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2010 – The Year of Reading Deliberately

Earlier in 2009, I was thinking about my reading habits and how they’ve changed since I started blogging. Of course, I’ve been reading more, which is fantastic. But a downfall of blogging (and being on Twitter) is hearing about REALLY FANTASTIC BOOKS. I know. Terrible problem.

But seriously, that IS a problem. Because as a reader? I hear about a new book and I want to have read it YESTERDAY. It’s not just that the book goes on to that ever-expanding list of books I want to read. Rather, I either mooch the book, buy the book, or check the book out from the library IMMEDIATELY. And I read that book! And just as I finish that book, another book catches my attention and I’m immediately distracted by this new book, like a two-year-old distracted by something shiny.

Don’t get me wrong! I read some AWESOME books in 2009, many more than I read in 2008. It’s just…well…

What got me thinking about this back in 2009 was the fact that I’ve been wanting to read more Joyce Carol Oates for a LONG TIME. Like, since before I was blogging. And yet I’ve only read one book by Joyce Carol Oates since I’ve been blogging. I decided that reading like a two-year-old distracted by something shiny is not how I want to read. I want to read more deliberately.

What kind of books do I want to read in 2010? I want to read more literary fiction. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to read YA. It just means that I want to read more of what I’m passionate about, and I’m passionate about literary fiction.

Sidebar: If I read more literary fiction this year, that means I’ll also read more crime fiction/mystery/thriller/suspense books, because those are my snacks in between hearty meals.

Does this mean I won’t do blog tours or accept review copies? Absolutely not! Reading deliberately isn’t about cutting back on anything, really. It’s just about being deliberate about what I *do* accept. In fact, I think I did well on accepting only books I was really interested in in 2009 (mostly literary fiction and a random YA), so I don’t necessarily need to cut back there. Reading deliberately is, well, just that: reading deliberately.

Since I’ve been planning this out, I have a couple of challenges that I’ll be unveiling. They’re not fantastic or amazing, they’re just challenges that will help *me* achieve my reading goals. If they happen to interest you, then I’d love for you to join in!

Here are some authors I plan on reading deliberately in 2010:

  • Joyce Carol Oates
  • Margaret Atwood
  • Leo Tolstoy
  • Barbara Kingsolver
  • John Irving
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Thomas Trofimuk

I haven’t laid out all the books I’ll read this year, as there should be room for spontaneity. But part of reading deliberately will include reading more of what I already own, and less of what I can acquire immediately. Another part of reading deliberately will include having more of a balance in books that challenge me and books that are pure entertainment.

Might this mean that I won’t read AS MANY books as I did in 2009? Or that I won’t reach my goal of reading 100 books in 2010? Perhaps. But I think my quality will make my quantity moot.

Many bloggers are taking up reading deliberately. The term was coined on Twitter after Jennifer from The Literate Housewife, Vassily from 1330v, Rebecca from The Book Lady’s Blog, and Michelle from Galleysmith were chatting on Twitter about this very topic. Here are some bloggers who are making 2010 The Year of Reading Deliberately:

The Book Lady’s Blog

The Literate Housewife

1330v

Galleysmith

Nomadreader

Books and Movies

Care’s Online Book Club

Shelf Love

Rebecca Reads

Linus’s Blanket

Medieval Bookworm

What are your reading goals for 2010? If you’re a non-blogger, what are your reading habits? How do you choose your next book? If you’re a blogger, does blogging help you with your reading goals or hinder you?

35 comments »

35 Responses to “2010 – The Year of Reading Deliberately”

  1. Nicole

    I really feel you on JCO. I have several of her books that I have yet to read. I also plan to read a lot from my shelves. The goal is to read at least 50-75 books that I already have and that’s one of my additional rules fir the challenges that I am in. Good luck!

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  2. The Kool-Aid Mom

    I completely understand! At least you’ve actually read those books, mine are gathering dust while I’ve flitted about like a lost butterfly from book to computer games to staring blankly at a screen… whatever took my fancy. Which is why I have a massive stack of ARCs now. I wanted, then didn’t read them because I wanted something else. You might be onto something there with the 2-year-old theory. I’ve got the attention span of a cocker spaniel, I swear!

    I’ve actually pretty much planned out my whole year of reading. Spontinaeity may actually be a distraction for me.

