Beat Reader Rebellion with planning and organization
By: Tiffany Wincek, Account Specialist.
I wanted to read 50 books in 2017. I read 11. Eleven! That’s not even one book a month! For many, finishing 11 books in a year might be a great achievement, but it’s far below my typical average. Last January I wrote about resolving to read, yet I failed miserably at my own resolutions. Why? I think the answer is threefold:
- I went through some major Reader Rebellion. Have you ever experienced this? Avid readers inexplicably going weeks or months on end without picking up anything new? I want to attribute some of this to the amount of traveling I did last year, but honestly, I spent the bulk of my uninterrupted reading hours sitting next to strangers on airplanes, so that’s no excuse.
- I read some mammoth tomes last year, namely Stephen King’s It and Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind, but even if those two books had counted as at least three each, I still wouldn’t have met my goal.
- I didn’t plan. It had never occurred to me to plan what I wanted to read for an entire year. What if I didn’t feel like reading a book after I choose it? What if new books came out that weren’t on my list? What if I didn’t finish them all?
I’m determined not to make 2018 a repeat of last year, so I decided to tackle my “what ifs” and do what seemed unnatural: I planned an entire 2018 reading list. I made a new shelf on Goodreads, I tagged all the titles in Libby, and I even wrote a checklist in my planner. I’m the kind of person who has hundreds of books marked as “to read,” so it wasn’t difficult to create the list. I made three categories and planned to read one book from each category each month.
The first category includes classic children’s and young adult literature that I’ve somehow never read. Believe it or not, I finished Charlotte’s Web for the first time this week. I loved it, of course (though I do have some very strong feelings about Fern), and have no idea how I’d never yet read it or the other 11 tales on my list. Next up? Where the Red Fern Grows.
The second category includes classics or modern classics that I’ve also somehow skipped, a list that includes everything from Bronte and Wilde to Heller and Kesey. This is the part of my list that feels most like a chore, but they must be considered classics for a reason, right?
Modern recommended titles
The third category includes books (mostly) published in the last ten years that were recommended by friends. This is the list I’m most excited about, which explains why it quickly blossomed from 12 books to 32. I guess I’ll be needing to read at least four books a month, now! I’ve quickly finished Autoboyography and You and enjoyed both.
Mixing media to prevent boredom and fatigue
I’m hopeful that all my planning will do the trick. So far, so good: I’ve read six books since the beginning of January, and I’ll probably finish my seventh today. My number one strategy? As soon as I finish one book, I read the first chapter of the next. It’s the literary equivalent of the hair of the dog that bit you, and it seems to be working. Another trick is to have one audiobook, one eBook, and one print book going simultaneously. This way, I can tackle my reading goals almost wherever I go!
Did you keep your 2017 reading resolutions? What resolutions have you made for this year?
Browse blog and media articles
Public Library Training
K-12 Library Training