New Year's Resolution #2: Literary Pursuits.

I have always been a reader. When I was a kid, I was a certified bedtime abuser. In that, though I did have an actual bedtime when I was told to turn off my lights and go to sleep, I became a seasoned expert on determining the likelihood that my parents would check on me after that point and, if the coast was deemed clear, would find a way to read for hours past the point where I was supposed to be asleep. I guess I was also kind of a night owl. Looking back, and considering how much sleep I seem to require now to get through the day with any pretense of being alert, it's quite amazing how little sleep I functioned on as a kid.

Even from the early days of enjoying the grammatically incorrect Go Dog Go* (clearly translated directly from Japanese, and quite obviously not by someone who spoke English), I always loved books. The first "chapter book" I ever read, with Mom's help, was Charlotte's Web, followed closely by Little House in the Big Woods. After that, I was hooked. I found books at garage sales, the local library (though I was terrible at remembering to return them), under the Christmas tree or wrapped up for my birthday. I had a huge floor-to ceiling bookshelf in my bedroom, where I carefully sorted them not by author or subject, but by how much I liked them. If I was going to read it again, it went to the top shelf. The ones I would use as trading material with my sister (though I did have a winning sales pitch) went to the bottom. They moved houses with me, went on trips, got lost and then found, and took me on adventures I still think about, from time to time. I loved them...and still do.

Throughout my teenage years, the late-night reading was swapped for late-night phone calls and my books, so treasured in previous years, remained for the most part on the shelf. I bought the odd one here or there for a trip, and used them as excuses when I didn't feel like doing homework, but it became much less of a valued way to spend my time. When teenage drama gave way to the harsh reality of textbooks which cost more than the course I'd purchased them for, all of the allure of reading was lost to me. After spending hours studying, highlighting, reading, and then re-reading (because so much of my first degree made absolutely zero sense), the idea of picking up a book at the end of the day could not be more unappealing. Drinking was obviously a much better use of that time. Or sleeping, for that matter.

Now, two years out of university, I've started to miss my books. I've spend a lot of time collecting cookbooks, but real, actual, sit-down-and-read-me books had completely fallen off the radar until very recently. It's not that I haven't read anything at all over the past few years, but most of the reading I've done hasn't been fiction. I love fiction. So, in an effort to get back to being that sneaky book-loving kid of the past, I've made my second New Year's resolution for 2008 (the first being my budgeting/saving goals). I'm going to read at least one book each month for the entire year.

This doesn't sound hard. In fact, it sounds ridiculously easy, but I know that things come up and because I know I will quit my resolution at the smallest sign of failing, I made failing virtually impossible.

In order to kickstart my resolution, and to inspire me, I have stocked my bookshelf with a selection of books that I have always meant to read, but never got around to for whatever reason. I figure that at my age I should have read at least a few of the classics, so I'm starting with those. I finished my first book, Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility, tonight (which was obviously started in 2007, so I won't be cheating and counting it as my January book) and it felt great. It helped that it happened to be a great book. Next up is Lolita.

It feels good to be reading again. Instead of spending the hours between dinner and bed mindlessly surfing the internet, maybe I'm actually doing something good for my brain. I've even lured Kurt into the reading world by putting a copy of 1984 in his stocking. We'll see how it goes. Nerdy sidebar thingie will keep me accountable.

Happy New Year everyone...stay tuned for Resolution #3.

*Shockingly, Go Dog Go was featured on the "Most Recommended" shelf at a certain big box book store last year. I almost choked on my certain brand name caffeinated beverage when I saw it, but was secretly glad that generations of children continue to put their parents through the agony of "Do you like my hat? No, I do not like your hat. Good-by. Good-by." Yes, spelling error intentional. It is a classic. It has even been shortened into board-book format, for convenience, though the condensed version unfortunately skips all mention of hats.


Anonymous said...

Oooo! Good resolution. I have something I'm going to send you, too, if this child doesn't get in the case he does (unlikely), I will tell you what it is. I just got one for Christmas, although I've been doing it for 4 years now -keeping a list of everything I've read, and when I've read it. Just author and title, although I could have done more I suppose. Somehow it really motivates me, especially when I look at a blank month and realise I've read nothing. But yes, for Christmas I got a great reading journal and I'm going to see if I can get one for you too! Hurrah for being book geeks!

Oh, and Little House was my first all by myself read :o)


Heather said...


But I was also 5.

I read usually at least 1 or 2 books a month too....something that may even be more frequent now that we don't have cable (GASP!)

I am currently reading "Atonement" by Ian McKewan and I luuuurve it.

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