Ways To Challenge Your Bookish Self In The New Year

Maybe your New Year’s Resolution for 2012 is to read more? Or maybe it’s just to read a book in general. YAY YOU! If you are already a voracious reader, here’s a few ways I’m going to challenge you this year…

- Read Outside Your Normal Realm of Reading: If you only read YA paranormal, try a YA contemporary or a historical fiction. If you never read adult novels, give one a try. Read a classic! Try a YA book if you’ve always scoffed at being an adult reading teen books. It spices up your reading life so much to try new things that you’ve never read before. This year I’m going to try to read more fantasy and maybe a romance novel. I find that when I read something vastly different than what I’m used to, I either find something new that I like or just learn to appreciate the things I like to read even more. I’d be HAPPY to give recommendations since I read pretty much anything. THERE ARE SOOO MANY NEW THINGS TO DISCOVER!! I’m not telling you to stop reading what you KNOW you love…but there is such a place for venturing out and trying new things! I promise! Variety is the spice of life, *insert more cliche things about variety and trying new things* Follow a blog that covers different books than you do!

- Try an audiobook: I never thought I’d enjoy them but let me tell you…I am no longer a raging bitch during my commute anymore. Ask around for good recommendations. I’ve never been steered wrong when I ask people what are good audiobooks! If you think you can’t concentrate on an audiobook, try something that is a reread for you.

- Don’t be afraid to pick up that 400+ book: I know huge books can be daunting. I’ve been staring at my bookshelf wanting to pick up a few HUGE books but I’ve been too focused on the NUMBER of books I read rather than the page count. I’ve been such a slave to my blog because I’ve wanted to read books more quickly that I don’t pick up those HUGE books that I know will take me longer to read. This year I vow to let myself read these long books and not worry about the fact I could have 3 books read and reviewed in the time it takes me to read a longer one. Which leads me to my next one…

- Allow yourself to savor what you are reading: It seems that ever since I started blogging I also started being really aware of how long it takes me to read a book. I keep trying to read faster so that I can get more books read for my blog (and my final books read  count for the year–which I have begun to NOT tally up this year and it feels so FREEING!). This year I’m going to allow myself to really savor some books. It’s like food…sometimes you need to just savor all the tastes and really enjoy a meal rather than devouring it….to really appreciate it.

- Read with a group: Whether it’s a real life book club, an online book club, a group read-a-long or just a few friends…read a book in a group! It’s amazing the discussion and the new understandings that come from a group read. Plus it’s way more fun to have people to be reading the same thing as you so you can freak out about something or mourn the death of a character knowing that someone is experiencing it right along with you. It also really helps to continue to make reading a social activity.

- Re-read more often: Along with savoring your books, I think re-reading also helps you to enjoy great books that you read. I always learn something new when I reread or sometimes I’ve grown up since I’ve read a book and relate a little more to it.

- Don’t be a slave to new releases: I’ve found myself abandoning all the backlist books for all the new, shiny books. As a book reviewer I know it’s important to highlight what is new and upcoming but it’s also important to take some time to read “older” books. 

- Write your own blogging manifesto. This is more blog related but writing my blogging manifesto really helped me in my blogging/reading life. 

My specific goals for 2012:

- Reading more books from my shelf. I’ve neglected them for packages of shiny, new ARCS so this year my ratio of “old” vs. “new” needs to be a little more split.

- Re-reading at least 5 books. My Re-Readathon this year was a good start so I’m hoping to read more beloved books or books that I think I can get more out of a second time around.

- Getting back to being an eclectic blogger/reader. I’ve always read a little bit of everything but this year seems that it was the year of YA for me…which was GREAT. I found some amazing young adult books but towards the end of the year I started to get burnt out on them and really craved some good adult novels and some non-fiction. This year is going to be a year of balance for me. I’d love to help other readers see the beauty of reading a little more eclectically from time to time.

- Try reading fantasy and romance. I’ve avoided these genres for a while.

- Find or start a book club in the Philadelphia area.

- Reading the 2 lengthiest books on my shelf.

I’m hoping that writing them down here will keep me accountable. It seemed to help last year with my bookish resolutions

What are some of your bookish resolutions or reading goals?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. Great suggestions. I did a goodreads challenge this year of 50 books – almost made it, but fell short. Guess that's a bit of a reach for my grad school self. This year I hope to branch out into YA a little more, and maybe a long non-fiction history book. We'll see. Happy new year!

  2. Great advice! I learned to love audiobooks this year as well as dystopian (which was out of my comfort zone). I agree with you about feeling the pressure to read faster. This year I did tend to avoid those "chunksters" because I didn't want it to slow me down, but I think I will be pulling those off the shelf this year. I also felt a bit over saturated with YA and have been craving some great adult reads. Good luck with your goals! Happy 2012!

  3. Miss Anderson says:

    Well said! I think I need to read a little more outside of my comfort zone, trying things I normally don't (YA paranormal, for one). And audio books are my life with my 45 minute commute! I don't know what I'd do without them!