    Good luck πŸ™‚

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  3. Meghan

    I definitely relate to the child distracted by shiny things idea. Everything everyone else was reading, I want to read too. Of course there is value in reading what other people think is great, but not at the expense of reading what I have intended to for years. Good luck with your reading deliberately!

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  4. Heather

    Last year I made a goal for myself that I would read more (I’d been slacking by my own standards), and would only read books that were new to me. As in not re-reading anything, and for me that’s a tough sell because I have a few authors and books that I re-read obsessively. Like, 2 or 3 times a year.

    And I made it through! This year I don’t have any specific goals for myself (other than getting through all the actual books I have before allowing myself to buy any more for my Kindle, because we’re moving in the summer and I know I won’t want to keep or move any of those with me). I just want to continue reading because I love doing so.

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  5. Beth F

    Good luck! I’m looking for a better balance in 2010.

    I was very good about reading just what I wanted to read early in the year, and then I went downhill. I read some great books and discovered a ton of new authors, but I also read a number of books I would have never read if I hadn’t committed to a review copy or an author interview or a book tour.

    That isn’t a bad thing, it’s just that I should have been more careful in my choices. For example, I read almost no biographies last year (love them) and 9 memoirs (don’t really like them). Why? Blog tours, curiosity to see what everyone’s talking about, book ADD.

    Like I said, I’m hoping for a better balance in 2010.

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  6. Helen

    As someone who doesn’t solicit ARCs, etc I guess I read deliberately. I am only reading what I really WANT to read and then I try to make it fit into a challenge that I am doing. And, if it doesn’t fit then oh well, I’ll read it anyway πŸ™‚ There are so many books, that I am trying to abandon those I am not enjoying (after page 50 or so) and move on to something that I will really like. I do have trouble doing that though.

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  7. Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog

    The analogy to a child distracted by shiny objects is perfect. Throughout 2009, I had my mental and physical TBR lists, filled with books and authors I’d been wanting to read forever, and they were preempted time and time again by THE GREAT NEW BOOK EVERYONE IS READING or the irresistible review offer from a publicist. Those things are great, but I’m so looking forward to focusing on the books I really want to read and to filling my reading life with more quality this year.

    So glad you’ll be joining us in reading deliberately, and I look forward to co-reading some of your selected authors and chunksters this year. Maybe after you read more Irving, you’ll join me in the panties-throwing club? It’s becoming a little lonely…

    Great post, Trish.

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  8. Jen Forbus

    For about the last six months I have started keeping a calendar. I schedule books – one per week. If I finish early, then I move the next one up. It works for me but at the same time as new books come to my attention, I also want to read them yesterday. But I now have about 50 that I want to read yesterday. Some of the older books that I still want to read I try to find in audio books if they’re available. I’m back on my regular workout schedule so my mp3 player is getting a lot more use again.

    My goal more than anything is to work on saying “no.” I don’t have to read every book someone asks me to read. And it is o.k. to say “no.” I just have to get over not wanting to disappoint people.

    I will read primarily crime fiction again this year for several reasons. First it is what I WANT to read. I spent many years in college studying literature from around the world. I then followed that up with even more years of teaching that literature. I’ve had variety and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read. But I far prefer at this point in my life to fill my reading time with my passion, crime fiction. I won’t ever claim to be the foremost expert, but I do know the genre and can speak competently on it, and that in turn makes me a far more active reader in these books.

    I do hope to hit 100 books this year, but more than anything, I plan to enjoy what I read. And that’s what’s most important.

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  9. Kathy

    Good luck with your goals! It’s so easy to get caught up in the book of the moment, so you’re smart to step back and reflect on what you really want to read.

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  10. Steph

    My number one aim for this reading year is the same as your – an honest attempt to select books of quality rather than worrying about the quantity of what I’m reading. I think my first year as a blogger did overwhelm me in some senses as while I’ve always been one to follow my whims when reading, I don’t think I put much thought into what I picked and I didn’t really challenge myself much. I want to try something different this year, which means focusing on books that I’ve purchased (likely because I’ve done enough research to suggest that they will be rewarding in some way). Like you, I’ll still have some unexpected acquisitions and spur of the moment reads, but I don’t want those to be the emphasis this year!

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  11. Susan B. Evans

    I really like the idea of “reading deliberately.” I sometimes find myself bogged down in challenges or books recommended to me – not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I do have my own ideas and preferences that I sometimes push aside.

