Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

reading resolutions

Normally I think such resolutions are bad ideas, but these by Wayne Gooderham are sufficiently anti-resolutional that I like them:

My Reading Resolutions are important to me for the simple reason that if I'm not reading something in which my full interest is engaged, the feeling of disaffection tends to encroach upon all other areas of my life, rendering me a shadow of my former self, left to wander listlessly from room to room, sighing heavily and gazing wanly out of windows. Well, metaphorically, at least.

Of course, first and foremost, reading should be a pleasurable activity. Therefore, the whole point of my Reading Resolutions is to make me a better reader (thereby increasing my reading pleasure and the pleasure I get out of life, and so on). To this end, if it turns out I have misjudged a resolution and it is in fact having a detrimental effect on my reading life (and all that follows), I don't hesitate in breaking it. For example, one of my RRs for 2009 was to finish every book I started. This was a resolution I was forced to stick to at the time due to a project I was working on, and meant long and painful slogs through The Tin Drum, East of Eden and The Glass Bead Game (apologies in advance if these are your favourite books: they just weren't for me). Now, at the end of 2009, I'm happily breaking this resolution and reverting back to my old reading habit of giving up on books I'm not enjoying, on the grounds that life's too short to spend reading something you don't like.


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