  4. Jessica — I always feel bad about my goodreads challenge haha. I never seem to make it either. I'd say even be able to get close to 50 during grad school is awesome..so YAY YOU! I'd be happy to give any YA recs you might want! :) I defintely am going to try to read some more history non-fiction. I read Between Shades of Gray (a great YA historical fiction) and it really made me want to explore some non-fiction books about Stalin's reign.

    Somer — I definitely got into dystopian this year too and loved it! I had only really ever read one or two books from that genre before. Here's to hoping we read some more chunky books this year! I think maybe a readalong or a group read would be good for the chunky books.

    Miss Anderson — Doesn't it make your commute so much better?! I was sooo miserable before. I definitely read outside my comfort zone in 2011 in terms of paranormal (I thought I HATED IT!). While it's still not my go-to genre, I found I really do enjoy it..I'm just more picky! I'd be happy to give recs!

  5. Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick says:

    Some wonderful advice, especially as it pertains to the audiobook. I really fell in love with them in 2011, and they really do help to make sure I'm not some mad and crazed person behind the wheel stuck in traffic. I rather enjoy traffic jams when I have a wonderful audiobook now, surprisingly. I'm looking forward to downloading another one today and I'm not sure which one to nab!

  6. I've been following your blog all year and just wanted to say how much I adore it! I'm not a huge YA reader (the only YA novel I read this year was Hunger Games), but I love your enthusiasm and honesty. Thanks to your post, I feel ready to challenge myself this year! keep it up. :)

  7. These are great suggestions! I for one am definitely make an effort to try more audiobooks, even if I am sticking to the ones I've read as books (because let's be honest, my attention wanders). And I think it's great that you are making an effort to be eclectic. There were times in 2011 when I knew I should be reading a review book, but would pick up something that was an adult book or fantasy book because I just had a craving. I think reading in a variety of genres stops me from getting tired of any one genre.

    Excellent luck with all of your goals, Jamie! I can't wait o see everything you'll be sharing with us in 2012.

  8. Natalie– It's so true! I used to dread my commute but now, while I wish i didn't have to do it, I don't mind it as much! The last two audiobooks that I read were Between Shades of Gray (AMAZING!) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson which was funny.

    Jillian — Your comment just made my DAY! what a great comment for my first post of 2012. :)THANK YOU!! Hopefully I'll be getting back to my eclectic reading self so there will be more reviews that pique your interest! :)

  9. Steph @ The Caffeinated Reader says:

    I love audiobooks so much these days. The Help is my "comfort" audiobook. I love the cast and listen to it to fall asleep. I'm listening to When She Woke right now, which dedinitely isn't a comfort book but is an absolutely fantastic dystopian.

    These are all great resolutions. I've noticed lately that I haven't been savoring books as often, amd that needs to stop. My main goal, though, is to be more consistent with blogging. It's hard when you're in a tough medical graduate school program, but I think I just need to be more organized!

    I hope you have a fantastic 2012! I love reading your posts :)

  10. This is a fabulous list.

  11. These are all really great resolutions and you make great points about reading habits.

    I love reading different types of books. After all, if you read too much of the same it is so easy to get burned out.

    And there are definitely a few chunskters on my shelf I have been avoiding because I worry that once I start them, I will never finish them. It is time to throw that fear out the window and dig in.

    I know a lot of people who get a lot out of the book clubs that they are in. I have been talking about starting one for ages. Maybe this year will be the year that I make it happen.

    Thanks for reminding me of some of my former reading goals.

    Best of luck to you in 2012!

  12. These are all good recommendation and goals. I need to work on the "savoring" one. Have a great new year!

  13. Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) says:

    you are so precious.

    i hope you delve into the realm of fantasy. it got me through this year. i had a tough year. i read to escape at times, and i did it with fantasy. i found that I LOVE IT!!! so yay for that!

    also completely agree on the audiobook comment you made, and i find that while i will listen to unread books, i think i almost prefer audioing books that i've already read in print. i'm not really sure why, but i just do. one excellent one: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. not sure why that one just popped into my head just now, but the version i heard is narrated by Neil himself, which is of course super duper fantastic. and if you haven't read the printed version, you should because it is illustrated and a Newbery winner, two things that Asheley loves. i myself am starting The Night Circus audio TOMORROW (HOLLA!!!) and i couldn't be more excited as this was my favorite book of 2011. also it is narrated by Jim Dale and i don't even think that requires any further comment.

    i love eclectic readers, and i think this year i have gotten a little out of that with the start of my blog, just because the YA ARC's are more readily available. so i too vow to get back to my loves of adult fiction and middle grade (and yes, some nonfiction) so i can prove to people that i am indeed an eclectic reader.

    reading socially is the best thing ever. let's try it sometime.

    really, more than anything, there is nothing better than talking with someone about a book that you love. so i'm just so thankful to be a part of this book blogging community and thankful to have found people that GET me. my IRL friends are great but they aren't really all that bookish. so this community is great and so are YOU Jamie!!!

    as always, i ADORE your thoughts as well as YOU!!

    here's to a great 2012 and a ton of great books!!!

    xoxo

  14. I love all of this.

    I'm finally giving Jane Austen a go and reading all of her books this month. It should get me out of my comfort zone. I feel you on the big books. I plan to knock out 1Q84 and Infinite Jest this year.

