This week over at The Broke and the Bookish, Top Ten Tuesday is all about bookish resolutions. I have a post in the works about my history with resolutions and the ones I'm pondering this year, but I'm going to deviate a little to talk about my resolutions specifically to do with books.
I don't tend to make book-centric resolutions, but a couple of years back, I resolved not to buy any secondhand books for a whole year. My library was getting all triffid-like and the worst thing about secondhand books is that you can sometimes pick up five for a dollar. There is no stopping the growth of the book haul when they're so cheap! So for a year I didn't buy any secondhand books (except for this one time my sister expressly invited me to a book sale and I couldn't refuse, on the grounds of social etiquette -- and so my excuse shall remain) and it was actually pretty liberating. For a whole year, I didn't buy secondhand books, which meant that if I wanted to buy anything, it had to be a new book, from an actual bookstore. It was a great year for me in learning to appreciate the humble bookstore, as I'd previously been a thrifted book junkie. New books cost a lot more and therefore the collection grows much more slowly -- which was exactly what I'd needed -- but for the first time in a while I also experienced the joy of reading new releases and keeping a closer watch on publishing news and developments. Not to mention the fact that my dollars went to authors and bookstore owners rather than garage sales and whatnot. It was a great experiment and it's actually changed how I shop for books these days.
This year, my bookish goals (all of them casual, none of them binding) are less about buying books and more about what I actually do with them. Oh, and there's less than ten, but you'll forgive me that, won't you?
- write more reviews; I love love love to talk about books in real life, but my ratio of books read to books written about is woefully unbalanced. This year, I'd like to be more diligent about jotting down my thoughts post-reading, and then sharing them, too.
- write more honest reviews; this one's a bit misleading. It suggests that my reviews thus far haven't been honest. That's really not true at all. However, I do have a tendency to only review books that I like, respect, or enjoyed in some aspect. Whenever I attempt to write more critical reviews, I can't help but consider the fact that the author -- who for good or ill has slaved over the words I might be panning -- may someday stumble across the review. Even if I don't respect the finished product, I respect the work that's gone into it, so it's hard for me to share reviews of books I don't think are great. Here's to bravery!
- read more poetry and biography; the last few years have been very heavy on YA fiction and I'm not complaining because that's my jam. It's what I love to read and write, but I found that by the end of 2013, I was really craving some poetry and biography into the mix. I miss poetry! I miss real peoples' lives set down in words!
- read the numerous e-books I've downloaded; reading for me is like 70% words and 30% the aesthetics of actually holding and interacting with a book. Therefore, I've been slow to jump on the e-book wagon even though I am seriously affectionate towards my iPad. Last year, a book I couldn't afford in hard copy forced me into e-book land so now I know I can actually read an entire book through a screen, I'm determined to get through more of the e-books I have.
- read things way outside my natural choices; university has been fantastic for forcing me to read stuff I might never otherwise pick up, but I complete my Master's midway through the year, so I'll have to keep myself on my toes picking through some great literature I might have otherwise overlooked. It's eye-opening and challenging, and I think we can learn heaps when we read outside our comfort zone.
- participate in more top ten tuesdays; because book memes are the best memes.
- post book-haul pictures; because ditto for pictures. I love seeing others' books and bookshelves, so I assume the same must be true (for at least some of you) in reverse.