In 2016, I vow to read fewer books.
Before I tell you why, we need to talk about reading challenges, and resolutions, and manifestos, and such. My issues with them are many, and as follows. Oh, I don’t mean YOUR reading challenge, settle down. OR DO I?
- The assumption that people give a shit what you’re reading. Particularly with respect to TBR challenges. Why on earth do I care if, or for how long, you’ve owned a book? I do not. I give a shit if you have something to say about what you’ve read. (I am participating in a TBR challenge this year, so I guess I kind of care. I still find it odd.)
- Approval-seeking. Particularly with respect to diversity challenges. I actually saw someone tweet about how many days it’d been since they’d read a cis-het white male author. That’s wonderful, but talk to me once you’ve reviewed one of those books. You don’t get a cookie for #readingdiverse. (Yes, I unfollowed.)
- Strict rules. Insisting on strict definitions of what constitutes a classic? Nope. Kicking me out of the challenge if I don’t post an update by whatever date? Nope. Insert “Ain’t nobody got time” or “zero fucks” meme here.
- Quantity over quality. You read 52 books this year? 75? 100? 250? 300? That’s nice. Tracking is fine. But challenges that emphasize how many books you read are just weird. I mean, if you read one book this year, you’re ahead of the majority of the population, so calm down.
- Pigeonholing. Particularly with respect to “reading bingo” type challenges with a bunch of categories to fill in. Now, I know the categories aren’t meant to be mutually exclusive, but, it’s kind of implied. So when one of your sixteen categories is “female author,” I’m gonna give it a side eye. Surely, there are better ways to define a challenge category! Check out this great post from Feminist Texican Reads about a Feminist Read Harder Challenge to see what I mean.
The absolute worst example of all of these things, and the inspiration for this post, appears not on a book blog, but on LitHub, of all places. A Reader’s Manifesto for 2016 is about one guy’s reading resolutions, though the title implies it’s for all readers, and pardon me, these are not mere resolutions, this is a manifesto, which is much fancier. Okay then. We’ve got the “assuming people give a shit” angle covered. Continue reading
Reading is bed is dangerous. I called this blog “Reading in Bed” after an Emily Haines song, and also because I do 99% of my reading in bed. Most nights I read in bed until my eyes begin to cross and words start to blur.
The danger is that I forget at least the last page or two of what I’ve read, and, that I never blog about my reading because I lose consciousness immediately after I’m done. I often think to myself “oo! Must blog about this book/chapter/passage/line” but when I wake up, the motivation is gone.
So, I haven’t been blogging, but I have been reading. I am on #94 in my quest to read 100 of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die before the end of the year. And I’m really excited about what I’m reading now (The Grapes of Wrath) and what I’m going to be reading soon:
I’m going to be really proud of myself if I reach 100 books by the end of the year. When I set my goal I didn’t count on getting pregnant, with the attendant exhaustion and stupidity. I didn’t count on us moving and all the craziness that will (hopefully) ensue. It’s going to be a tough go but maybe I can save my hormone-addled brain with a few- say, six- good books.