Book Riot’s 2018 Bookish Resolutions
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I think we can all agree 2017 was a difficult year. Fortunately, the new year is a time to set aside the garbage fire and attempt to start fresh. Imagine your best year and figure out how you can make it happen. Some people make resolutions like exercise more, drink less, and sleep eight hours a night. Here at Book Riot, our resolutions tend to take a more bookish bent. Here’s what some of us are shooting for in 2018. Let us know what your bookish goals and reading resolutions are in the comments!
In 2017 I resolved to read more deliberately: more diversely, more new books, more genres I didn’t naturally gravitate to. I…sort of stuck to this resolution. Honestly, I kind of forgot about it as a capital-R Resolution, but I definitely expanded my reading in 2017. For 2018 I’d like to write more about what I’ve read. I plan to write down favorite quotes and notes/reactions as I read, then write a short review once I’ve finished.
Leah Rachel von Essen
In 2017, I wanted to read more books, and I wanted to read diversely. That’s gone well without much effort on my part, just a slight change in the way I think when I choose what to read. I’ve definitely achieved my goals of reading at least 50% women and prioritizing authors of color, neurodiverse and mentally ill authors, and LGBTQA+ authors and stories. From now on that’s not going to be a goal of my reading, it’s going to be an expectation. It’s better for the world and growth of the book industry, and it has improved my reading life. In 2018, my reading goals will be a bit more specific. I want to finally read Proust. I haven’t decided about numbers yet—I might lower the number from 150 to 125 so I can invest my time in some longer works that need to be annotated. Also, I want to continue my goal of reading more feminist discourse and non-fiction on mental health and illness.
Looking back on my 2017 resolutions, I’ve done better than I thought I had. My main aim was to read more British books, and I have succeeded. In rounding up British publishing news every day, I’ve found out about some great books, and it’s been impossible to resist some of them. Of course, the other side of that shiny coin is I’ve failed miserably at my (admittedly half-hearted) attempt to read more backlist in 2017. So maybe my resolution for 2018 should be to read the 2017 books I’ve bought before I allow myself any new ones. I don’t think that’s going to go well, though—I’ve already pre-ordered at least three January books. Oops.
I’m not very good at strict resolutions, so mine tend to be more along the lines of “try harder.” I did, however, tell myself that I didn’t want to reach 2018 with any books that I purchased before 2016 on my TBR. Huge physical TBRs stress me out. And I just finished my last 2015 book over Thanksgiving weekend—woohoo! For my 2018 goal, I think I’ll keep this up with my 2016 purchases—the 2016 purchases will not be coming with me into 2019. I have also come to realize that my LGBT reading is super white, so getting more queer authors of color into my eyeballs is a definite!
My resolution for 2017 was to abandon all reading lists and just go where my mood sent me. That worked out well, but I did end up neglecting the many unread books in my house. So for 2018 I’m thinking of going in the opposite direction and sticking to books I already own. That will give me more than 150 books to choose from, which is more than enough for one year. This will mean reading lots of little-known classics, which I generally love. The downside is that my bookcases are heavy on books by white people, so I’ll need to think about how to work around that. I might make an exception for the Tournament of Books and maaaaaybe the Booker longlist. Or I may just abandon the whole idea by February. It would be nice to read those books, though. They look just as appealing as they did when I got them!
My 2017 reading resolution was to book-end my days. That is, to have the first and last thing I did each day be reading. I started off really strong, but over the course of the year I found myself shifting the rules slightly—listening to audiobooks or bookish podcasts during my morning shower. However, it had the desired effect and I have read seventeen more books than last year. I’m having a hard time deciding on a reading resolution for 2018, but given my new position as a Book Riot contributor I’m leaning towards completing the 2018 Read Harder Challenge.
2018 resolution? Read less in translation and more in Spanish. It’s been years since my language chops had a decent workout and in the current climate it seems more important than ever to prove that being a world citizen is still a priority for some of us. You don’t have to come to me. I’ll come to you.
In 2017, my reading resolution was to abandon my reading challenge. I didn’t want to be pressured into reading a certain number of books a year, so I set my reading challenge to one book. Sadly, after reading that one book, I wanted to try and go for more. While I exceeded my new reading goal of 25 books, I still ended up setting a goal for myself. My 2018 reading resolution is definitely different. Next year, I plan on reading through my TBR. I always buy these fascinating and interesting books and I never have time to read them. My TBR looks at me like sad puppies hoping I will read them. I get to them eventually, but it takes me years. Not anymore! I don’t want to just look at my books. I want to read them. So I’m going to spend the year catching up on my TBR and finding new and better ways to read books I’ve been wanting to read.
2017 was a big whomp whomp when it came to my Gilmore Girls reading challenge. The last book on the list took me a year and 9 months (meaning I began it in 2015). Now that I’m finally past that pesky Faulkner, I’d really like to plow through more of the list. I’ve been doing this challenge for 6 years so it feels really pathetic to say, but my goal in 2018 is to make through all of the books mentioned in season two. Wish me luck!
I decided to finally tackle Book Riot’s annual Read Harder challenge in 2017. I’ve got one book left to go—#4 Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author—and I’m planning on fulfilling that with Love in the Time of Cholera. I’m hoping to finish it before December 31st, but even if it takes a few extra days into the new year, I’m going to call this resolution a success. I was surprised to find that taking on this challenge was kind of unenjoyable for me; though I read a lot that I wouldn’t typically read, it often felt more like a chore. I ended up reading things that didn’t interest me just because it was a box to check off. Next year, I plan to be more conscious about my reading and mindful about including more diversity, but I think I’ll skip the Read Harder challenge. It’ll be fun to compare my list at the end of 2018 with the Read Harder challenge to see how many categories I met naturally.
I successfully diversified my reading quite a bit in 2017. Just over 25% of the books I read were by authors of color and 14% were by or about folks who identify as LGBT+. I noticed, however, that most of these books were by Americans. In 2018, I’d like to expand my reading further with more books by non-American authors. I’d also like to read more books in Spanish—I read the first three Harry Potter books in Spanish this past year while living in Spain, so in 2018 I’d like to read at least four en español.
In 2018 I would like to read more with a point, rather than just reading random books that are recommended by people I know. For example: I’d like to read more LGBT+ stories, more books written by POC, more books written by women, but with that being a conscious decision I make rather than just a random coincidence. I want to pick my next books based on the diversity—or lack thereof—of my last reads, especially because my GoodReads challenge this year went more than well, and there’s nothing really new for me to find there. I’m adding a few more books than the amount I read this year to my 2018’s GR challenge, but within a reasonable number, so that I can focus instead on the diversity reading.