For the past three years, there is one new year’s ritual that I have followed through on. It has nothing to do with juicing or meditating or jogging, which could explain why I’ve been so successful at keeping up with it. At the start of each year, I create a new Pinterest board that I will fill throughout the year with pins of each book I read. This small, nerdy act fills me with excitement, as it holds the promise that at least two dozen or so stories will surely fill my mind and hopefully my heart (if they’re good enough). The obvious question that comes up throughout the course of my year, and I’m sure yours as well: What should I read?
What to read, what to read….On the bright side, with a library card you have an endless supply of books available to you. On the downside, with all those options, how can you possibly select from what is basically a literary buffet? And how do we find the time in our busy schedules to read all these amazing books?
To start with, recommendations can be found in the many “Best Of” lists that inundate us as one year ends and another begins. We can look back on the previous year in books and catch up on ones we missed. Some of the go-to spots to find well-reviewed titles and word-of-mouth sensations include: Goodreads, Amazon, The New York Times, or Publisher’s Weekly. If you’re curious to know which books New Yorkers checked out the most at their local libraries, head over to Buzzfeed, where titles like The Nightingale and NYPD Red 3 were in demand at New York Public Library branches and Queens Library branches.
The next logical step is to look ahead and plan for upcoming releases. For help with that, one of my favorite magazines, Entertainment Weekly, made a list of 25 exciting 2016 releases, including memoir, fiction, and nonfiction. Also, The Huffington Post has a list of 32 New Books to Add to Your Shelf in 2016. If we can make sure that our calendars include tasks like grocery shopping and dental appointments, why can’t we also jot down the release dates for the books we’re looking forward to reading? Go online or stop by the library to put your name down on the waiting lists.
Speaking of The Huffington Post, they just put up a list of 13 Books to Read Before They’re Movies in 2016. The great thing about this list is that it includes grown-up fare, like Nicholas Sparks’ The Choice and Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, in addition to YA (The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey), children’s books (The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson and The BFG by Roald Dahl), and even a couple of classics, like The Jungle Book and The Little Prince.
The actress Emma Watson just announced that she is starting a feminist book club, open to anyone wishing to participate. A new book will be chosen each month, and as long as readers have a Goodreads account, they can get involved in the conversation. The first selection is My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem.
For a little extra reading push, check out the updated 2016 Reading Challenge, which has several fun options like “a book from Oprah’s Book Club,” “a book written by a comedian,” and a “a book from the library” (HINT HINT), among many other interesting challenges.
Finally, let’s handle that last question, because it just might be the most important: How do we find the time to read all the books we want to read? Well, if you’re a real bookworm, the truth is that there will probably never be enough time to read everything. However, Popsugar has a few basic tips that are pretty much common sense, but helpful enough that they’re worth remembering. Of course, I’m pretty partial to #4 on the list, which recommends that you GET A LIBRARY CARD. As Tara Block says in the article, “there’s no replacing a library or used bookstore where you can also read a bit of the book before buying/loaning. And libraries now have ebooks, too. There are so many free and cheap books at our fingertips that it’s silly not to take advantage of these opportunities.” I am also a big proponent of #2: have a book or Kindle on you at all times. You just never know when you might get held up or have a few spare minutes to finish up a chapter. It was only about two weeks ago that I happened to get stuck in an especially slow-moving Starbucks drive-thru. I pulled out my copy of The Hours and got in a solid five pages. I would also add this small suggestion, if it is at all possible with your personal schedule: plan 30 minutes of reading time before bed. No electronics, no screens, just you and a book (unless your book is on an e-reader. In that case, a screen is acceptable). You’ll find yourself closer to finishing a book and hopefully, closer to a sound sleep.
Which books are you looking forward to reading in 2016?