Starting a New Year

penpaper There’s something about starting a new year that just feels fresh and inspiring. New places yet to see, new books still to be read, and somehow on that first day of each year, the world itself feels a little more new.

I moved recently, and as I’ve been unpacking my books (and even with my Kindle, there are still tons of paper books!), I find myself thinking about how I want to be reading in 2014. Here are some of the things important to me for next year:

Discovering new-to-me authors – I started reviewing at AAR when I was not long out of school. 2013 marked my 10th year here, and one of my favorite things about being a reviewer has been the discovery of books and authors I probably would not have discovered on my own otherwise. AAR is what led me to Carla Kelly, Colleen Gleason’s Gardella Vampires, Pamela Clare, Theresa Weir, Jeannie Lin, Ruthie Knox, and a host of other great writers I’d not managed to stumble across on my own. I love my comfort reads, but I want to keep exploring the romance world, too.

Dancing with the ones that brought me – That’s right. I enjoy branching out and trying new things. Nowadays, I read everything from paranormal to contemporary, erotic romance to inspirationals. However, I started off as a romance reader with historicals and romantic suspense – and a lot of category romances that fell into those two categories. Even though I like to explore the romance world, I want to spend some time each month reading from the subgenres that brought me here in the first place.

Keep reading. Period. – Since I’m having my first child in 2014, I know life is going to change. I don’t want to lose myself and my books in a sea of diapers and nap schedules, though.

More on balance – Now that I spend a lot more time tracking new releases, I find myself getting distracted by all those shiny new books. Seriously, new release lists make me feel like a kid in a candy store sometimes(only sometimes – the lack of non-wallpaper historicals on some publisher lists makes me a little sad at times as well.) Still, for each promising new read, there are old favorites to reread or books that have been aging patiently in my TBR. So, instead of constantly chasing after the new, I want to spend some time reading books that aren’t brand new releases.

So, who else has reading resolutions for 2014? Any books in particular you’re looking forward to?

– Lynn Spencer

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20 Responses to “Starting a New Year”

  1. maggie b. says:

    You are right that having a baby changes things but don’t sweat it if you don’t get much reading done the first few years. Before you know it they’ve grown and you have more reading time than you want. . . . . .

    Now to your questions.
    First, let me speak for a moment of how happy I am to have met last years goal – I wanted to record all my reading (reviews, reading challenge, stray books) on good reads and I did it!

    This year my reading goals are:

    1. Write a list of every book in my TBR. This includes every book I bring into this house, even if I figure I will read it right away.

    2. Take my TBR down by one location – it is currently in three different spots in my house and threatens to overflow those.

    Those are both big so I may just leave it at that.

    Happy New Year everyone and much happy reading in the year to come!

  2. Caz says:

    Happy New Year, first of all!

    I don’t wish to depress you, but I discovered that a baby in the house afforded practically zero reading time for several years!! Like Maggie says though, that time passes soon enough, so enjoy it while you can. The books will be there when the children are older!

    I haven’t set any reading goals yet, although I have signed up for the challenge at Wendy’s blog, and I’m going to do one of the fabulous selection that Maggie posted at the forum. I’ve narrowed it down to a choice between three, so I may be reduced to eenie-meenie-mynie at some point later today!

    There are books (and audios) I’m looking forward to by favourite authors – Courtney Milan, Meredith Duran, Grace Burrowes and others, and I always like discovering good, new authors, so I hope there will be a few more of those next year for me.

  3. leslie says:

    You bet your reading life changes…..soon you will find yourself an authority on children’s books. I started reading to my kids very early and now that they are teens we sometimes read the same books. Some of my happiest moments have been reading and discovering books with my sons.

    Happy New Year! Happy Reading!

    • LynnAAR says:

      I’m looking forward to that, too. I’ve already started a small library of picture books, and I can’t wait to discover new reads with this little one.

  4. LeeF says:

    I hope to be better organized and track my reading more so I can participate in the end of year polls and “best of” lists.

    And I plan to listen to a whole lot more audiobooks if my new job works out and I start driving 70+ miles one way!

  5. CarolineAAR says:

    Ebooks are gold with a newborn. You can read them one-handed while nursing without turning on a light.

    • LynnAAR says:

      Oh, you better believe I have my Kindle stocked and ready! :)

    • Blythe says:

      I’d agree with this too. And for those who don’t think you can read with a newborn…well, I managed to read and review 64 books in the year 2000 – when my youngest was born. I’d kill to have that kind of output now.

  6. Eliza says:

    I plan to continue to enjoy reading primarily westerns for as long as the pleasure (and urge) lasts, including both the backlists of authors I now know as well as exploring others that have been suggested that I do have but haven’t read yet.

