Reading Intentionally

So its been a while.
Lets be honest. I’m never going to be very good at staying up to date, logging in regularly, or sticking to a plan. There are a lot of things I say I am going to do that I never get around to, or things that, if we are being completely honest, I wouldn’t keep up with if it wasn’t for friends (lovingly) finger wagging.
One thing I do regularly, out of both habit and as a necessity, is read. I like reading, I love reading, I down right need to read. It helps me escape, and cope with a world that righteously blows some times. Reading is not something that I will ever really need to be forced to do.
So while I have a litany of other resolutions I’d love to try my hand at this year, I’d like to make at least one that has a chance of succeeding. This year I want to read more intentionally. My book collection has almost doubled in the last 3 years, and I’m constantly trolling the various Value Villages in my city for new books to add. Some of my hunting has been intentional. There are two Canadian children/middle grade authors that I purchase on sight, and have multiple copies of their titles. I constantly keep my eyes open for titles I recognize from my childhood that I never hesitate to throw in my cart. But if I’m being honest with myself, a majority of the books I’m picking up are impulse buys. Books I’ve either heard about on BookTube, authors I’ve heard about but never read, or books with an awesome cover and half decent synopsis. Considering I’m really only spending $20 at a go and walk away with 3-6 books, I guess it’s really not too bad. The problem is how many of these books just sit on my shelves, looking beautiful and not getting read. I’m much more likely to pick a book from a most recent haul then I am to browse my own shelves.
This year I want to pull up my socks and give my books the respect they deserve.

To do this I’d like to challenge myself to the following:

5 Book Challenge
There is a 5 book challenge that has been floating around for a while in the blogger and BookTube community. It’s not particularly new or revolutionary but it’s really smart. The idea is that you have to read 5 books before you are allowed to purchase one new one. The rule does not apply to books given as gifts or books received for free, but I’m personally only going to allow gifts. This will still allow me the freedom to pick up the out of print titles I am hunting for, while ensuring I’m purchasing more responsibly.

img_20160520_190823EOG Book Club
The Edmonton Open Genre Book Club is going on 5 years strong this year, and I’m pretty dang proud of it. What started out as an excuse to talk books without having to force a particular title on people, has turned into a solid group of friends. Yes, we can find just about way to justify how your read fit the theme, but the idea is to have fun and get us reading. I’d say I read about 40% of the genres in a given year, but this year I’d like to commit to reading at least 80%. I could aim for 100%, but think of how awesome I will look if I over achieve?!

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Monthly TBR
Loads of people have TBR piles, I have TBR shelves. Heck, I could probably make a whole bookcase of TBR without breaking a sweat. The problem is I have very little documentation to just how big my current owned TBR is. I can look through my shelves and easily recognize titles I’ve never read before, but I don’t have a list telling me just exactly which books those are. I also dont ever have a plan when it comes to what I’m going to read. I might pick up something from a recent haul, or take a quick glance and see if anything tickles my fancy, but I’ve never sat down at the beginning of the month and said, “These are the books I’m going to read.”. This year I’d like to give this a shot. Even if I dont stick to my list precisely, I think I will be good to know that I have a plan. This year my reading goal is 70 books, which equals ~6 books per month (or 5.83333333). By the 1st, I’d like to have a rough list of 5 books (leaving one free for book club) to get through that month.

So it’s not a lot, but the idea is not to overload myself with so many goals that it becomes unrealistic. I think all three of these “challenges” will help me to read with greater intention, as well as help save my pocket-book and floor space.

Heres to a bright and literary new year, and (hopefully) many new blogs to come.

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