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New Years Resolutions -- I'm Not Late, I'm Taking My Time

Lately I’ve been realizing that when it comes to books, I have a terrible case of Attention Deficit — ooo, shiny! It seems to be a fairly common condition amongst book lovers who spend a lot of time on social media.  We buy — and borrow, if we’re moderately sane — massive numbers of books, all of which we genuinely want to read. And then someone dangles a tempting new book in front of us, and we’re off on the hunt again. The books we already have fade away, sometimes so much that we accidentally buy them again.

Weirdly, the problem is self-perpetuating. The more pressure I feel from too many unread books, the more likely I am to be restless and unable to concentrate, which sends me off looking for more books to acquire instead of actually reading. Perhaps it makes me feel like I’m actually accomplishing something.

Forget trying to read more books  — my only reading goal for this year is to break the cycle. I want to slow down, stop trying to stay on top of an exploding genre, and focus on books which I know I genuinely want to read, not books that everyone else is reading. To finish series I enjoy instead of starting new ones other people enjoy. To read books outside the romance genre, or to reread, without feeling like I’m wasting time. And perhaps most importantly, to stop acquiring new ones on a whim.

I’m off to a great start — the fourteen books I’ve read this year include nonfiction, science fiction, a book from my long neglected “reread before tossing” pile, some series catch up, and an old favorite. (I always seem to start the new year with a reread, for some reason.) And, because social media is still fun, one book that everyone else was reading, so we could talk about it.

Here’s to a more peaceful reading year.

 

18 Comments »


  • foosrock!
    January 13
    10:32 am

    Yup, this is so me. Have yet to finish 4 books I’ve started, but am here today, scoring the net for more. Thing is, I feel “half-finished”. Like there’s something I haven’t completed, yet I can’t seem to get back to those books.

    Happy New Year!

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  • Great post. I have the new-shiny-must-have issue. This combined with the inability to say no to adding more review books to my pile ends up leaving me feeling distracted and overwhelmed and instead I watch tv. I’ve been better about saying no these past few months and have stopped grabbing so many freebies but I am embarrassed to admit that I’ve only read 4 books from my tbr these past 6 months. That needs to change now.

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  • You’ve described me to a ‘T’. I think I have a touch of obsessiveness in my character.

    Used to be recipies I’d collect and I don’t even like cooking! Then it was crochet patterns, all kinds of crochet patterns. No way in the world I’d ever make all of them; I had three binders full. O.o

    It’s gotten to where I have to write down authors I really want to read, before they get lost in the depths of my Fire.

    Definitely time to cut back, if I can.

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  • That’s a wonderful goal. I wish I weren’t so easily distracted by the books others are talking about. Life’s too short and I simply can’t read them all. I need to learn to take a deep breath and think twice before hitting that buy button. Good luck to you. Let us know how it goes.

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  • @Laurie: Just my experience… it helps me not to pressure myself on either end. Trying to make myself read more adds to the overall pressure. Stopping to find a moment of peace and listen to myself tells me what I really feel like doing.

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  • @foosrock!: If I give myself permission to stop a book, and try to focus on reading I’m enjoying, sometimes I’m able to go back to that book and finish it with enjoyment. Or sometimes I realize that no, it’s really not what I want to be reading and let it go. (Don’t I sound like a wise guru! It’s not always that simple or easy.)

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  • @Phyl: Thanks Phyl. I think it’s all going to be a process, but I hope it’ll become more and more just how I operate.

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  • @Carolyn: I hoard linens as well as books. I don’t think any of us are crazy in just one area. 😉

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  • Yes! I want reading to be about pleasure, not anxiety. I have a lot of trouble with this too (as you know). Social media has been both a blessing and a curse for my reading life.

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  • @Liz Mc2: We need to support each other. In our reviews say, “I really enjoyed this. Don’t buy it.” 😉

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  • I was just catching up on some romance blogs and it struck me, they do a lot more *selling* than they used to. Both of the two biggies now do regular “bargain” posts highlighting cheap ebooks. I won’t say this is a bad thing, but I bet it does contribute to our problem quite a bit.

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  • I know it does to mine, but you know, every now and then you come across a gem that you really love.

    That’s what happened with Kiss of Steel. I got it for under $2.00 through DA and it’s added a new author to my must buy list.

    I have no control. *sob*

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  • I’m right there with you. Between my paper and my e libraries I could read what I currently have and not run out for years and years. And yet I buy new books. It’s not as if I don’t want to read the books I have, either!

    I’m much better at ditching books I’m not enjoying (unless I’ve committed to review them), which has helped. And I have no interest in NA and the various other hot trends, so I ignore those. But my concentration is crappy and I think it’s for the same reasons you talk about. So I’m copying your resolutions and making them mine too!

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  • @Carolyn: It’s definitely not always a bad thing. I bought Control when SuperWendy reviewed it, read it immediately, and loved it. When you actually read the book you got right away, because you really really really want to read it, it’s awesome. It just rarely seems to work that way for me.

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  • @Sunita: Good luck, Sunita! Being able to ignore what’s hot is a very useful skill.

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  • Lynnd
    January 14
    9:46 pm

    @willaful: Oh yes, it does. I just saw a book today on one of them and it was an immediate I WANT. So far, I am resisting. I have so many books to get off my TBR and I donn’t want to buy anything new until I’ve made some progress. I think I need a support group :-).

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  • @Lynnd: We’ve been doing a TBR support thread in the romance forum over at paperbackswap for years and have actually accomplished quite a lot.

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  • @willaful:

    I better go check out that PBS thread because I think I have a problem 🙂

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