    I’ll continue my new release list and may perhaps buy a few new books, but the list will be more just for general interest in what’s out there, and what I may want to pick up later on. I’ll also continue with my TBR list, which is just fun to keep. Sort of a “playing” with books in a way.

    Mainly, though, my intent is to continue to read as the spirit moves me and to enjoy the moment I’m in. The journey rather than the goal, in other words. For instance, I started a “new” book last night, but it was after going through a pile of the ones calling out to me and rifling through them, looking for just the right one for this time. It may sound a little like shades of Silas Marner but the result was wholly other–joy in the now.

    P.S. Like leslie, some of my happiest memories are enjoying books with my son, and also all that I learned from him, looking at the world anew through his eyes. Those children’s books also resonated differently then, perhaps deceptively simpler, but many times deeper or on different levels.

  7. Blythe says:

    Okay, I am saying it outloud…I am trying to read a book a week. That’s actually my only resolution for the new year. But I guess it has a sub-resolution in it: less time on facebook.

  8. Yuri says:

    I want to read more of my old favorites. In prepping for the Top100 poll I realised that since I discovered AAR over seven years ago I have been found all these wonderful new authors and books but it means I haven’t read some of my old favorites in years. So my “plan” is to read one old favorite for every three new books.

    I also think I’d like to read some more challenging books too. Non-fiction or classics. I feel the need to stretch my reading muscles a bit.

  9. Eliza says:

    Although my post above was about romances, I still went with the flow to read and finish my first book of the new year today–a wonderful, insightful non-fiction. Yep, instead of the romance I took the time to select yesterday.

  10. Joane says:

    Well, one of my personal reading resolutions for 2014 -perhaps it will last until 2015- in romance is reading all the AAR Top 100 and write a review about it.
    Yes, having a baby changes a lot of things. In my case, I stopped going to the cinema, for instance. But I have to say that I kept on reading more or less the same number of books. You just have to decide what thing is more important yo you. If you don’t watch TV so often, then you have time to read.

    • LynnAAR says:

      I keep thinking that one of these years I’m going to read my way through the entire Top 100 myself. I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but there are still several books on that list I have yet to read.

  11. Pamela says:

    1) Stop and ask myself, “Do you really need to buy this book, can you get it from the library?” before I push the buy button. Some books I know I want to own in paper so I can share with others. But I tend to impulse shop daily deal too often.

    2) Read more historicals: Last few years I have been pretty burned out on historicals, sticking mostly to Tessa Dare in 2013. However, I am so burned out on billionaires with control issues, I find myself yearning for historicals.

    3) Try a Male/Male- Glitterland by Alexis Hall is intriguing.

    4) Read more mysteries. I read a few in 2013 and really enjoyed them.

  12. Eggletina says:

    I also want to stop impulse buying. I’ve branched out in the last few years, trying a lot of new-to-me authors and sub-categories. It’s time to settle in and work on that TBR that I’ve built up and stop distracting myself with still more new-to-me stuff.

    On a personal note, I’d like to exercise more, spend less time online, and make some progress with eliminating clutter and generally doing a better job of keeping up with housekeeping and family duties (which have been neglected for–you guessed it–spending too much time reading).

  13. PatAAR says:

    1. Broaden my reading. Since I read 4-5 books a week, I’m going to try to limit myself to only 1-2 romances and start reading more fiction genres and non-fiction.

    2. Get rid of all books on my Kindle that aren’t A or B books. I can’t find a good reason to keep them since I’ll never reread them, and I can’t believe my Kindle’s performance is helped by hundreds of books that will never be read again.

    3. Do more writing and reviewing. Does that count on a reading resolution list? Blythe knows she doesn’t get 4-5 reviews from me each week, so I’m going to do a little more reviewing.

    4. Get back in the habit of borrowing books from the library and using free eBook sites like The Gutenberg Project, etc. to get my reading. Like many others, I have to stop my Amazon habit.

    5. Get back in the habit of deep-sixing books that bore me. Being a reviewer has ruined me because I’ve gotten in the habit of finishing every book even though I know I won’t review it and it’s a C, D, or F story for me. I’m resolving to stop reading and let the book go.

    Those resolutions should go a long way to making 2014 a bit happier in my reading land.

  14. Holly Bush says:

    I’m going to read 2 or 3 non-fictions every year. I pick them up or buy them for my Kindle, and always end up starting a novel. When I do read them, I really enjoy them and wonder why I don’t read more of them! I only read one in 2013, Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, and I loved it. I said this last year but . . . I’m really going to do it this year.

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