Looking ahead to a new reading year

My year-end list and recaps will be coming at, you guessed it, year end. I have, though, been pondering 2011 in reading and have decided upon a (overused) motto — less is more. No, I don’t mean anything foolish like borrowing, buying or reading fewer books. Instead, it’s a reduction in what I call the related activities.

For example, last year I was planning out my various reading challenges for 2010. I failed miserably. Not only didn’t I complete any, I dropped most of them. In fact, I didn’t even do well on the challenge I created. While I might do one or two this year — and hope to make good on the one I started — this is going to be a challenge-reduced year and I’m not going to commit to any even at this point.n (For those interested in challenges, though, check out A Novel Challenge, where I could find several to occupy my reading time.)

Somewhat related — or at least having an impact on my challenge performances — is writing book reviews. It looks like I’ll have 42 book reviews for this blog alone in 2010. I certainly don’t pick books to review that don’t interest me but, as I’ve discussed before, there is a difference between reading books for review and just plain reading. There is also the time it takes to write a review, time that could be spent reading or doing other things. All in all, I think 2011 will focus more on reading for pleasure than for review.

Finally, I’ve already started on a major less is more venture for the year. I’ve cleared roughly 100 books off my shelves in the last one to two weeks. So far, more than a quarter are going overseas through Operation Paperback and Books for Soldiers, with more going out in the next week or so. The balance are headed to the used bookstore or will be donated in the community. While there are far less books on my shelves, there is also now room for more.

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.

Mason Cooley, City Aphorisms, Sixth Selection

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