New Year’s Resolution #23: READ BETTER
by Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library
I know that this time of year is all about looking forward. Believe me that I am as vulnerable as anyone to the sense of optimism a new year brings. THIS will be the year I finally start meditating regularly, eating a plant based diet, and decluttering that back bedroom into which no one is allowed.
I’m not knocking resolutions. I love that as a species we are so relentlessly hopeful that we keep striving toward ideals that elude us year after year after year. That said, as I sit typing this in my “workout” clothes (that haven’t seen the inside of a gym in months), I’m also a big fan of small, incremental changes that will yield big results.
There are a lot of people in my world who make reading resolutions. Several of us use Goodreads to track what books we read. I have friends and colleagues who routinely read over 100 books a year. As a naturally competitive person, I often lament that I cannot read faster, that I have to work, that I like Netflix. At times I’ve found myself avoiding extra-long books because I fear they will hinder my yearly total (is that TOO much insight into my neuroses?). For example, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is a book that has been on my radar for almost four years, but it’s 832 pages. I know this is ridiculous, and yet…
So my reading resolution is to read better—to be more thoughtful about what I read, to care more about quality rather than quantity, to slow down and jot down some quotes along the way. I still want to read more, but not because I want to reach a goal. I want to create more time for reading because it is infinitely more rewarding that scrolling through my phone (although if you have a video of a goat in a sweater, please send my way ASAP) or watching just one more episode of Schitt’s Creek. One of my current practices is to listen to more books while I’m walking the dog, and audiobooks count as reading (if you don’t believe me, ask the Journal of Neuroscience).
Finally, I want to read better, because I want to be better. I firmly believe that reading makes us better humans. And really, what could be a more important resolution right now than being a kinder, more connected, and empathetic human being. If you’d still like some guidance to motivate you to read more in 2020, I highly recommend Modern Mrs. Darcy’s reading challenge. It’s manageable, flexible, and, dare I say it, so pretty. I mean, there’s a printable reading journal, friends! I’m wishing us all a very happy, healthy year of better reading in 2020.