celebratory book illuminations

New Year, New Boo-ks

Do you make resolutions? Me too! Do you sort of forget about them by the second week of January and figure that walking to and from the cupcake place near your house twice a week definitely counts as adequate exercise? Me too. This year, however, I’m getting serious about the only resolution that matters—apart from that whole “Be less judgmental” one that I make every year and proceed to break as soon as a Kardashian inevitably does something “newsworthy”—and THAT resolution is: Read more books!

I read ONE AND A HALF BOOKS last year. Is that embarrassing for someone who works in publishing? Hell yes. That would be an embarrassing number for anyone over the age of 3 and actually, almost every 3-year-old I know reads waaaay more books than that (although that’s because most of them are about 10 pages long and have lots of pictures).

What’s even more embarrassing is that I don’t even know what I was doing with the time I didn’t spend reading. Was I re-watching Tori’s VH1 Storytellers episode from 1998? Very possibly. Was I absent-mindedly scrolling through twee kitchenware on Modcloth that I had no intention of ever purchasing? Also possible. So how will I summon enough focus this year to ignore the siren call of videos of “Silent All These Years” that I’ve seen 98 times and cat-shaped mailboxes? I don’t know. But I’m starting out the year reading a book about Jim “Before I Brainwashed 1,000 People Into Drinking Poison, I Used to Go Door to Door Selling Spider Monkeys” Jones, and if that doesn’t portend a year of success in every endeavor I undertake, I don’t know what will.

Here are a few book-related things I resolve to actually do this year, rather than simply talking about doing them, which was pretty much my MO for all of 2018.

Read in a public place more often

Not only does your choice of book have the potential to make you appear smart—depending on what it is, I guess, but even if it’s something the New York Times would cluck its tongue at, it’s still better than what 99% of the other people in the coffee shop are doing, which is probably taking selfies or buying useless garbage on Amazon—but having a place to go to read actually makes you read more often, I find. The allure of a delicious cappuccino on a crisp fall day has always been enough to drag me out of the house and into a coffee shop to read, sometimes for an entire hour! (That happened mainly with the 33 ⅓ Tori book and Anais Nin’s “Cities of the Interior,” which I devoured in my 19th summer and which also made more than one barista come over and ask me if I was okay b/c of the tears streaming down my face. Have you read that book??? It’s extremely meaningful to girls who think vintage typewriters and Lucky Strikes are the pinnacles of manhood.) And tell me what beats reading on a park bench in late spring/early summer, when you BARELY need a jacket and are just thrilled to be alive because the rain has finally stopped its relentless assault after 9 long months. NOTHING.

Read a book a month

I was mulling over taking the Goodreads Challenge today and noticed that some of my friends are delusional enough to think that they’re going to read ONE HUNDRED books this year. Like my high school wardrobe and political ideology, I’m going with the very conservative estimate of TWELVE…which will hopefully not end up being a wildly exaggerated estimate. As of this writing, we are nine days into the new year and I am pleased to report that I’m nearly 150 pages into The Road to Jonestown, and already Jim Jones is talking about himself in the third person and gently urging his followers to think of him as their pal God, so I have no doubt that I’ll see this one through to the Flavor-Aid part. 🙁

Read books in genres that I wouldn’t normally read

As Emily knows, my preferred genre is sad with a dash of longing, and sometimes cults. So this year, I’m resolving to read more books that fall outside of my usual literary fiction tendencies, and even outside of my beloved—that can’t be the right word—cults. What might these books be?? I have no idea! I’m tempted to tape the NYT list to the wall, spin myself around a few times, and pin a tail on something, although what if that something is Girl, Wash Your Face??? (I kid. But I’m not reading that trash.)

So these are the best reading resolutions that I could come up with, AND ones that I can actually see myself sticking to, unlike the pie-in-the-sky “Go to the gym 3 times a week” or “Stop rolling your eyes every time someone says they “like all kinds of music.” (But seriously. If you are a person who says this, just start saying, “I don’t know that much about music, actually.” IT’S OKAY!) Wish me luck!!!

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