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Archive for February, 2015

Reading Resolutions 2015

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015! I took the month of January off from the blog (unannounced, apologies for that) to rest, regroup, and reconsider a number of things related to my reading life. So, in this first post of the new year, I thought I should identify some changes I am hoping to make this year, for my blog and my life. Here are four to begin with:

#1 – SLOW DOWN: I’m tired of rushing. I want to take time and savour some longer novels that I have been putting off because I knew they’d eat into my time for other books and that would impact my annual reading goal. So, I’m cutting my reading goal by more than half. I’m only aiming to read 20 books this year (assuming, of course, that I will read more, but not pressuring myself to do so). I also read for two of my day jobs, so it becomes more difficult to find time to read for fun, especially if I have to take work home. So instead of reading more, I’m hoping to read bigger and at a more leisurely pace.

*NOTE: Since starting the draft of this post, I discovered the tragic flaw in this cunning plan to read bigger: that 500 page book is just not convenient to read on my commute because it doesn’t fit in my purse, and it’s bloody heavy, and it’s awkward as arse. So, my new plan is to leave the big reads at home for bedtime reading, and carry a small book for commutes.

#2 – Write more blog posts more regularly and with more variety. I would like to post more about what I read (instead of just end of year recaps), make nerdy lists with commentary about books I’ve read, post short reviews, and write about bookish things that I find interesting or problematic. Not just to be negative for negativity’s sake, but to bring issues that I have with contemporary reading culture out into the light to perhaps encourage debate about them in a civil way. For example, the rush to speed market books on social media when what a book really needs is time to find its audience; the importance of the “critical” in literary criticism and reviewing; the superficial way sites deal with books reviews/recommendations (the dreaded listicle or capsule cheerleading post); the reasons I find the campaigns for diverse reading so sad (but of course, necessary), etc. So, in the coming months, there may be some changes happening with the blog content. With this, there is likely to be some growing pains, as I try to find ways to keep things organized. Please bear with me!

#3 – Boycott Amazon for book buying: I am tired of the big bad wolf and the negative way it has impacted the entire book industry (and I’m tired of the people who continue to support it when there are so many other viable options out there). I’ve always supported local independent bookstores first (and am happy to order books in and wait a few weeks), and only ever used the big bad when I had no other option for books I needed quickly or books that were not available in Canada. I’ve now decided that those are no longer good excuses, so I won’t be spending my dollars at Amazon or Book Depository anymore. Instead, I will be exercising patience and ordering books in from my local independent bookshop, Audrey’s Books, or All Lit Up for Canadian titles, and from Kenny’s Bookshop in Galway for my UK/Irish titles. I have also started ordering books directly from the publisher and have already received fantastic books from dorothy, a publishing project, and Pushkin Press. I know that Amazon is pervasive and has its fingers in many pies (Goodreads included). I do eventually want to extract my self from Amazon’s clutches entirely, but as someone who grew quite dependent on Goodreads for tracking books for my TBR list (that now has over 1400 titles on it), un-Goodreading that information will take a lot of time that I just don’t have right now. So, my TBR shall remain where it is, but my shopping is now Amazon free.

#4 – Begin seeking out a publishing job in earnest. I don’t often discuss my personal life on this blog, but since this goal is related to my reading life, and since this is a long-held dream of mine that perhaps I need a little push to chase, I shall post it here. I have spent the last couple of years as a freelance copy-editor and proofreader, and have been lucky enough to do work for two excellent independent publishers that publish a lot of fiction in translation. I have loved every minute of it. Now is the time to be brave and make a move toward finding a more permanent, full-time position (or at least a steady contract work) so that I can leave my current day job behind (which has been rewarding, but is not my calling). I am not a writer and harbor no delusions of becoming one, because I lack the talent. I have only ever wanted to be an editor, and now is the time to start down that path (well, 20 years ago would have been the time, but as a kid from the prairies, I didn’t know that was a career option!). So, by this time next year, with anyone out there who reads this to hold me to it, I will have set some plan in motion to get myself a job in publishing – whether that be going back to school for another Masters degree (in publishing this time), or finding an entry level job at a publishing house. Hooray! I’ve finally decided what I want to be when I grow up.

I have other resolutions in mind for the year, but I think four is quite enough to be cracking on with. I hope you all have set yourselves a reading resolution for the new year, whether it be to read more, read slower, read aloud to your kids, read a book by someone who doesn’t look like you, read a book translated from another language… Whatever it is, use your resolutions to open your horizons.

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