With New Year’s Resolutions flying all over the place and articles everywhere telling you the best ways to keep them (and plenty of gloomy ones reminding us that very few are ever actually kept), we at the Information Store decided to make our own Reading Resolutions. They are largely inspired by the Reading Resolutions put together on the World Book Night blog in 2013 (see our post from 2013 on how we did at keeping them!) and we also made up some of our own.
If you decide to join us in making this a new year of reading differently, here are some suggestions from staff members at the Information Store:
“Last year was just terrible for reading for me. There are so many great books I want to try, but finding the time was difficult. This year I’ve resolved to try and read more, and I’ve set myself goals that are a bit of a challenge.”
We all have busy lives, and so often we don’t have the chance to make time for reading. Some of us have challenged ourselves on Goodreads to read a certain number of books this year – from two per month to one per week! Making a resolution even to read a few books this year can make a big difference in your life, as studies show that even 6 minutes of reading every day can significantly reduce your stress levels. Commit to making time for reading this year at Just 6 Minutes.
Read something different
“I want to try and spread out my reading, fiction and none fiction, different genres like romance, mystery and science fiction as opposed to fantasy all the time.”
“My reading resolution is to try to resort less to my ‘comfort reads’, i.e. easy, escapist fiction, when I’m feeling tired or otherwise ‘not in the mood’ to challenge myself. Then I might not end up neglecting all the more challenging books I think I ‘should’ read (and want to read!).”
It can be easy to slip into reading the same kinds of books all the time, but there are so many great reads out there just waiting for you to find them. Whether you’re interested in the classics like Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, books you’ve always meant to read or you’re just ready to try mystery, graphic novels or science fiction, this year could be the chance to discover a book you will love!
“Thanks to a friend who left the country, I have more books than I could read in a lifetime (unless I was a particularly avid fan of wartime history and pulp sci-fi) Some books have already been donated, sold or given away as gifts, but my cats still make a playground of the many untouched boxes I have carried from place to place for the past two years! This January I’ve vowed to unburden myself, and put any proceeds towards a ticket to visit said friend in the USA. 9 boxes went to the Post Office yesterday, but I still have a long way to go.”
Lots of our staff thought this was a great idea. It’s good to clear your shelves sometimes because it means you can sell books you don’t want any more, give them to charity shops or share them with friends, and it has the added upside of giving you space for more books. If you decide that you want to give any books away, our Book Exchange always welcomes second hand books which are for anyone to take home free of charge. Ask an Information Store staff member for more details!
Use the library more
“As part of this I have also promised to use the library more, instead of buying everything. I will still buy books, I just think that libraries are a wonderful resource, and if we don’t use them they’ll stop existing!”
We are so lucky in Norwich to have access to such fantastic libraries. The Information Store has a wide range of fiction as well as non-fiction, including graphic novels and quick reads, as well as e-books, and the Millennium Library is a fantastic resource for finding something new to read (or rereading something you love). There are plenty of other public libraries across Norwich and Norfolk as well, so even if you can’t get into the City Centre often, there are lots of opportunities. Using libraries means you’re showing love for your local library and supporting it, and it saves you money as well!
“My partner usually reads to me (he’s infinitely better at silly voices!) but he gets to pick the material…we’re 4 books into the Sharpe series and while I like the swash and buckle, I’m fed up by the lack of women! It’s quite hard to read aloud for long periods of time, and not get annoyed when you skip a word or use the wrong inflection. I’m resolved to practice in time for Tell A Fairy Tale Day on 26th February. Dora the reading dog tells me it can help to read to a pet instead of a person- does anyone have a goldfish they can lend me?”
Reading quietly can be really relaxing, but so many of us think that it’s weird to read aloud. Actually, it can be lots of fun, as if you read with someone else, you’re sharing the story with them (and silly voices definitely make it a lot funnier!) You can also read aloud when you’re alone, especially with things like poetry. It can make you realise how beautiful words are.
Keep track of what you’ve read
“Every January I start to keep a diary of the books I’ve read, as well as the films I’ve seen for the first time. I’m terrible at keeping hold of paper diaries, and have even refused to write in books that look too pretty! The obvious option is Goodreads, a site that lets you record your progress and leave a review or rating for others once you finished the book. As long as I have my phone or Kindle, I shouldn’t forget to update. You can also look up your friends and find out who has one chapter left before a plot twist or horrible death (no spoilers!) and make lists of recommended books to send to other forgetful readers!”
Keeping track of what you’ve read means that you can look back over your reading diary (or Goodreads shelves) and feel proud of what you’ve managed to read, relive the highs and lows, and suggest books to other people. At the Information Store, we love writing blog posts about the things we read, but it can be as simple as deciding you’re going to tweet a sentence about the books you’re enjoying. You might even find that you have more to say than can be summed up in 140 characters. If you’re not into the high-tech options, recording your reading achievements in a notebook can be lots of fun, and a nice thing to browse back through later on. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can fill a notebook up!
“I’m so busy all the time that it’s hard to find time to sit down and read. If I do, I worry that I should be getting on with one of the million other things I have to do. I miss sitting down and reading a book cover to cover, though – it’s one of my favourite activities. So this year, I’m going to try and give myself permission to just sit and read in my spare time now and then, especially if a book is really gripping or I need to de-stress.”
TV and the Internet mean it’s difficult to find time to relax, but reading is the perfect escape. You could even try turning your phone off if you’re worried that you’ll be checking Facebook every few minutes. Find a comfy spot, grab a good book and just relax.
Get involved with World Book Night (23rd April 2015)
While the deadline for signing up to be a Book Giver has passed, there are still plenty of ways you can get involved, and we’ll hopefully have some Book Givers in the Information Store. Keep an eye out for posts on this blog and displays and events at City College to do with World Book Night 2015!
Have a look at the World Book Night website here to see how you can get involved.
Take advantage of the cold weather and snuggle up with a book in 2015!
But what to read next? We have some suggestions…
While it might be a bit ambitious to set a goal of 1001 books, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die by Peter Boxall (BOOK ZONE 800) is a fantastic book to dip in and out of. It has short entries on all of the recommended books, along with facts about the authors and lots of pictures. The ‘1001’ series gets a lot of criticism, but you are almost guaranteed to find something that interests you in this guide. For a much shorter and more personal list of suggestions, try Pure Pleasure: A Guide to the 20th Century’s Most Enjoyable Books by Peter Carey (NORFOLK HOUSE 028.10904).
There are so many books to choose from these days, which is brilliant, but it also means that we’re often bewildered as to what to try next, which can mean that people get put off reading. We have a fantastic QUICK READS section in the Information Store filled with a wide range of books for all different literacy levels and a selection of graphic novels including manga, superhero comics and comic book versions of classic novels.
If you are more interested in how to get to grips with novels that you have always meant to try, try How to Read a Novel: A User’s Guide by John Sutherland (BOOK ZONE and NORFOLK HOUSE 809.3) or How to Read Literature by Terry Eagleton (available in hard copy in the BOOK ZONE at 801.95 or via our cataogue as an e-book).
Lots of books are fun to read aloud, but some are specially designed for it. We have a wide range of picture books in the BOOK ZONE at 649.58 which are written so they are great for reading aloud, as well as poetry from writers like Dr Seuss and Michael Rosen in the QUICK READS section. One Hundred and One More Read-Aloud Classics (BOOK ZONE 808.83) by Pamela Horn is filled with short stories, poems and chapters from longer books that are great to read with or to someone else.