As 2017 draws to a close, we’re feeling reflective about the year that was…and excited about the year to come. If you’re making New Year’s resolutions for 2018, don’t just focus on the usual suspects—exercise every day, learn a new language, be nicer to your sister-in-law. Make a few New Year’s reading resolutions while you’re at it! Because even avid readers need to shake things up every once in a while. To help you get started, Bas Bleu’s editors came up with a list of eighteen “reading resolutions” to try out in 2018. They’re only suggestions, and you already may practice some (or all!) of them. Whatever you’re reading…keep it up!
1. Read a book from your favorite genre but from a different country or culture. Love family sagas? Try one set in Africa. Love murder mysteries? Read one set in Japan.
2. Read a book written by an author who died in 2017.
3. Reread a “required” book you remember disliking in high school or college; do you have a different take on it as an adult?
4. Ask your local librarian for a list of his or her favorite books. Read one from the list you haven’t read before.
5. Read in “book award” order: Read books of your choosing, but read “in order” of the categories of a major literary award. For example, if you read in National Book Award order, read one fiction title, one nonfiction title, one poetry title, and one “young people” title. Pulitzer Prize order is: fiction, drama, history, biography/autobiography, poetry, and general nonfiction.
6. Read a graphic novel or a series of comic books. How does the format affect your engagement with the story?
7. Read a book in translation.
8. Read a political publication by someone with political beliefs you disagree with.
9. Select a writer whose work you admire (or think you would admire) and endeavor to read his or her entire canon. For example, do you love Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 or Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale? Then tackle the rest of Bradbury or Atwood’s books and stories.
10. Read a “scandalous” book. Heart-pounding romances count, but so do books that caused an uproar when they were published, due to how they challenged existing social, religious, political, or sexual mores of the time.
11. Commit to reading poetry. Never read it? Start this year. Already read it? Read more.
12. Select a book that you and another reader in your life—your spouse, a coworker, your neighbor, your daughter—can read at the same time. After you both finish, schedule a time to get together and have a mini book-club meeting. (Bonus points if your book discussion reveals something new about the other person.)
13. Read a book from a genre you take pains to avoid. Better yet, ask for recommendations from a librarian, friend, or coworker who you know does enjoy the genre.
14. Seek out holiday-themed books to read throughout the year: a civil-rights epic for MLK Day, a romance (or anti-romance!) for Valentine’s Day, fiction or nonfiction devoted to the American Revolution for Independence Day…
15. Read a novel in your favorite genre, but by an author who isn’t considered “mainstream” for that field: a historical romance written by a man, a young adult novel written by an LGBTQ author, a contemporary mystery by a writer of color…
16. Read a book written by a local author. Better yet, attend a book signing by a local author and buy a signed copy from them.
17. Read a book recommended by someone you struggle to get along with or struggle to understand, such as an abrasive coworker, a moody teenage grandson or niece, or an overbearing in-law.
18. Read that venerated classic you’ve spent years pretending you already read.
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