Sunday, 31 January 2016

Reading Resolutions 2016

I am aware that it’s kind of late in the day to be making some resolutions, 2016 being well underway already, however it has taken me a while to get my house in order so to speak and to decide on the things I want to focus on with regards to my reading and writing for the coming year.

Firstly, and most importantly, this year I have decided to only read the books that I want to read. That sounds like an obvious thing to do but sometimes it’s really easy to get thrown off track and read the book that everyone else is talking about, or the one that I need to review, or the one that needs returning to the library or that has to be read for a book group or reading challenge etc etc. I spent three years as an English Literature major so I know that forced reading is sometimes necessary but, to be honest, it kills the joy and it’s something I really don’t want to do now that I don’t have to. Last year I think I got bogged down by feeling that there were certain books I had to or should read and this led to a major reading slump in the latter part of the year. So, in 2016, I want to be less prescriptive and just allow myself to pick up the books that take my fancy at a particular time. This may mean that I read and review less newly published fiction on this blog but hopefully it will result in more books read, a wider variety of content for you guys to read and more enjoyment for me. Winning all round basically!

Secondly, I want to try and read more diversely in 2016. This might sound like it contradicts the above resolution but hear me out. I recently watched a video by Jen Campbell (linked here), in which she recommends LGBTQ+ fiction and talks about why diversity in books is so important and it had a real impact on me. Reviewing my own shelves, I have noticed that a lot of what I read is mostly written by women, mostly by authors originating in the UK or America, mostly about a Western experience of the world and mostly written from a heterosexual white viewpoint. Given that books are one of the easiest ways for us to explore other cultures, world views and experiences, this seems very narrow and I’d like to actively work to counter that. So, whilst I’m not going to force myself to read a specific book just because it’s from a world view other than my own, I do want to get to some of the books stashed away on my shelves that reflect other world views in 2016.

Tying into this, I would like to try and read more books in translation this year. Again, it is very easy to only read books written by authors writing in English and to overlook those originally published in another language, many of which eventually get a UK release via small presses and imprints. I feel that one of the simplest ways for me to diversify my reading is to seek out exciting translated fiction and experience some of the publishing sensations from other parts of the globe.

Finally, for reading goals at any rate, I want to read more graphic novels, including manga. I really got into manga when I spent a summer as a camp counsellor in America, finding the pictures and text format perfect for dipping into and out of between sessions and for reading on the fly. However, when I got back to the UK, there just wasn’t the range of manga to be read – a lot of the series I had discovered in the US were hard to get hold of over here and also very expensive to buy, so I haven’t read very much in this format since. I’ve recently noticed UK bookshops stocking more manga and enlarging their graphic novel sections so I want to try and get back into this form, which I hope will enable me to keep reading even when I get very bogged down with work and can’t find the energy to follow a standard novel or book.

On the blog I would like to produce more varied content for you in 2016. I’ve largely stuck to wrap ups and reviews in the past 12 months but I’d like to do more general posts such as this one and also review my reading goals or anticipated upcoming reads throughout the year. Basically, I want to make this blog a little bit less prescriptive, which might mean a few changes in the coming month as I play around with things. Hopefully you’ll like it but, as always, drop me a comment with any thoughts on new content.

So those are my reading resolutions for 2016!  I’ll be reviewing progress on here every so often throughout the year so we’ll see how I go with them. I’ve set myself a Goodreads challenge of reading 75 books in 2016 so I hope my goals will support this aim and allow me to enjoy my reading even more in 2016. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and I’d really welcome any recommendations you have for diverse books, books in translation and graphic novels/manga that I could read. Drop me a comment down below, or tweet me @amyinstaffs. And until next time…

Happy Reading!


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