Tag Archives: Resolve to Read

Saturdays @ the South: Multi-tasking with your Reading Resolutions

Yup, more Calvin and Hobbes, because couldn’t fit all the New Year-related strips in last week’s post.

Last week, I introduced several guided reading challenge possibilities for those of you who wanted to make a resolution to read in 2016. Our wonderful primary blog contributor Arabella also introduced the concept of Hermitage Week. Personally, my reading hermitage runs the entire month of January, instead of just one week, thus my blanket fort is perpetually erected and ready for snow days or any other lengthy reading time. This means that I try to have a book list at the ready for my Hermitage Week (Month) needs. It also is a great time to get a solid lead on tackling those reading resolutions.

With that in mind, I’m breaking down the most intense of the challenges, BookRiot’s 2016 Read Harder Challenge, with an infographic of three possible selections for each of 23 out of the 24 categories.* Hopefully this list provides not only some fuel for the reading challenge fire, but also a list of “hunker down and just read” possibilities as well. One thing I hope you notice is that many of the books suggested here can apply to several categories. For example, one of the “Read a book over 500 pages long” suggestions will also cover the “Read a horror book” category. A couple of the “Read a book out loud to someone else” books also covers “Read a book under 100 pages.” One of the “Read a food memoir” books also covers the “Read a collection of essays” category, and so on. BookRiot gives kudos to those resourceful multi-taskers who use the same book for multiple categories, so don’t feel compelled to read a different book for each category. This will allow you the space to accomplish your reading goal but still enjoy your reading and leave yourself time to read other books that are unrelated to a challenge. Remember when I recommended resolving to be kind to yourself? This is a great way to put that into practice!

See, Calvin already knows how to be kind to himself, though it’s not necessarily a path I’d recommend…

To help you further, I’ve put together a “Resolving to Read” Pinterest board that has links to all the books shown in the infographic below. They are all available through the Peabody Library (a majority are available directly through the South Branch) and/or Overdrive, so all you have to do is click on the cover in Pinterest and you’ll be taken to the book in our catalog. If none of the books mentioned here suit your fancy, feel free to stop into the library and discuss additional possibilities. We are always ready to talk book recommendations with our great patrons! And if that’s not enough, the New York Public Library has also compiled a list of suggestions, most of which are different from the ones I’ve suggested, so you’ll have plenty to choose.

Hopefully, even if you don’t take up a reading challenge, you’ll still find something worthwhile to read on this list sometime this year or in the future. Plus, these books will make great company during your reading hermitage, however many you decide to tackle or however long your hermitage is. Above all, dear readers, reading is meant to be savored and enjoyed. There’s still a day left to the “official” Hermitage Week, so feel free to hang out in your book fort (or armchair, bed, couch, floor, bean bag chair, etc.) and linger over some particularly engrossing passages. Till next week, I’ll be in my fort…

*The notable exception here is “Read a book originally published in the decade you were born.” Our patron base is as varied as our reading tastes and I don’t presume to guess the age of anyone reading this blog or tackling a book challenge. Should you require some help tracking down a book from the decade you were born, feel free to stop in and ask! We’re always happy to help! Alternately, you can check out Goodread’s list of best books by decades.

Saturdays @ the South: On Resolving to Read

I miss Calvin & Hobbes… so much.

With the bulk of the holidays over and the ball getting ready to drop on another year gone by, thoughts inevitably turn towards resolutions. I tend to believe that the resolutions made accompanied by champagne on the 31st (or when you’re drunk from sleepiness as you fight to stay awake until midnight) tend not to be the ones that last. So with a little time left in the year, it might be time to start thinking about what you’d like to accomplish in 2016, if of course, you’re even into that sort of thing. For us bookish people, we tend to make reading resolutions.

