Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Abandoning a Resolution

It’s not quite the end of January and already I’m abandoning one of my New Year’s resolutions. I resolved to keep a more detailed reading journal, recording not just the dates I start and finish each book, but also what led me to pick it up in the first place, where it came from and so on. The idea was to track the ebb and flow of my reading, and to maintain a list of books abandoned as well as those finished.

Here’s what it reveals about my book acquisitions and reading activity this year so far:

I’ve checked 46 books out of the library, bought 16, and received 3 review copies from publishers. I’ve begun reading 23 books. Of those, I’ve finished 10, and abandoned 3 that didn’t sufficiently capture my interest. Ten are still in progress. In addition, I’ve read 5 short stories and 3 essays with no intention of reading in their entirety the books from which they came.

This mad circulation of books through my house and my hands didn’t feel overwhelming until I began to write it all down. I’m quite sure that I would find the sort of record I’ve been creating very interesting to contemplate after the fact. But, in the moment, maintaining it is proving exhausting. It’s detracting from my reading experience rather than enhancing it. So, I hereby release myself from this self-imposed obligation. My reading can once again meander at will free from constant surveillance.

8 comments:

Lesley said...

I agree, while that does sound like it would be an interesting document to look back on, it would become burdensome very quickly, and ultimately detract from what should be a pleasurable experience.

Sometimes it's a good idea to forsake a resolution. :)

Carl V. said...

Wow, it is overwhelming just to read it! I can totally understand why you are abandoning the plan.

Dorothy W. said...

That sounds like a wise move -- the moment it stops enhancing your reading is the moment to stop.

danielle said...

It is interesting to look back at these things, but if it is a chore then I wouldn't make myself stick with it either. I am glad I am not the only one who sets aside books that are not as appealing once I have started them as when I first picked them up. I definitely couldn't keep track of how many books I have bought...better not to leave a paper trail. I did however buy a new notebook to keep my booklists in--the ones I read about on other blogs!!

litlove said...

Kate - I have you down as such an orderly sort of person, I'm very intrigued by your book carnival! You still have 10 on the go? It's certainly made me wonder about my own book statistics. All I know for sure is that more come in than go out....

Stefanie said...

Wow, interesting numbers, but you are right, if keeping track of them all is a chore, then it's not worth it.

patricia said...

Honestly, I don't know how some people are able to be so organized in their reading! I'm the worst. I don't keep track, don't make lists, and certainly DON'T make resolutions! I would think it would be overwhelming to put all this pressure on yourself, when you should be happy and relaxed, enjoying all the pleasures in reading good books.

Janice said...

10 at a time is a lot! My maximum at a time is 7.