Midweek @ Musings: 2013 Reading Resolutions


Welcome to 2013 and what I hope will be another fine year of reading!  The last week of the year is always a busy blogging week, and this year has been no exception:  I have books I want to finish, there’s always a bit of blog maintenance and redecorating to be done, and then of course I need to publish a 2012 Year in Review post …  Well, that’s all done & dusted and we are now in a shiny new year, so let’s talk about what’s on tap for the next twelve months.

As I mulled over possible reading resolutions, I took a trip down memory lane to see what I “resolved” in earlier years.  I’ve come a long way from the hyper-planned, over-structured reading patterns of 2009-10.  These days I try to balance my reading across several categories of books, but leave room for books chosen “just for fun,” whether that’s due to my mood or a newly published book that everyone seems to be reading.  I like to assemble a little book stack at the beginning of each month, but I’m not bound to it, and I swapped books on & off my monthly stack several times last year.

In 2013 I want to stick with many of the same resolutions as 2012, with one twist in the form of a new personal project.  Here they are:

  1. I will read more books from my stacks than I acquire. I didn’t quite succeed in 2012, but I didn’t fail either.  I did, however, enjoy going over my stacks and pulling books that sound interesting at the moment.  Sometimes I found my reading tastes had changed since I acquired the book, but at other times I wondered why I hadn’t read the book sooner.  So let’s do that again, shall we?
  2. I will continue making progress on all reading projects, but especially the Booker Prize, Orange Prize, and Virago Modern Classics.  I don’t have quantitative goals, but will be reading books that catch my interest.
  3. I will continue to foster community with other book bloggers.  This includes reading events like Orange January/July and The Complete Booker, which I host, groups like The Classics Club, celebrations like Book Blogger Appreciation Week, and of course Rebecca from Love at First Book, my buddy from the Estella Society’s Book Blogging Buddy System.
  4. I will read more short stories.  This is my new personal project.  Not long ago, I was perusing my stacks and found nine short story collections, all completely untouched.  And I’m not even counting short stories published as Virago Modern Classics, or the 626-page volume of Elizabeth Taylor’s Complete Short Stories.  Honestly, I’m swimming in them.  And wouldn’t they make nice bedtime reading?  Well, that’s my plan anyway.  The nine collections are neatly stacked on my nightstand, and my plan is to dip into no more than one or two books at a time, perhaps one story each night before bed.  From time to time I’ll post about my short story reading, to review a completed book or talk about selected stories.  Here’s what I have to look forward to:

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  • The View from Castle Rock, by Alice Munro
  • The Progress of Love, by Alice Munro
  • At the Owl Woman Saloon, by Tess Gallagher
  • The Thing Around Your Neck, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Means of Escape, by Penelope Fitzgerald
  • A Chorus of Mushrooms, by Hiromi Goto
  • Mrs Somebody Somebody, by Tracy Winn
  • The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter
  • The Stories of Edith Wharton

So that’s it, and now we’re off and running!

Did you make any 2013 reading resolutions?

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20 thoughts on “Midweek @ Musings: 2013 Reading Resolutions

  1. Hi Laura, happy new year! Your reading goals look interesting and purposeful, but I’m sure they allow for serendipity too.
    I haven’t made any resolutions – not unless you count not getting involved in any more challenges until I finish off Read the Nobels and The Complete Booker! I have been doing a bit of catching up on the Read the Nobels site, but haven’t read a single Booker this year except for The Sense of an Ending. I’ll have to redress that this year or I’ll never get through them all, and I want to see if I can dig up some of the very old laureates as well. (I don’t think I’ll ever read the poets, no fun in translation IMO).
    I look forward to reading your posts about your various projects:)
    Cheers
    Lisa

    • Lisa, you’re always welcome over at The Complete Booker! I’m impressed with your reading the Nobels, I had to admit defeat on that one. :)

  2. Happy New Year! and Happy Reading!
    I like your short story idea. I liked the Munro Castle Rock book, but I often like short stories. I’ve got her Lives of Girls and Women to dip into, plus a Carol Shields collection as well. There are so many good books to pick from!
    I have similar goals: read my own books (there is a Read Our Own Tomes group at LT), a few reading challenges, and keep reading my mystery series that I love. I think I’ll also add keeping up with my blog as I veered close to abandoning it due to lack of posting several times this past year.

