions that I won't feel pressured to achieve as they should come naturally. Reading is my favourite pastime; I have read prolifically and eclectically from an early age and I don't want that to change; blogging has enriched my reading experience through blogger recommendations but I want to strike a balance between my own personal reading freedom and participating in the blogging community. Here's to a 2010 full of wonderful books!


Nymeth said...

I'm glad to hear you're feeling better! Your goals all sound like very sensible ones - good luck with them :)

verity said...

That sounds like a good plan. I'm not resolving to acquire less books but to keep up with my TBR!

Looking forward to another year of blogging from you Claire :)

Kals said...

Good luck :) Your goals are very practical. Enjoy your reading! :)

Vivienne said...

Good luck with your goals. I know what you mean about reading under pressure. It does feel a bit like school. Glad to hear you are feeling better too.

Alison said...

Hope you've enjoyed your day of PJs and reading - we all need one of those every now and then! Totally agree with your resolutions; after doing an English degree I hardly read anything for a couple of years because I had spent so much time reading things because I had to and reaching deadlines. Now it's all about the ENJOYMENT!

StuckInABook said...

Some great resolutions!
I decided a couple of years ago never to do challenges, because it made reading an obligation rather than a pleasure. For me, anyway. So I tend to make the lists for the challenges, then ignore them completely!

Steph said...

Claire, I also came down with an end of the year cold, so I know how draining it can be. Today will very much be a "stay at home and be comfy" day, with the exception of a quick jaunt to the grocery store - 12 days away does nothing good to one's fridge! ;)

All of your resolutions make sense to me, and as you point out, aren't so extreme or counter what you normally do or like that they're unachievable. My own list had many similar thoughts!

anothercookiecrumbles said...

Glad you're feeling slightly better.

I like your resolutions - they're practical!! Good luck with them. I take the first to be a default, but am planning on doing two and three - specially three! Want to bring the unread books on my shelf down to about ten. A girl can dream, right:)

Best of luck, and hope you have a fantastic year of reading (and otherwise).

Kay said...

Precious kitty picture. Very smart resolutions. We should all read for ourselves. I think most of us stretched ourselves too far in the giddy fun of blogging and all it entails. Time to reign it in and enjoy reading for it's own sake. Take care!

JoAnn said...

Glad you're starting to feel better, Claire. Good luck with your resolutions...I share most of them.

Aarti said...

I am glad you are feeling better! Those seem like really good resolutions to me, and I'm trying to meet the same ones this year :-)

saveophelia said...

Cheers to feeling better. As I was reading your goals, I kept nodding my head in agreement. It sounds like you've got a great plan for 2010. (:

Cath said...

You've come to more or less the same conclusions as I have, although I will do a couple of challenges this year. So glad you're feeling better.

claire said...

My sentiments exactly! Good luck to us in reading more books than we acquire! Happy new year!

Book pusher said...

I'm with you on the goals, I decided to resist to many challenges for the same reasons and follow my reading whims.
Happy new year and may the year bring lots of fun reading adventure.

Jackie (Farm Lane Books) said...

Good luck with your resolutions!

I have joined very few challenges this year and those that I have are those that I actually want to do/would have done whether the challenge was there or not.

I'm also feeling a bit better today, but still sleeping a lot. I hope I'm better for Thursday - all this extra reading time has meant that I'll actually finish the book!

savidgereads said...

Great set of resolutions Claire I like them a lot. I have decided to be a bit hardcore this year (bar the ones for work), I think my booksih world has just gotten out of control!

You aren't going to leave book group because it means a deadline on a read though are you? I hope not!

Dot said...

These all sound like good ideas! I am going to try and wind my TBR pile down a lot as soon as I can and the aim is to read 100 books in 2010! Happy New Year!

Jodie said...

That sounds like a lovely day's occupation :) I think lots of people are moving away from challenges this year and trying to focus on what they want to read. I still have a few on the go, but they're often challenges that reflect what I want to read already.

Paperback Reader said...

Thanks, Ana, sensible, realistic and non-restrictive were my goals!

Verity, there's is no feasible way that I could keep up with my TBR without acquiring less books! Other people count their TBRs but it daunts me too much as I know there are hundreds (I am not exaggerating).

