Will 2017 be the year you read more?

Reading takes time, especially if you wish to remember what you have read. Today is National Tick Tock Day, a reminder that we only have 2 days left in 2016.  

Hmmm…I am wondering how I can actually read harder next year. This year I just randomly selected books with no real intention.  So, I am asking myself if next year will be the year I actually “read harder.”

“Reading harder” involves the careful curation of select titles that are outside my comfort zone. (Now don’t get crazy. I am not reading any romance novels.) In essence, the act of “reading harder” defies the temptation to read what you’ve always read.  Furthermore, it stretches your intellect, allowing you to learn more about something you already enjoy.

Whatever your literary tastes, every bibliophile can benefit from doing the following next year.

Take a literary sabbatical
Brimming with challenges and checklists, each New Year brings the hope of achieving dreams, finally.  But, sometimes we need a break. Taking a hiatus from reading is not a bad thing, if you do it strategically.

Take a break from traditional novels and explore literary journals and magazines. For example, read Bookmarks, The New York Review of Books, The Horn Book, or even Booklist. Spend a few days or two weeks gaining a new perspective on the power of the written word.

You will come back revived and in possession of a list filled with new reads.

Reflect on your 2016 reading list
Reflection is powerful. January, or even now, is an excellent time to reflect upon each title you read during the year. Log into your Goodreads account and review the titles you enjoyed. Analyze what was common in the books you selected. Is there an underlying theme you did not identify at the time? Make a note (you can leave notes on books and mark them as private on Goodreads) of the books you really enjoyed and why.

Realize this: a metamorphosis transpires when you can grasp the difference between a good book and a great book. At this very intersection lies that which you adore. But, you cannot identify this bifurcation if you do not reflect on what you have read.

Research reading challenges
What is a new year without a goal? Check out some reading challenges. There are so many.

Reading challenges, similar to virtual book clubs, are a great way to meet other book lovers and increase accountability.  

Leverage SMART reading goals like a book ninja
Ambiguous statements like “I want to read more in 2017” are pointless if you don’t know what you want to read more of. You must isolate exactly what you want to accomplish (what you want to read more of) and how to go about making it happen.