Sunday Salon: A Year of Reading Deliberately

Last week I took an unofficial break from from blogging to focus on finals. With school basically over for the next four weeks, I can finally come back to reading and blogging.

Two weeks ago, Michelle from Galleymith, Jennifer from The Literate Housewife, Rebecca from The Book Lady’s Blog, and myself were all on Twitter discussing our reading plans for next year. Rebecca came up with the great name, A Year of Reading Deliberately. I had been thinking about my reading plans for a while before the discussion. This year a lot of the books I read were ‘blah’, nice but nothing I want to keep on my shelves or buy. They weren’t memorable. I would like to blame this on being a moody reader but I can’t. Thinking about my favorite reads of this year won’t be too hard because the favorites really stick out. Next year I want to read more challenging books. Books that I have ignored because of their pace or subject matter. I want to get out of my comfort zone and pick up books I probably wouldn’t have without it being required reading.

Next year reading deliberately means:

Diversity. I’ve read a few books written by authors of color this year but not enough. Last week I read Chameleon by Charles R. Smith Jr.  It’s the story of a young African American boy growing up and trying to decide his future. I would have missed this book if it wasn’t for Jodie over at Book Gazing.  Next year I want to read more books by authors of color, more GLBT titles, and also more books by non-American authors. I’ve signed up for the GLBT and Canadian Book challenges to help me reach that goal.

Re-reading. Remember picking up a book you’ve read before and reading it again? I do too but it’s been a while since I’ve re-read a book. There have been a lot of times this year where I want to re-read favorites but instead read something new. Next year I plan on diving into my favorite books like East of Eden by John Steinbeck, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfeld, and others.

Project Fill-in-the Gaps. I started this project earlier this year to “fill in the gaps” of my reading of classics and contemporary fiction. Sad to say I haven’t worked on it much. I’m hoping to read at least twenty of the books on my list. It’s important to me to feel at least a little well-read. Some of the books on my list I’m taking off while others are going to be added on.

TBR Pile. I have a lot of unread books on my shelves right now and I’m not happy about it. Some of my books have been sitting on my shelves for a few years. I love my local library so I ended up reading library books more than the books I own. I want that to change, so next year I plan on using the library less.

Pulitzer Prize-winning plays. Earlier this week Rebecca over at Rebecca Reads wrote a post about being a selective reader. In it she says that she doesn’t know very much about any particular genre. She’s learning a little bit of every genre that’s important to her such as the classics. A few semesters ago I shared a class with a guy whose passion was mythology. He spent much of his time reading and re-reading Greek mythology and its re-tellings. I loved listening to him talk about it. It made  me want to read more mythology myself. So what I want is to be well-read in an area that I enjoy reading. So I’ve picked Pulitzer Prize-winning plays. This year I’ve read about ten plays that won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama and enjoyed them all. I plan on reading as many as I can next year.

So this is what reading deliberately means to me. What does it mean to you? Are there any areas in your reading you would love to read more in? If you end up writing a post about reading deliberately, email me or comment below and I’ll add your link to this post.

Other thoughts on reading deliberately: A Literate Housewife * Nomadreader * Carrie * Care * Teresa (Shelf Love) * Trish (Hey Lady!) * Rebecca (Rebecca Reads) * Nicole (Linus’s Blanket) *

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36 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: A Year of Reading Deliberately

  1. Oh, the credit for “a year of reading deliberately” all goes to Jennifer from The Literate Housewife. I think I said something about wanting to be more purposeful in my reading, and she came up with “deliberate” and wrote a great post about it recently. I love this concept and will be writing my own post soon. Here’s to a fantastic 2010.

  2. I love the phrase “A Year of Reading Deliberately,” I’m not sure why though. It just has a lovely ring to it. I’m not sure exactly what reading deliberately would mean for me. Probably spending less time buying random books from the used bookstore clearance bin and spending more time getting some of the seminal books in some of the genres I love (narrative nonfiction, mostly). There are other things, I’m just not sure what they would be yet — I’ll have to think more.

