My Controversial New Year’s Resolution. And Tell Me: What’s Your Reading-Related Resolution?

King QuoteThere are so many great ways to incorporate reading into your New Year’s Resolutions.

Do you want to read more books in 2016? Try Harper’s 50 Book Pledge.

Do you want to read books you wouldn’t otherwise? Here’s a great reading challenge from Pop Sugar!

Do you want to increase the diverse reading you’re doing? Check out WNDB’s campaigns.

Do you need accountability? Try the Goodreads Challenge.

Do you need help with discoverability? Why not follow the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge.

Or maybe you’re like me and have decided to read fewer books next year. That’s right, my New Year’s Resolution is to read fewer books. Why? Because I want to read slower, remember more, and enjoy them more. 

Instead of trying to read everything this year–because let’s be serious, there is no way on earth to read all the books published in one year–I’m going to focus on (outside of my clients and slush-pile work reading of course!) the “special to me” books. No beating myself up about not getting to everything. Books are meant to come into your life when you need them most. I can only get out of them what I put in and rushed reading isn’t helping me.

This is my favorite Doris Lessing quote and you’ll quickly see why:

“There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag-and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty-and vise versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you.”

Q: What’s your reading-related New Year’s Resolution? Do you agree with mine?

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

30 thoughts on “My Controversial New Year’s Resolution. And Tell Me: What’s Your Reading-Related Resolution?

  1. I agree with Doris Lessing’s quote (and you) utterly and completely. I still struggle with abandoning a book, but as I’ve gotten a little older, time is too precious. I don’t judge the work, it’s just a timing/taste issue. Happy New Year. : )

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s funny you should post this today – I just cleaned out my bookshelf yesterday. I had books that I LOVED and didn’t want to part with… a few years ago. Now I can see I am a different person, and I laughed to think that several of them I wouldn’t even pick up today! It’s true – you read books that speak to you at different times in your life!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read way too many ‘celebrity’ and music artist ‘biographies’ in 2015 and not enough of the fictional stories I wanted to. I’m just such a fan of musical artists like the Patti Smith’s of the world, but missed out on getting fully lost and immersed in fiction. Will be making up on those reads in 2016.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m going to read more non-fiction this year. I need to re-fill the reservoir to get some new fiction written. I find that when I learn something compelling and fascinating, it translates to new ideas in fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I made this resolution a couple years ago and it’s worked great since. I used to only ever read novels. So, I made a resolution to alternate between fiction and non-fiction. It encourages me to step out of the comfort of a novel and delve into something I might learn from. Occasionally I’ll let historical fiction slip in and qualify it as a non-fiction.

    If I get something and it’s just not grabbing me, I give it 100 pages. If by then I’m still struggling with it, I’ll move on. Life’s too short to read books you don’t like.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I did the Goodreads Challenge last year and blew by my goal, which was great. This year may be harder as I’m away in military training for many months, but I still need some fun reading/me time, so I am doing the challenge again and added a few more to the challenge. I also want to expand my genres a bit more, and try to get more non-fiction read.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy New Year, Carly and everyone reading the post.
    I completely agree with your resolution, Carly. While I don’t read nearly as much as you do, I’m sure, as an English teacher and an MFA in Creative Writing student there is so much I have to read: books for class, my classmates’ writing, and student writing. I had the honor of being a judge for a Speculative Fiction contest this past October which meant reading and re-reading entries of 25-40 pages in length. At this point, I would like to read for the joy of reading. Also, as a writer, I would like to pay attention to the times when I feel I am slogging through a story and to look at the cause of that. Is it the writing? If so, what is making it so cumbersome? Is it me? Does this portion of the book just not align with my personal reading taste (I don’t like long exposition / backstory or excessive description)? At any rate, this year I want to notice what excites me, what makes me hate to put the book down even though I have to, and what stops me or pulls me out of the story. Then I want to apply what I’ve learned to my own writing. That goal requires reading less and noticing more.

    Thank you for the Stephen King quote. I love it!


  8. Doris Lessing was spot on about so many things and her certitude bled into her writing. And yes, we do choose books because of where we are in life. Often when a book is recommended to me I will read a page or two at the library, but sometimes realize it is not taking me down a road I want to go. Time is precious. Book choosing should lift the spirit or teach or just fill the mind with beautiful words. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I never make resolutions about the amount I read unless it involves others (Dept. of Child/Family Services, divorce attorneys, the Department of Health, etc.). And thanks to Kindle, I can now hide the evidence.


  10. I like your goal and I agree with that quote! I often feel like I am skimming too many books, and forcing myself to finish books I don’t like just because I feel like I *should* like them. That’s partly why this year, I’m trying to re-read a lot of books/series that I already love; I feel like I’ve read too many disappointing things lately. I also hope to read more books outside my usual genres, so I made a goal to read more graphic novels, non-fiction, and classics. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I read what I want to read when I want to read it — that is, what Doris said, written less eloquently. I haven’t set a real goal, but I have long been meaning to read all of Madeleine L’Engle’s books in sequence, to explore the connections between families and timelines. Maybe I’ll indulge in that project in the summer and relive my teens.


    1. haha–thanks Max! One per week is as much as I can handle! But there are years of posts here if you sift through. And the e-book compilation: GETTING PUBLISHED IN THE 21st CENTURY on the right hand side of my blog.


  12. My reading resolution is more books with less words. Last year I read 80 (I do the Goodreads Challenge) and this year I want to read 100. BUT – at least 1/2 of them will be picture books or middle grade or YA. Since that is what I am writing, that is what I need to be reading at least 1/2 of the time. :)


  13. Happy New Year Carly. I was waiting for your blog :)
    I enjoy reading your blogs a lot. To me, they are all about “Be Yourself and Don’t Apologize”.
    They reassure a thought which I often think but feel weird about saying aloud.
    For example, read fewer books better. I wanted to do this for a while but always ended up piling more books on the list and later feeling Not Good because-
    1- I ended up reading books that I didn’t like
    2- I could not finish the books as I am trying to read too many books.
    But this post of yours tells me that it’s more about mindful reading and less about the number of books.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This quote: “the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty-and vise versa” is so liberating, and so true. I decided a long time ago that life was too short for mediocre books–this is a better way to look at it.


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