A new year of reading

Usually I have an ambitious list of reading plans built up for the new year. I plan out elaborate lists, goals, and challenges for which books I’ll read and how many. This year, I’m feeling resistant to such plans, and thinking about this new year of reading more organically. So this won’t be a tidy list, but a stream of consciousness musing on what I want from my reading life in the coming months.

This year I want to read books that matter, whatever form mattering takes. This could mean personal growth or parenting books that teach me important things and improve my life. It could mean reading about important events in history I should know more about. It could mean reading a book that was really important to a friend. In short, I want more than just entertainment from my reading life.

In the past few years, I’ve come to crave the comfort of rereading my favorites, especially Jane Austen. I’ve read every Austen novel at least once and my current project is to reread all in the fancy cloth-bound editions my mother-in-law gifted me a few years ago. It would be a real shame for any these beautiful copies to go unread! Along those lines, I have a beautiful, new, cloth-bound copy of my beloved Middlemarch and it deserves to be read as well.

That leads nicely into my next point: I want to read the books on my shelves. I have so many books I purchased with great excitement and left to languish on my shelves ever since, some for over a decade (I’m looking at you, Hero With a Thousand Faces). I made a point of this in the last few months and it’s so satisfying. It’s a win-win because I can cross something off my TBR, and if I don’t like it, I can get it off my shelf and out of my life.

I want to pick up classics again. Many of my favorite books are pretty freaking old – Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Middlemarch, North and South. The problem is, the classics have all been on my TBR so long at this point, they’ve gone stale and it’s hard to get excited about them. Please, if you have a favorite classic (or old book that has flown under the radar of classic-dom), share!

I made a goal last year of reading more children’s literature, more as a duty to my children than anything else, and, wow, did I love it. I was surprised to find that my five star reads of the year were disproportionately middle grade. A great children’s book is a great everyone book, and I’m hungry to find more gems in this category and continue some of the series I started last year (The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Vanderbeekers, Little House).

In 2022, I don’t want my reading life to revolve around goals and checklists. I simply want it to be rich and joyful. May we all be so lucky!