I'm looking forward to another year of blogging with you too and to seeing you this week.

Thanks, Kals :). I required a practical approach for myself.

Vivienne, I hate that feeling of reading as if it were school and really hope to avoid that this year.

Alison, I concur wholeheartedly. It was such a joy in a way to stop studying literature so that I could fully enjoy it and have the freedom to choose what to read.

Simon, sometimes the lists for challenges are the best part!

Steph, we arrived back after fourteen nights away and went straight to the supermarket to get it out of the way!

I've still to catch up with most people's resolutions but glad to hear that yours are also achievable; I don't want to restrict my enjoyment of books in any way as that's pointless.

anothercookie, enjoyment is a default but sometimes -when it feels like a chore- the enjoyment can dwindle some and I am avoiding that this year. I doubt that I will ever have only 10 books in my TBR! Mine is out of control.

Here's to great reading in 2010!

Paperback Reader said...

Kay, my sentiments exactly. I don't want to read books for reading or blogging's sake but to experience exceptional literature, which is why I am going to be reading for myself this year.

JoAnn, good luck with yours in return!
I'm hoping to catch up on others' posts tomorrow.

Aarti, good luck! We're being practical which can only enrich our reading and enjoyment :).

Lena, thanks! Here's hoping it is a plan that succeeds...

Cath, I will participate in a handful of challenges but more those that I would have read for anyway along my own path. I just don't want to feel pressured by too many deadlines.

Claire, may we have a wonderful engaging and enriching year of reading mostly our own pre-existing books!

Book Pusher, I hope that we enjoy our year of whimsical reading!

Jackie, I'm the same - the two challenges that I have so far joined were done so before November and will be ones that I would have read for anyway.

Here's to us both being fully recovered for Thursday!

Simon, hardcore is good but I know myself and imposing rules just doesn't work! Hee. I need to be lenient on myself.

Don't fret; there's no chance of my leaving book group! I just don't want to be reading to a schedule but will allow for my two book group books a month.

Dot, happy new year and may you achieve your reading goals!

Jodie, I am all for the challenges that reflect what I want to read anyway. Other challenges last year, although great, guided me away from books I am desperate to read so this year I need to read those before I can fully enjoy random reading and discoveries.

Darlene said...

There certainly is a fine line between reading for enjoyment and a tbr pile that causes anxiety. You have a very sensible plan to manage that Claire.

I also shared your thought of the holidays being a time to talk and laugh with others over reading alone.

Jenny said...

Glad you're feeling better! I'm joining the most challenges this year I've ever joined (still only four), and I'm curious whether I will end up feeling trapped, or pleased that the challenges are making me get around to books I might not normally read. Enjoy your free reading! :)

Paperback Reader said...

Darlene, it's a line that I don't want to cross again; lots of books should not make us anxious!

Christmas is about family and friends and, yes, it's great to curl up with a good book too but it wasn't my priority this holiday.

Jenny, I love that challenges open me up to books that I may not have read otherwise but I don't want my reading year to be limited to great discoveries, meaning that I don't read the books way up there on the top of my TBR. For me it's about striking a balance but also being liberated enough that I can read something on a whim.

Rebecca Reid said...

Great goals! I think everyone just about is saying the same thing about making sure 2010 is about enjoying reading more!

Paperback Reader said...

I'm glad I'm not alone in feeling the need to reassert my goal of enjoying reading at the utmost, Rebecca! It is the fundamental reason that we read, after all, and should never be adversely affected but augmented by great books and reading freedom (or lots of challenges, as other bloggers enjoy the pressure more!)

chasingbawa said...

I so with you on the resolutions! I started blogging 6 months ago so got carried away with all the challenges I found towards the end of the year and am already feeling the pressure... reading is supposed to about pleasure, after all. So I keep reminding myself that I should pick books that I want to read and if it fits in with a challenge, then it's a bonus!

Hope your wrist is better!

Paperback Reader said...

Sakura, exactly my thoughts! Challenges are fun but not to the detriment of my reading pleasure and if my reading happens to fit in with the challenges then more's the better! I already feel so liberated although somewhat without focus...

I think it is going to be a few days until my wrist feels remotely better! Ouch. Thanks though.