    • Raidergirl, I’m also woefully inadequate when it comes to CanLit — Munro can help me redress that wrong as well. I saw the ROOT group on LT but wasn’t sure I wanted to maintain another thread in addition to my 75 Books, Booker, and Orange threads not to mention the blog. But I’ll be reading my own tomes for sure!

  3. Happy New Year, Laura! Looks like you have scripted some great goals … I especially like your short story one :) I love collections of short stories and it seems that almost every year one of them makes its way onto my best of the year list! I hope you’ll find the same satisfaction in reading them.

    • Wendy! Nice to see you around here. I got all excited about short stories after reading both of Jhumpa Lahiri’s collections, but heaven knows why I haven’t read these books. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

  4. These are great! I like how you are trying to read more than you acquire! What a good way to regulate yourself to buying only what you REALLY want (unless you’re reading like crazy and then you can buy tons!). Also, I like the idea of working on those prize-winning lists. I didn’t even think of that as a resolution, but where I get my TBR book list from. I am reading all of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, Oprah’s Book Club, and Barnes and Nobles Discover New Writers (but only the ones I find interesting). To me, that’s just my list, but it’s a new way to think of it as another challenge that I put on myself.

    I think that you do need to make some headway with these short stories. We talked about that a little bit a while back. Setting a goal, like making them bedtime reading, lets you read other books and still read these short stories!

    Good luck and happy 2013!!

    • Rebecca, reading prize winners & nominees is something of a long-term project for me. I don’t want the commitment and deadlines associated with challenges, but I want to make steady progress. Making a “resolution” helps me to do that (oh, and so does the spreadsheet where I keep track … yeah I kind of geek out with my reading spreadsheet!).

      • Ok, so I agree with everything you said.

        I also have a spreadsheet, but only for 1001 Books You Must Read. Maybe I’ll have to add one for Oprah’s. I do have a checklist on my phone for that one, so I think I’m okay there.

        Also, that’s why one of my resolutions was to read MORE of those types of books, but not put a number on it. I don’t need that pressure when reading is supposed to be enjoyable!
        :)

  5. Happy New Year Laura. What great resolutions! Like you I am thinking I must read more from my stack of books this year. And I do have a lot of lovely short stories in there – Elizabeth Taylor for one, and also J.G. Ballard who I want to explore more of. Perhaps I should set myself a target of a story a week!

  6. Hooray Alice Munro! She is quite wonderful I think. (especially since I am now in Canada). Your new project to read more short story collections is commendable. Perhaps throw in Tim Winton’s collection The Turning and Raymond Carver’s Cathedral for good measure. cheers! & Happy 2013.

    http://www.thecuecard.com/

    • Thanks for the suggestions, swright. There are so many excellent short story collections out there. But first I need to make progress on the ones I already own (see resolution #1)!

  7. Okay, now for my more formal reply to your post. Love your resolutions. I find I’m doing something similar in that I’m continuing much from 2012. Still in the Classics Club. Still dedicated to reading the TBR piles and books that remained unread for years but making it more formal with the TBR Pile Challenge 2013. There’s a lot of crossover going on.

    I’m a huge fan of short story collections and essay anthologies. I’m continuing on with the Short Stories Challenge project and added the 2013 Essay Challenge. I also read quite a bit of nonfiction but don’t see much in the way of challenges. Of course, I take my challenges with a wink ’cause I don’t beat myself up if I don’t make it. They’re more like the rails laid down but I progress at my own speed. I read to make myself happy so even if I read one more book than planned it’s a good year. :)

    Happy New Year and happy reading!

    • Hi Vikki, thanks for stopping by. I love personal essays, too. Have you read Ann Fadiman’s Ex Libris? It’s one of those “books about books” which I just love, too.

  8. I love that your Book Blogger Buddy System matchup is working out so well 😊. You’ve got some excellent and reasonable goals here–good luck with them all!

  9. I want to read more from my own stacks this year as well. That’s the plan anyway. :-) I always set a goal to read more short stories and rarely do. I think I’m going to skip that this year. I wish you luck with all of your goals, Laura. And here’s to a great New Year!

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