While it is, in fact, completely okay to not make resolutions or goals or whatever those things are called these days, there are definitely things we know we need to change about ourselves no matter the time of year.
As life would have it, I thought of these four bookish habits around New Year’s. It was only natural, right? In today’s companion post to A Reasonable Reading Goal for 2022 and The No Buy Challenge, I’ll discuss a few habits I’d like to either break or create in 2022.
Break: I Don’t Have To Finish Books I Do Not Like
You know that one book in your ereader lineup that’s sitting at four percent because you really don’t like it? Guess what – you don’t have to finish it. And trust me, I know what points you’re going to argue here:
“The author put a LOT of work into writing this story. How can I just ignore that?” How do you know it was them? What if it was a ghostwriter or lazily written or any number of things? Am I a pessimist when it comes to my reading habits? Am I a bit too critical? Perhaps, but hear me out.
I’ve played that very scenario out every time I find myself saving a bunch of books in my Kindle app because I didn’t like something about them straight away. Sometimes it’s the author’s writing style. Sometimes, if it’s historical fiction, the historical is far too modernized. And sometimes it’s characters so unlikable there’s no way I could bring myself to care what happened to them.
Think of it this way: you’re giving each and every book you pick up hours of your time. Why stick around for a story that doesn’t bring you all that you love in a story? Shelve it and move on. I need this reminder as much as the next reader, so go find books you love!
Create: A Curated Book Collection I Love
I don’t know if this is a Libra thing or not (I’m not “in tune” with all that knowledge), but I’m getting tired of buying “all the books” and making the time to actually read. Only to donate or sell somewhere.
This is a “goal” I have actually been working towards these past two years. As much as I’d love to own a giant library with floor to ceiling filled bookshelves, the practical side of me has always won this mental argument.
In an era where every red cent earned is incredibly important, I’m definitely going to be super picky with what I choose to bring into my collection. Be it fiction or non-fiction (if I choose to purchase a book at all with this No Buy Year I’m trying), it will have to be purchased with a purpose in mind.
Break: Speed Reading
It all circles back to a feeling of being inferior in the book and writing communities. With all these online contests to get noticed for publication, or “How many books can you read in a week?” TikToks, or rushing to buy the newest releases. I think this one is rather self explanatory, but I’ll touch more upon it with the last
Create: Better Reading Comprehension
In an effort to create for myself better reading comprehension, it’s time to slow things down when it comes to breezing through books. What is it that encourages me to speed read? I can say, for certain, that I really wanted to get ahead of everybody else on 2021’s reading goals. What it, in fact, did was give me more stress than what was necessary.
So unless you’re part of a book club or reading group where you have more of a “deadline” to finish reading a book for discussion, all I can say is take. your. time. Otherwise, you’ll have only yourself to blame when you sped through a tale you didn’t like, or missed an entire section because you got bored. And that, my friends, circles back to the first bookish habit I’d like to break.
As you can see, all these habits are quite circular in nature. Each one affects the other, be it a good habit or a bad one. For the longest time I tried to be a true “book blogger,” but I do believe I fell into the bad habits just so I could pump out blog post after blog post.
Does that sound like you? Then perhaps it’s time to take a look at your own reading habits and slow down. Just because the world moves at a breakneck speed doesn’t mean you have to as well. Contrarily, of course, if you’re able to speed read and comprehend everything like that Dylan kid from the Halloweentown films, then by all means continue on.
Happy reading, book community! Don’t forget to stop and, well, smell the roses every once in a while. The books will still be there when you get back.