I’ve made a couple of reading resolutions for 2016. The first, is to acquaint myself with YA fiction. This is a vast section of books with which I’m completely unfamiliar and I’d like to rectify it for two reasons: 1) as a librarian, I want to be able to recommend books to all of our great patrons, including those patrons interested in YA titles; 2) there is an enormous array of YA books in all genres and I’m certain that there are great books I know I’ll love just waiting to be discovered. I don’t want to deprive myself of a new and exciting reading experience. I’m also going to give a “Clean your Reader” challenge, inspired by Entomology of a Bookworm, a try. So many books on my Kindle get a little neglected when up against the physical books on my personal shelves and the library’s shelves. It’s time to give those books their fair shake! (Full disclosure: I’m probably going to borrow a few library books from Overdrive as part of the challenge, because part of the fun of a challenge is keeping things interesting.) Lastly, I resolve to let myself read for pleasure, which means if either of the first two challenges aren’t working for me I reserve the right to stop and read something else. Life’s too short not to enjoy reading!

Bill Watterson is so wise.


For those of you who might be considering a resolution that involves reading in some form, there are plenty of options. For some, the resolution might be to pick up the habit of reading again. For others, it may be resolving to push the boundaries of what they typically read. For example, someone who consistently reads non-fiction might challenge themselves to read a story or someone who only reads hard-copy books might resolve to read an e-book or an audiobook. Fortunately, if you want to resolve to read but you’re having trouble coming up with a specific resolution that might be achievable for you, there are plenty of different places to turn. With that in mind, instead of recommending specific books this week, I’m going to offer you some ready-made challenges that you can adapt to your needs or just use as inspiration for your own personal reading resolutions:


Goodreads Reading Challenge

This is the simplest of the challenges and the easiest to personalize. Enter how many books you want to read, mark them as read on the site as you go through the year and Goodreads will track your progress and let you know if you’re on target, ahead or behind in your goal. The caveat to this challenge is you must be a member of Goodreads. While Goodreads is free to use and I find it a great way to track book lists and see what my friends are reading, the site is owned by Amazon. I’m not here to render any opinion on Amazon, but this may be an issue for some, so I want to be upfront about who owns the site. The 2016 Reading Challenge hasn’t been activated on the site yet, but you can peruse what people did for the 2015 challenge, including the many groups that gathered on the site to chat about challenges, book ideas and offer support.

Five Great Books

Not a challenge per se, Public Radio International put together a list of “five great books you should think about reading in 2016.” So if you’re having trouble thinking about reading possibilities in the new year, you can use this list as it’s own challenge. I’m a fan of any list that includes a history of libraries and have already put a couple of these books on my to-read list for next year.

2016 Reading Challenge

PopSugar has put together their reading challenge for 2016. Rather than a specific set of titles or a set number of books to read, they’ve compiled a list of general book descriptions and you find the titles that best fit into those categories. A challenge like this is a great way to get out of your comfort zone a little but still hone in on books you think you’ll enjoy. They even have it in a printable format so you can post the list somewhere that will remind you to do it and track your progress.

#ReadHarder Challenge

For a more intense reading list, there is the ultimate book challenge put out by Book Riot: the Read Harder Challenge. This is similar to PopSugar’s list but designed to push reading boundaries and get people who love books to read out of their comfort zone, to expose themselves to viewpoints they might not have considered, but often still end up enjoying. Book Riot also offers a printable and tons of social media support including a group on Goodreads, a Twitter hashtag (#ReadHarder) and even an in-person book group (if, perchance, you’re reading our humble little blog in the NYC area…)

To keep things balanced, here’s a thoughtful counterpoint on not doing reading challenges, though, it its own way, this article can be construed as a challenge in and of itself.

As you think about what you will make of the coming year, dear readers, remember that everyone’s resolutions are different and personal. What works for others may not work for you so if nothing else, resolve to be kind to yourself. Should you choose to participate in an existing challenge or make up a challenge of your own, please know that here at the library, we’re always ready and willing to offer you suggestions to help you with your reading goals, no matter the time of year.


Happy New Year!