In the spirit of RA For All and other bloggers, I’m setting some reading resolutions! I read pretty quickly, and I read a lot. People (especially non-librarian pals) are often impressed by my GoodReads totals. But, I’m going to take a moment to explain what goes into my reading life, because a lot of my reading is already necessarily locked into pretty specific books.
As a co-host of the Worst Bestsellers podcast, I’m committed to read 24 books a year (more or less). Pretty much all of those books are not things I would ever pick up on my own. Often, I think that’s a good thing for my life as a librarian–I think it’s valuable to read widely to be familiar with popular books of different genres. (I’m not saying, for example, that every librarian needs to go out and read Fifty Shades of Grey, but I know that after reading it I had a very different idea of what it was about and what its appeal factors are than I did from just reading blog posts about it.)
As for booktalk books–every month of the school year my co-worker and I go out and share books with the local 7th and 8th graders. Every month I need 3 new books to share. We’ll call that another 24 books a year. Three a month doesn’t sound like a lot, but it can be pretty tricky to find a diverse collection of books that are appropriate for 7th and 8th graders but also engaging. A lot of YA books with really compelling hooks are really pitched at high schoolers, and I don’t feel comfortable bringing them into 7th grade classrooms. And plenty of stuff that is appropriate sounds too “babyish” to compel 7th graders to go out and pick it up off the shelf. Plus, I like to bring in a good blend of books including stories with diverse characters (especially diverse characters on the cover, so I can hold them up and kids can immediately see someone who looks like them on the cover), nonfiction (a lot of young readers really prefer true stories), and graphic novels (a great grab for some kinds of reluctant readers). So to find three good books to bring, I might have to try out ten. (Sometimes I’ll DNF a book after a few chapters if it becomes immediately apparent that a book is going to have too much “YA” content.)
At the library where I work, we have a Reading Wildly book club where each month we have to read one book from a designated genre. This is another great way to make myself read outside my comfort zone, and also adds another 12 books/year to my personal quota.
Then, I’m in a book club that meets once a month-ish. We’ll call that another 10 books/year I have to read. (I mean I guess I technically don’t have to, but I’d get a little side-eye if I showed up every month and just drank wine without talking about the book!)
So, that’s a minimum of 70/books a year that I have to read, although as mentioned, it ends up being more just to find the right blend of junior high books. But, I read more than that anyway. According to GoodReads, last year I read 272 books. What are my reading resolutions beyond what I have to read?
- Last year I signed up to do the Book Riot Read Harder challenge last year but stopped keeping track of it pretty quickly. I think I did complete the challenge, or at least most of it, but I just didn’t have a good place to keep track of it. This year I want to finish it and keep track of it, and having this shiny new blog should help out with that! That should codify practices I try to follow when reading anyway–I do try to prioritize reading books by women and people of color, as well as from a variety of genres and formats.
- I prefer to read comics in bound graphic novel form–that way you get a whole arc at once. I’m not on board for the serialized format that some would argue is the point of comics. But I do like to support creators and characters I like, so I subscribe to a small number of comics digitally. I always put off reading these and end up with some weird guilt about not reading the comics I’m paying for. I’d like to read my digital comics at least once a month.
- I’d also like to read more children’s/middle grade books. Last year the teen department I work in joined with the children’s department to become youth services (where as before it was with adult as part of reference services), and now I’m seeing more younger kids (and their parents) on the regular. I’ll put a number on this and say I’d like to read at least 30 children’s/MG books this year.
- On GoodReads I set a goal of reading 150 books, which is over twice as many as I “have” to read. If my reading life is similar to last year, I’ll probably read more than that, but I don’t like feeling too stressed about the numbers. (Sidenote if any non-librarians are reading this and feeling stressed, as I have heard friends remark on my GoodReads goals–don’t compare your reading goals with a librarian [or other book professional]’s! Whatever reading goal that is reasonable and healthy for you is what you should do!)
So, those are my resolutions! I’ll possibly check in on them occasionally on the blog, or just at the end of the year. We’ll see how I feel!