  15. I need to work on that savoring one. I'm like you, I get too stressed about how long it's taking me to finish!! Great list. Lots to think about.

  16. One of the great things about blogging is that it widened my reading horizons. I get review requests out of my usual genres, and I've found some great stuff! (It's amazing how good smut is. I never knew)
    I'm using my Mount TBR challenge to clear out all those series I've been stockpiling. You know the ones, where I'm already 10 books behind.

  17. wordsandpeace.com says:

    I plan to read 52 books connected to 52 different countries, and do 22 more challenges! see here at the end of my 2011 recap: http://wordsandpeace.com/2011/12/30/year-of-reading-2011/

  18. hillary roberts says:

    I read out of my comfort zone in 2011. I was one of those adults who scoffed at reading YA but come to find I LOVE them. I will continue to read outside of my comfort zone.

  19. April (BooksandWine) says:

    I need to increase my ratio of owned to review copy as well.

    And yes yes yes for audiobooks and reading outside of the comfort zone. And yayayayayay for trying romance. Dude read Bet Me by Jennifer Cruise. You will like it I bet.

    Also Yay for fantasy.

    And yay for chunksters.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR'S JAMIE!

  20. I love love love this. Especially the advice to savor books! The other day I was racing through something, checking how many pages left, because I felt like I needed to be done with the book. I had to stop myself and remember that I was reading for FUN, not just to check something off my list. These are great suggestions. Good luck with your goals this year!

  21. Chrystal @ Snowdrop Dreams of Books says:

    Great advice. I made a list too so that I can stick to a plan this year instead of feeling like I let myself down with un-stated ideals.

    Good luck to you this year and Happy 2012!

  22. I love the idea of reading the two lengthiest books on your shelf! I, too, often shy away from longer reads for the same reasons you mentioned. I may adopt this strategy ;)

  23. the Vintage Bookworm says:

    Great list and great advice! I still need to write up my blog resolutions. I think I will put a list up on my blog somewhere so it will make it more real. So then I can cross it off if I feel I've accomplished it. =D

  24. Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy says:

    Jamie, I love your list. If I can be so bold, you can kill 2 birds with one stone and read "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss, which is fantasy and veeeerrrry long. Happy New Year!

  25. Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy says:

    Jamie, I love your list. If I can be so bold, you can kill 2 birds with one stone and read "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss, which is fantasy and veeeerrrry long. Happy New Year!

  26. I am trying to read a variety also. I feel like my only interest now is YA when before it was mostly adult. I'm going to try to read one adult book to every YA book I read and try to get through my massive books. I'm not usually overwhelmed by big books, but there's some sitting on my shelf I want to read badly but have been putting off because of there size.

  27. Thanks for the advice! I totally agree with most of them. This year I want to focus on classics, but I'll make sure to read something different every once in a while so I don't get burned out. There are a few YA I've been meaning to read, especially because I never read YA before and curiosity is getting the best of me :D
    A romance recommendation: Birthright, by Nora Roberts. A fabulous story with a well though-out plot, loveable characters and the perfect blend of romance and suspense.

  28. Michelle Shannon says:

    I hear you on the 400+ books and on re-reads. I've been avoiding them for a while now too because of the self-imposed pressure to read review copies or the latest and greatest. I like re-reading books, and I like big books. I really need to get back to that.

    Good luck with your goals!

  29. I've been avoiding longer books for awhile not too. When I do read big books, I generally pick it up for a few pages, then set it back down and read something quick. It takes me forever to get through them, but doing so keeps me from being burned out.

  30. Melissa (Avid Reader) says:

    Great ideas. I'm all about the audiobooks and I'm trying to make rereading a priority this year!

  31. TheBookGirl says:

    I'm with you on the read more from my shelves than I did last year. I've made a promise to myself to read 26 books that I owned prior to 1-1-12 that I am willing to part with.

    good luck on your resolutions :)

  32. I love re-reading… Seriously have reread the Harry Potter series 4 or 5 times. Still can’t believe that you haven’t read that one! :)

  33. I always try to read a variety of genres but I don’t read much classics or non fiction so I’d definitely try to do that this year. I’m afraid I’ll get easily distracted from audiobooks but I really want to try Tina Fey’s Bossypants, it seems very entertaining.

    Due to my large TBR pile and this need to purchase new books I always end up trying to read too many books at a time or hurry a book up, it’s not a good habit but hopefully I can try to take things slower this year. These are great tips, thank you for sharing.

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