How To

Bookish Interpretations of New Year’s Resolutions

Sarah S. Davis

Staff Writer

Sarah S. Davis holds a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master's of Library Science from Clarion University, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Sarah has also written for Electric Literature, Kirkus Reviews, Audible, Psych Central, and more. Sarah is the founder of Broke By Books blog and runs a tarot reading business, Divination Vibration. Twitter: @missbookgoddess Instagram: @Sarahbookgoddess

With Bridget Jones’ Diary being a formative book in my life, I feel a strong affinity for New Year’s Resolutions. Yet nearly every year I fail at keeping New Year’s Resolutions, except when it comes to reading. Accomplishing my goal of reading 52 books in 2014 made me believe in myself and really enjoy setting bookish New Year’s Resolutions. The old standbys–lose weight, fall in love, travel the world–can also be accomplished through reading. Here are common resolutions as seen through a bookish lens. 


  • Lose Weight the Bookish Way 

Perhaps the most common resolution is to lose more weight. This can definitely be accomplished in a bookish way. You could take this literally and reduce the size of your bookshelves or even go digital. Pare down your collection to the absolute essentials and give everything else away or donate. For more about this process, known as “weeding your collection,” check out Rioter Jessica’s article on How to Weed Your Bookshelves.

Books can also help you exercise more once you become hooked on audiobooks like many fine Rioters (Check out our audiobook favorites of 2015. You could choose an audiobook that is really long and promise yourself that you’ll go on long walks or runs or other aerobic activity to the soundtrack of an epic book. Or you could also choose something that’s really action-packed, a thriller that you can’t put down. That way, if you’ve taken your ears out for a jog you won’t want to stop listening and will keep working more.

You can train for a marathon in a bookish way if you want to read one of those 500+ page door stoppers but feel daunted by the length. Consider reading in “intervals” by reading a short book, then a medium length book, then a short book, and then tackle a huge book. You’ll work your way up by building momentum. 


  • Fall in Love…with Books

Who hasn’t spent a lonely New Year’s Eve wishing that next year, it’ll be spent with someone special? Literature seems like it was meant for this resolution. You can fall in love like never before with the romance genre, experiencing love vicariously through the eyes of a like-minded hero or heroine.

Not sure where to start? Some of our Rioters gushed over the romance that swept them away and made them romance fans for life in an epic list of gateway romance novelsPersonally, the gateway romance novel for me was Laura Kinsale’s Flowers from the Storm, a novel which tore me apart and made me experience all the big, epic, heartbreaking and dizzying love you could hope to get between the covers of a book. You can also fall in love all over again with beloved classics like Jane Austen’s works.

Another way to better reach your New Year’s resolution to fall in love would be to join a book club, come to a Book Riot meet up or other bookish social gathering, or volunteer at the library in your free time. Getting out and about and being around books can remind you of how much you love reading and can perhaps put you in the path of a potential partner who shares your love of books. At the very least, you could meet other people who might challenge you as a reader and give you some recommendations that would shake up your reading life and meet some new favorites. Finding new friends who love books can make you feel less lonely.


  • Travel the World

Books are literally your passports to other destinations here on earth or out of this world. Reading a decent travelogue (like ones in Book Riot’s Buy-Borrow-Bypass travel literature edition) definitely makes me feel like I’m experiencing new cultures and  landscapes. Let’s not forget food. International cookbooks that feature global cuisines can immerse you in another part of the world. You could also learn a new language through books and audiobooks. If you start early, by the end of the year you might be at reading proficiency and can read books in another language or even listen to foreign language editions of audiobooks. By this time next year, you could be an expert armchair traveler with your passport stamped with books that showed you the world.


Editor’s note: the author of Flowers from the Storm was corrected from Lisa Kleypas to Laura Kinsale.