  3. I’ve come to a similar decision with my own reading plans for next year. This past year I got so wrapped up in reading and blogging, so much that I was rushing through books in order to have something to blog about. I also wasn’t being very selective with my book selections, and I was forcing myself to read books I wasn’t enjoying.

    Therefore, not only have I decided to read more “deliberately,” I also decided to start with a clean slate (aka a new blog). I want to read more books off my book shelves, more books that I’ve been meaning to get around to — The Grapes of Wrath, Catch-22, Suite Francaise. And like you, I want to re-read several of my favorites. Over all, reading deliberately means reading what I want to read and focusing more on my reactions to literature rather than critiquing them.

  4. Rebecca: Thanks for letting me know. I’ll be sure to change that. Can’t wait to read your post.

    Kim: If you post your thoughts, let me know. I don’t plan on buying as many books as I did this year. Reading deliberately is also going to be about my book buying habits.

    Christina: So nice to see you again! I love your comment. I agree. I want to focus on my reaction to reading instead of critiquing. Can’t wait to add your new blog to my reader. Thanks for the link.

  5. What a fantastic idea and post! This is about where I am right now too. No challenges for me (as tempting as they all sound), just shared reads. I have come to realize that my most valued reading experience of the year was reading 2666 with a bunch of super bright and insightful bloggers. It became a huge conversation rather than just a share of individually selected titles. And it was extremely satisfying.

    I am looking forward to reading four Virginia Woolf titles with fellow bloggers in January and February as part of the Woolf in Winter project.

    Happy reading (the way you want to)!

  6. It is interesting as I think a lot of bloggers (particularly the “old school” bloggers) are taking this turn this next year. I am completely on-board with the idea. I also think I should read more diversely. I am hoping not to accept as many review copies next year, though I’m not sure how well that will work out. I also want to read more classics, so I’m making an effort to do that. And yes, re-reads!

  7. How wonderful that a lot of us are doing the same. Reading deliberately is exactly where I want to go next year, too. Like Frances, I won’t be joining any challenges, except for shared reads, which are really rewarding. This year I enjoyed doing the challenges but realised that a lot of the titles that I was reading a lot of titles that aren’t really on the top of my list just because they fit the challenges, and were leaving out those I really wanted to. So next year I’ll only be reading books from my tbr pile, finish off all (or a number of) books by favourite authors, and just going along with whatever suits my fancy at the moment.

  8. I’m all for reading more deliberately. For me, that’s going to mean reading more of the books that are on my TBR shelf and being much more selective in the books I acquire or borrow from the library. Those hot new books will still be around years from now–no need to read them now just because everyone else is.

  9. Frances: Thanks! I’m also looking forward to the Woolf in Winter read-a-long.

    Aarti: I’ll probably start re-reading books this week. I can’t wait to next year! ;) It gets a little tiring trying to keep up with blogging sometimes. I want a different experience with my reading now.

    Claire: I have a ton of shared reads scheduled for next year. I love reading posts from different bloggers during read-alongs. Having those conversations about books is why many of us started blogging in the first place.

    Teresa: I agree. I have a lot of unread books on my shelves that I’ve heard nothing but great things about.Being selective about the books we bring home does help a lot. I was just thinking about my next read and whether or not I should reread a favorite or pick up one of the sparkling new books on my shelves.

  10. So much good stuff to think about here – in your post, and in everyone’s comments! I am planning a deliberate reading post for Sunday Salon, too, but I’m behind and haven’t gotten to it yet. Hopefully will get it done while it is still Sunday!

    I love the idea of reading plays – as a theater major in college, I read so many – and loved them. Makes me wonder why I got out of the habit.

  11. Reaction versus critique? I like that. I think I am happy with my approach to reading choices. I still allow random selection, deliberate choice and challenging novels and some just for fun. I’m excited about the books I hope to read in 2010 and I wish you much success and reading enjoyment, too.