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  12. Literate Housewife

    Great post, Trish! 2010 will be great, not saying that 2009 wasn’t. I just want this year to be different. I like how you’ve picked out authors you want to pay close attention to this year. What a great way to be deliberate in what you read. I also like how you have your “snacks” prepared for you as well.

    Here’s to less distracting shiny objects and more reading from the heart.

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  13. Wendy

    I think I have always been a bit of a deliberate reader in that I really pick and choose which books I want to read, which ones I want to accept, which authors I want to get to know better, etc… Like you, I love to squeeze in some entertaining, fun reads between the more serious meat and potatoes of the literary fiction (which I admit is my favorite genre). You’ve chosen some great authors to read more of in 2010: Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, Leo Tolstoy, Barbara Kingsolver, and John Irving are some of my most favorite authors.

    Happy Reading, Trish…I expect this to be a great year in books!!

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  14. Prongs

    haha I am kind of doing this but I have been calling it the year of the classics. Actually it is a bit of a continuation from last year since I also said that for 2009. Unfortunatly I did not bust through as many ‘classics’ as I had anticipated so I am carrying the idea over to 2010. I can wait to see some reviews from these authors since I am a huge fan of many of them!!

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  15. Florinda

    For me, part of “reading deliberately” DOES mean cutting back on accepting review books. It also means I’ve signed on for a few reading challenges – and may be hatching one of my own! – because they really do seem to help me focus my reading on THE BOOKS I ALREADY HAVE. It may also mean shopping for books more deliberately and slowing down the pace of additions to TBR Purgatory – but I won’t swear to that part of it yet.

    Good luck with your goals, Trish! (And that reminds me…I’ve got a few Joyce Carol Oates novels in TBR myself!)

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  16. Nan

    I want to read another Atwood and Kingsolver book too. I’ve read one book by each author and loved them both. Great post and enjoy your books!

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  17. zibilee

    This year I want to read more from my shelves, more classics, and more authors that have been recommended in literary fiction. I’d also love to brush up on my history and read more fantasy. I know, that seems like a lot…even to me, but I want my reading to be a bit more focused in the upcoming year. Part of my problem is that I don’t read as often or as much as I should, and I am also going to be looking forward to shutting off the t.v. and taking those wasted hours to read long into the night. Heck, it’s what I’ve got a book light for, right? I am glad to hear that you are going to do some thoughtful reading as well and are planning on being more purposeful in your reading habits for the year. I wish you great success with your plans, and I look forward to stopping by here to see some of these reviews. Especially those on the works of Oates, she really intrigues me, and sadly, I know little about her books.

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  18. Kay

    I love that phrase “reading deliberately” and, yes, I’ve been seeing it all over the place. I wish you luck and hope to do the same myself. I love reading blogs, but I end up wanting way too many books when my shelves overflow. I need to be able to read about a book and then say, maybe one day, and turn back to my current read. Need to quit feeling like I must have so many books right this minute. The internet and ease of purchasing has done this for us. Guess it will just take discipline, like anything else. Again, good luck with your 2010 reading.

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  19. Teresa

    The shiny new object analogy is *perfect.* There are so many books I’ve wanted to read for years and years–since long before I started blogging, but with blogging, it’s so easy to get focused on the new, or on what people are talking about right now. But then I think that maybe, just maybe, if I start talking more about my favorite classic authors or the authors I’ve always meant to read more of, then others will start talking about them too. And even if they don’t, I’ll have had the pleasure of reading some very good books that I’ve always wanted to read. (Well, I hope they’re very good books.)

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  20. Vasilly

    I have to say that blogging sometimes hinder my reading. I think you put it perfectly when you wrote that it’s like being a distracted two year-old. I’ve read so many books last year because of recommendations. Many were great, but it’s becoming a rare thing for me to read books I’ve picked out myself. Count me in on the challenge. I have books from every author you’ve listed on my shelves now. I’m hoping to get to Hemingway soon. Good luck with all your goals.

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  21. Alexia561

    Great post! I’m another one who is constantly distracted by the shiny new books! I’m working on resisting the temptation to grab a copy immediately and am putting them on a virtual TBR list instead.

    Like Beth, I’m looking for a better balance in 2010 and on saying no to review offers that I don’t think are a good fit. I’m still trying to expand my reading boundaries and discover new genres, but they still have to be something that grabs my interest.

