A number of you lovely fellow book bloggers have been posting, alongside your year-end wrap-up posts, your intentions for your reading in 2012. I am interested to see what you intend. I applaud those of you with lists. I wonder at your resolve; will you really stick to them? I couldn’t! I mean, gosh knows I have lists – dream lists (see Books I Wish to Read) – but I don’t do a very good job of reading from those lists. Here, just for fun, let me see… of 139 books in 2011, it looks like 13 were on a list back in 2010. That’s from memory; call it an approximate 10% at best. Now of course I can blame my book review gig at Shelf Awareness for sending me pre-publication copies of lots of wonderful books that are not on any lists! (There’s a conceivable exception to this, if I were anticipating one still to come out, but that doesn’t seem to happen very often.) The other problem with clearing out my TBR lists/shelves is working in a library. New books come flooding through every day, and some – necessarily – tempt me. I also get to shop for and BUY new books for the library, and you can bet some of those tempt me! (If I’m not buying any tempting books I’m probably doing it wrong.) While these are good problems to have, and I read (or listen to) lots of wonderful books that come to me in these ways – from Shelf Awareness (SA), or through the library – I also wish I were making greater dents in my TBR list and shelves.
Does this form an Intention? I’m not sure. I’m not going to give up my SA gig; I enjoy it, and it brings me new and interesting books, which improves the library as well. And I can’t resist picking up new books that come through at work, either; this also improves the service I provide at the library, because it keeps me up to date and better able to answer questions about the newest releases. But those books on my list, and my shelves, are there because I want to read them, and I do regret seeing them languish there. I don’t see myself making significantly more time to read in 2012 than I did in 2011; discovering audiobooks has allowed me to “read” during my daily commute, while running errands, and while working out in the gym and walking, and I already read during enough of my free time that Husband has been known to complain. Also, 2011 was an epic year for injuries for me, finally culminating in knee surgery, and keeping me off the bike for an entirely undesirable amount of time; if my riding & racing career goes the way I’d like it to in 2012, I will actually be doing less reading, not more! (I know!)
So will anything really change? I’d like to make some improvement in the backlog on my TBR list/shelves. Part of that improvement can come through weeding – as I’ve done before. If it’s been on my list for a few years and I’ve forgotten why I was interested, I can let it fade back off again. I’m also getting more and more comfortable with putting down a book I’m not enjoying. I like to tell my library patrons that there are too many amazing wonderful books in the world to waste our precious reading time on those that do not impress us! (I do try and stick with Nancy Pearl’s Rule of 50 in most cases.) And I’ll try to be a little more selective about the books I collect that then build up on my shelves at home…
I think I can expect to make some small improvement in 2012 at reading more books that I have intended and planned to read. It’s all about being selective. I have lists of books I’d like to find, and I have shelves of books that I’ve physically collected, and I have audiobooks downloaded onto my iPod awaiting my attention. I think I can make a vague commitment to choose from these as much as possible, where my schedule of reviews for SA allows. I can do that.
I have no resolutions to read more or less in various genres, in nonfiction, or in classics. I do aspire to read a respectable proportion of nonfiction, and of classics, but I don’t necessarily have a number or percentage goal, and I wasn’t too unhappy with my numbers last year. All I really want to do is read more books I meant to read – but I’m okay with the rest of them, too. New releases will continue to interest me and that’s okay; and it’s certainly more than okay for SA to continue to ship me galleys!
If it seems I’m lacking in significant resolutions, please don’t judge me. For one thing, I have made some non-bookish resolutions, regarding competitive mountain bike racing; saving money; and my home life with the loving Husband and two little dogs. It’s not that my reading life couldn’t be improved upon; it’s more that it’s not an area I want to go messing around with. I find my reading fairly satisfactory as it is, and I don’t want it to be a place of highly structured self-improvement. I want it to continue to be a place of recreation, fun, joy, learning, and relaxation. So that’s my reading intention for the new year: to enjoy reading, and to record it here.