  12. My theme is going to be ‘Reading Deeply': I’m going to concentrate on reading more books by authors I’ve enjoyed in the past! :) That being said, diversity, both ethnic and geographic, is still one of the most important aspects for me for reading. That’s why I love joining challenges-I can create diverse reading lists and help guide my reading. I’m not hosting the World Citizen Challenge again, but I plan to have a personal challenge that’s similar and still about nonfiction.

  13. I love the idea of The Year of Reading Deliberately”. I think I’ve been planning that kind of focus unconsciously through the challenges I’ve joined. There is diversity, the chance to expand my comfort zone as well as plenty of opportunity to read books I enjoy. Thanks for an insightful post and have a great week.

  14. It’s so nice that I’m not alone in this pursuit. I’m already feeling like a weight is off me by the small changes I’ve already made. I think this might just turn into A Life of Reading Deliberately.

    Great post!!

  15. How interesting — as I was just thinking yesterday that I would like my plans for 2010 to be a more purposeful reader. I agree with all the aspects you listed, and I look forward to reading your reviews in 2010.

  16. Good plan. I like reading a variety, but if I’m not careful, I’ll get in a rut (right now it’s YA). When the new year hits, I’m going back to my practice of reading 5 books of different genres at once.

  17. That’s a great idea. I’m not if I want to read deeper books, though–right now my level seems to be around fifteen y.o. :P I do think I need to read more diverse books, though.

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  19. Carrie: Thanks! I just read your post and love it! I think not feeling guilty about the choices we make while blogging and reading is so important in feeling joy and not becoming overwhelmed.

    Care: Thanks! Since I’m on break I’ll probably start reading deliberately early to get a feel for.

    Eva: Great idea! I’ve always thought about reading books from my favorite authors but time, guilt, and other obligations always got in the way! I really need to read more nonfiction. I’m hoping the World Religion Challenge helps.

    Gavin: Thanks! Have a great week.

    Literate Housewife: I feel the same way. Writing this post still have me thinking about more ways to enjoy my reading experiences more.

    Molly: Thanks! I can’t wait to start.

    Ronnica: Five books at one time from different genres?!? That doesn’t get confusing? I may have to use that idea but make it one book at a time and rotate genres.

    Heidenkind: I definitely understand. I have a ton of YA on my shelves right now.

  20. Great idea, must try not to get caught up in challenges too much next year. I really want to get more poetry, classics and non-fiction in next year, but then that’s what I say every year ;)

  21. It seems a lot of people are reading more deliberately next year. I am as well, trying to read a lot more GLBT titles and diversifying my reading. Maybe for me it’s more like a year of reading intentionally, if that makes sense?

    (Sorry for the scattered comment – I was interrupted about 10 times while trying to type it)

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  23. Jodie: LOL! You can do it!

    Amanda: No problem! That does make sense. I think it’s probably the same thing. Good luck with your reading next year! I’ll be cheering you on.

  24. I love the phrase “Year of Reading Deliberately”, too. It does have a “nice ring” to it. I think, to me, reading deliberately means that you take some books that really inspire you, challenge you, and motivate you and read them during the year. Whether the book happens to be a classic you never got around to, an inspirational memoir, or a book that gets you working on that hobby or goal again or makes you face your demons or whatever you have going on. I love this idea.

  25. Awesome post and excellent steps you’re taking to read deliberately in 2010. I think it’s interesting to see how each person is interpreting how they will be undertaking this initiative as in our own ways I think we all already read deliberately just, perhaps, not as much as we’d like to.

    I’ve got to think more on how I want to stake my claim to the deliberation. ;)

    Oh and congrats on being done with finals!

  26. I love love love this concept! Off to think of my own deliberate year! of course, it can’t be too planned out: challenges really made it hard to enjoy just plain reading this year!!

  27. Kailana: Thanks!

    Rebecca: I love your comment. I agree. To reread the books that inspires and motivates you, helps so much.

    Michelle: Thanks! I can’t wait to read your thoughts on the subject.

    Rebecca R: I can’t wait to read what you come up with. Challenges do make it hard so this year if a challenge doesn’t help me with my reading, I’m not signing up for it.

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