Reading in the New Year
By Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library
On the first Monday of 2019, on the same evening that a College Football Playoff game aired, almost 180 people showed up for an event at the Hardesty Regional Library simply billed as a “book club party.” As people began congregating in a line at the meeting room door, my fellow organizers and I looked at each other in astonishment, having planned for 50-60 people at best. Readers are often surprising creatures.
The idea behind our nerdy fête was to bring together members of the library’s various book clubs as well as people looking for a club to join. I spoke with so many people who were looking for a way to read more, read more widely, and connect with others. The Tulsa City-County Library hosts sixteen book clubs throughout the county. All are free and require no registration to attend. You can commit to one group or hop from one to another based on your interests and availability.
If you’re looking to up your reading game in 2019, you have several options. Here are a few ideas for getting the most from your reading life in 2019.
Join (or start) a book club
My reading has been deeply enriched through discussions with others. The right group can broaden your reading interests and help you discover authors and genres you otherwise would not. A great conversation may even change your mind about a book, causing you to rethink your original assumptions.
Attend author events
Tulsa has such a wealth of literary events—most of which are completely free to attend, thanks to the vision of organizations like the Tulsa Literary Coalition, Center for Poets and Writers, and Tulsa City-County Library. We have the opportunity to meet nationally-recognized and critically-acclaimed authors almost on a weekly basis. And while it’s always tempting to put on your pajamas and stuff your face with tacos after work, attending a few of these events will deepen your appreciation for the written word. Subscribe to Magic City Book’s newsletter or Tulsa City-County Library’s Author and Book Events newsletter to stay connected.
Try a Reading Challenge
There are several online challenges to keep you focused on reading this year. I’ve been a Goodreads user since 2008, but have only been doing the reading challenge for the last three. You simply set the number of books or pages that you want to read and start logging.
If you’re looking for ways to expand your reading selections, try Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge. In its fifth year, the Read Harder challenge encourages readers to “pick up passed-over books, try out new genres, and choose titles from a wider range of voices and perspectives.”
Another challenge I really like is from Modern Mrs. Darcy, aka Anne Bogel. MMD’s approach is simple and straightforward: 1) Choose amazing books and 2) Track your reading. Bogel’s blog provides suggestions throughout the year to help you complete the challenge. Bogel has been blogging since 2010 and is the author of the recently published I’d Rather be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life.
There are so many ways to jump-start your reading, perhaps the best one being to read what you like. Book maven and librarian superhero Nancy Pearl gives us all permission to quit a book assuming we’ve given it an adequate chance. Subtract your age from 100, and after that many pages of a book, if you’re not enthralled, put it aside. After all, life is too short, and our to-be-read lists are very, very long.
Happy New Year, and happy reading!