    I really like the idea of reading deliberately, and wish you the best of luck in achieving your goal!

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  22. Jenny

    Oh, I so feel this. I haven’t read nearly as many of my own books as I used to, and even though it’s great to have so many shiny new ones, I definitely want to try to be more deliberate about the shiny new ones I choose. I want to leave time for rereads, especially!

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  23. Tracie Yule

    I purposely do not have reading goals. Okay, I have a goal of reviewing one book a week on my blog…that’s it. I enjoy reading and I feel if I make too much of a task out of it…I won’t enjoy it anymore. This is my opinion today…who knows if it will change anytime soon.

    Sidenote, one of my all time favorite Joyce Carol Oates books is The Tattoed Girl. I know that she is better known for We Were the Mulvaneys, but The Tattoed Girl and its frank sexuality made me really think about how we’re all a bunch of animals sometimes πŸ™‚

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  24. Jessica

    This whole concept of “reading deliberately” exactly mirrors my 2010 goals. Thanks for collecting all of the posts on it here.

    [Reply]

  25. Reading Resolutions « Ashley's Book Blog

    […] bit of a book snob. I really enjoyed the post over at Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? on “reading deliberately.”Β  I have to say, a lot of what she says reminded me of my own reading habits this year, […]

  26. nomadreader

    I love that so many of us are reading deliberately this year! Joyce Carol Oates is an author I have yet to read but have been wanting to read for years. Soon, I shall. Happy reading!

    [Reply]

  27. Carrie K.

    I have so enjoyed reading everyone’s posts about what reading more deliberately means to them. And while I won’t be joining you in reading more Oates (she doesn’t ring my bell), I have other authors I love who I need to catch up with: Anne Tyler, Frank Delaney, Leif Enger, Stephanie Kallos. And so many wonderful authors I have yet to pick up – like Sarah Waters and A.S. Byatt. I am looking forward to this year!

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  28. Emily

    Good luck with your goal of reading deliberately! I, too, made the same goal this year (stole it from Literate Housewife) and am excited to see how the year turns out. I’m looking forward to reading your reviews this year (I’m a big Barbara Kingsolver fan, so I’m particularly interested in hearing what you think of her work). I just started reading your blog (even though I’ve been meaning to since Literate Housewife first recommended it to me last September) and I’m loving it πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  29. Veronica

    I’m kind of a freak and my reading habits are so rigid! I have listed all the books I plan to read this year for the challenges I’ve signed up for, and I’ve got them mapped out so i know exactly when I need to have each book read by in order to be on track to finish everything for the year. Whatever book I’m on, I always know exactly what book should be coming next. I read almost nothing that is not deliberate.

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  30. Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)

    I have a Joyce Carol Oates book on my list for this year’s reading as well! I really can’t wait to read books this year. I’ve already started! I’ve selected only those reading challenges that fit in with what I want to read…to that’s going to be a big help.

    I wish you luck with your goals.

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  31. Sandra

    “Reading more of what I already own, and less of what I can acquire immediately” is exactly the way I want to go too. I’ve had Oates and Kingsolver books on my shelf for two years now and I want to get to them this year. Great post, happy reading in 2010.

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  32. Jeanne

    I am so happy to hear you’ll be reading Kingsolver and Atwood; I’ll be anticipating your reviews!

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  33. Lenore

    You can add me to that list πŸ™‚

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  34. Karen @ Planet Books

    Trish, this is such a wonderful and well done post!! I loved it and really agree with you! Having moved back to the states last year, I discovered that my time was a lot more valuable because I had less of it too myself. More of my time is spent job hunting, sitting in traffic and driving further to get where you need to go and of course my television channels expanded 300 fold from American Forces Network television in Okinawa. They only had seven channels! So, I have taken all requests for reviews from authors/publishers off of my blog and will only read those titles I REALLY WANT TO READ. I did start a book club with some girlfriends, but their taste in books seems to be agreeing with mine and I think that I will be able to easily “read deliberately” in 2010 too. Good luck in your personal challenge for yourself this year. I plan on reading some John Irving and Margaret Atwood too!

    [Reply]

  35. The Year of…? « a home between the pages

    […] from a conversation on Twitter that I never witnessed nor was a part of. But several well-regarded book bloggers decided that they were overwhelmed with the way the commitments to blogging had […]

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