Though I’m not exactly a “new year, new me” girl, there is something about the start of a new year that does force some reflection. Thanks to a viral infection that ran its way through my family this holiday season, I had a lot of alone time to sit and give in to that impulse. I took stock and made some loose plans — financial goals, mental health goals, wellness goals that aren’t toxic — for what I hope this year will feel like in my bones. We’re heading into an election year and so many things still feel awful, but planning a little and naming some things helps me feel a little bit more prepared to face it.
In my reading life, the overarching goal is to have more fun, and that requires some very intentional shifting when a thing you love becomes a thing you do for work. Here are four low-stakes goals I’ve set for myself to help me find more joy in books this year.
1. Candy Reading
Because I co-host All the Books, a podcast about new releases, two or more of the books I read every month are going to be ones that are published on a specific day. Sometimes, the books that land in my week align perfectly with what I would have read anyway, and other weeks, less so (even though I still enjoy them).
After I’m done with my work reading, I am resolving to go all in on reaching for candy reads: indulgent, delicious reads that excite me whether or not they’re buzzy or new or “important.” For me, that probably means a ton of gothic, mythy, thrilly, witchy things (see my recent Most Anticipated list), or books that teach me something (see next goal). I’ll be diving deep into titles that boost my serotonin because that’s what my brain needs right now.
2. Be an Even More Insufferable Know It All
I have been annoying since the 80s for several reasons, a big one being that I am a consummate know-it-all. Like I stay hitting the people with a strong “Did you know” or an “Actually…” I have tried very hard as a grownup to have my know-it-allness be more of a “fun facts at parties” thing (Marie Antoinette never said “let them eat cake”) than a “correcting your grammar” thing (unless you’re a bad person, then all bets are off).
That being said, I am going all in on microhistories and nonfiction about people, places, and things that interest me. My shortlist includes Tudor histories, books about religion and cults, books about sea creatures, mythology deep-dives, books on basketball, and reads that help explain current events. Anything that ups my did-ya-know tank excites me. I am sorry (but let’s be real, not that much) in advance.
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