Sometime last year, I made the decision to try to read more “new” books. (To be clear, by “new” I mean a book I haven’t read before. When things are stressful — and sometimes when they’re not — I tend to reread old friends. I think I’ve mentioned this before.) I also decided to try to read more nonfiction. Since I hadn’t been reading much nonfiction at all (except for homeschooling and work*), I figured “more” wouldn’t be too difficult to manage.
Looking back over the year’s reading list, I’d have to declare my resolution a qualified success. I discovered several new-to-me fiction authors, and devoured much of their backlist. I even tried a few subgenres I hadn’t explored much before, romantic suspense and paranormal mystery — though if I’m honest, two of my “old favorite” authors fit those categories (Mary Stewart and Nancy Atherton, respectively.) And I read at least six nonfiction books, not counting the books I read for homeschool or work, knitting books, and the few I started but didn’t finish.** (I think it’s probably seven or eight, because I forgot to put one or two of them on my reading list.) That’s fewer nonfiction books than I was aiming for, but definitely an improvement.
However, I didn’t push much beyond my reading “comfort zone.” In part that’s because my free-lance job, indexing, requires a high level of interaction and analysis of a text, so I tend get those aspects of reading — intellectual challenge, learning new things — from my work. When I read for pleasure, on the other hand, I’m looking for entertainment. I read fiction the way many people watch television: it’s my down-time, my recharging time. Given the choice between a book and a TV show or movie, I’ll usually choose the book.
What about 2012? I’ve decided to continue with the same resolutions and add one more: This year, I’ll try to blog more, and not only about the field of e-books. Admittedly, it’s an area whose development I’m watching with interest, but this is, after all, supposed to be a blog of “book reviews and more.” So beginning now, I’ll be posting more about my current reading and making more recommendations for books past and present. I might even throw in the occasional movie review. (“The Hobbit,” anyone?)
I hope you’ll join me.
* * * * *
* I work free-lance (and part-time) creating back-of-the-book indexes, which involves reading and analyzing the text of soon-to-be-published books and determining what should be included in the index and how the reader is most likely to search for it. I’ve indexed books on history, biography, business, politics, culture, the arts, philosophy, and even science and medicine, though not the truly technical stuff. It’s always challenging, often fascinating, and occasionally frustrating… and great preparation for playing Jeopardy or other trivia-fact games. I learn a lot with each new book. But it’s definitely work.
** One or two books had to go back to the library before I finished them, and I’m on the list to get them again. A few simply failed to hold my interest for one reason or another.