Here are 18 bookish New Year’s Resolutions for book lovers everywhere. These resolutions will bring more books into your life, and make you a better reader with the best kind of bookish habits.
Beyond a general goal of “read more books,” what can we as bookworms do to improve our reading lives this year? Well, I’ve thought of a whole list of ideas!
I was waiting in a Pizza Hut last month. I’d placed an order en route, but then was way too early to collect it…and it was a busy night, so things were moving slowly. As a mother of small children, I snatch at any chance to get some reading time in. Yet there I was, waiting, with not a single book to fill the time! For shame!
Never leave the house without a book. No matter what. Even if you think you won’t have time to read it! Forgetting to do so that night was a painful reminder. I’ve been much better about it since then, I can assure you.
When I re-vowed never to leave a book behind, it made me ponder other bookish resolutions. These aren’t just goals for this one year, but ongoing practices every bookworm should embrace. Please add your own in the comments!
Bookish New Year’s Resolutions for Book Lovers
1. Never be without a book
Yes, those downtime minutes happen more often than you think! You can sneak in a good bit of reading time if you’re always prepared. And every once in awhile, you’ll find yourself in extreme situations where you gain hours of reading time. What if your car breaks down and you’re stuck in some nowhere mechanic shop while you await a fix? It’s okay; you’ll be reading.
2. Stop racking up library fines
I’m not sure this is possible, but it’s a goal I’ll keep trying to hit(: I’m all for supporting local libraries, but getting your account frozen for unpaid fines is not cool. Set up phone reminders if you need to…write the due dates in your planner…get those books read so you can get them returned on time!
3. Join a book club
Books are a wonderful way to spark community. If you need friends–or more specifically, friends who actually read–Google for ways to find a book club in your area. Of course, you can also start one with people you already know! And don’t forget online book groups, too, like our own forum(:
4. Read out of doors
On a pleasant day, it’s positively dreamy to read in the open air. Read a nautical novel while you lie on the beach, or take a short, not-heavy-in-your-bag classic when you visit the park. Trees make good reading spots, too…if you’re up in the branches, you’ll be less likely to be seen and interrupted, right?
5. Learn your librarians’ names
You see these people often…right? Make a more personal connection with your local library by learning the names of the people who work there. Ask them for book recommendations!
6. Finish each book you start (unless you abandoned it on purpose)
I believe you can gain value from any reading experience. However, I think it’s also fine to quit a book if you don’t like it–especially if you find it distasteful, if it hits your triggers, or it’s boring and not a great fit. So if you intentionally set a book aside, fine. But don’t leave books unfinished simply because you never got back to them or had to return them to the library. This can become a bad habit, and it will detract from your reading experience.
7. Explore more genres
Stretch yourself out of your reading comfort zones every now and then. You might be surprised to find new favourites! (Check out the book lists on this site for inspiration!)
8. Read the book before you watch the movie
The book is almost always better, right? You can preserve your experience of the story by encountering it first in print. You’ll be allowed to form your own impressions and pictures of characters and settings…something you might not be able to do if the movie’s images are already in your mind.
9. Always be ready with the next read
Get books in your queue so when you finish one you can jump into the next. This will keep your reading momentum going so you don’t fall into one of those dry spells (which tend to extend alarmingly if you’re not careful).
10. Declutter your bookshelves
Do this at least once a year! It may be painful the first time, but it’s a healthy practice for bookworms. Here’s how to get it done.
11. Write to authors you appreciate (And if they’re still alive, actually send your letter)
I doubt authors ever get tired of hearing thoughtful thank yous from their fans. Hunt down contact info for an author you love, and drop them a note! Handwritten letters are more rare these days, so if you can find an address, go that route. You never know when an author might write back! Also: what would you say to an author who’s passed away? Pretend they haven’t and write them a letter in your journal. It will help you feel connected to their work and give you new insights as you sort through what you loved about the book.
12. Save favourite quotes and passages in your commonplace book
When you’re reading, take those phrases and quotes that resonate with you and write them down! I explain commonplace books in #4 in this post.
13. Patronize local bookshops
I appreciate the ease and options of ordering books from Amazon, but it can’t beat the experience of wandering through a brick-and-mortar bookstore. I also love to visit bookstores when I’m traveling. The book I purchase reminds me of the trip!
14. Keep a record of all the books you finish
When you finish a book, make a note of the author, title, and month/year in your reading record. I keep mine in a Google doc. Over the years, you’ll refer to this list many times for personal use or to recommend books to a friend.
15. Give more books as gifts
A well-chosen book is a very personal gift. It will keep giving as the owner reads or shares it for years to come. Book gifts needn’t be only for birthdays or holidays; surprise a friend with a “just because” book to brighten any ordinary week.
16. Visit all the libraries in your county or library system
Take a bookish field trip to explore the other libraries in your area. Get lost browsing the stacks and finding a new book (or five) to take home.
17. Don’t look ahead!
Do you ever stop reading for the night, but then absently flip through the coming pages? Suddenly you’re sucked back into the story…but two chapters ahead…and you’re learning secrets of Things To Come that you really shouldn’t know yet! Don’t do it. Don’t read ahead, don’t skim, don’t flip. Keep the chronological experience in tact and let the author guide your journey the way they intended the story to unfold.
18. Read with others
Reading doesn’t always have to be a solo activity, does it? Take turns reading aloud with your significant other…read books to your children or the elderly…have a reading party with friends and take parts in a play or dialogue-heavy short story. It’s a good way to spark conversations and see how others react to a book.
What are your book-related resolutions this year?