In the OWHL’s humble and utterly biased opinion, setting a reading goal is the best kind of new year’s resolution. There are so many varieties and ways to frame it. It can be big or small, comforting or challenging, shareable or a personal secret. It can, and frankly should, be fun! Your mental bandwidth is valuable, so the time you devote to reading, whether it’s 10 minutes a month or hours at a time, should be worthwhile to you in whatever way you measure worth.
When you think about your reading time in 2016, how do you want to spend it? What does a “reading goal” even mean? One option is the numbers route: decide you want to 4 books this year, one each season. Or maybe you want to strive for a book a week!
It could be broadly thematic – “I’m going to try reading more nonfiction this year” – or narrow, like those who vow to read the bestsellers that came out in the year of their birth. Or you could go for a potentially perspective-shifting challenge (very popular these days), and read only books by women, or people of color, or non-Americans, or not originally written in English, or all romance, or whatever literary bias you may have (or not).
In other words, a reading goal can help expand your boundaries. Maybe you learn you simply don’t like reading nonfiction for fun. Or that if a book doesn’t grab you within the first 50 pages, it’s totally okay to discard it and move on. Or you may end up finding your new favorite author. Either way, you’ll have ended up reading some books, thereby stimulating your intellect, improving your vocabulary, or just plain escaping your troubles for a bit. What’s not to love?
If you’re looking to get started on your reading resolution, here are four new books the OWHL just added to its collection.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Reading Goals: Nonfiction, Self-Improvement, Discover Your Inner Creative Soul
The beloved author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, Gilbert offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She shows us how to tackle what we most love and how to face down what we most fear. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages readers to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of them. Whether you are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in your work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse your everyday life with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.
Re Jane by Patricia Park
Reading Goals: A Classic Reimagined, Korean-American Author, First Novel
Recent college grad Jane Re – a half-Korean, half-American orphan – takes a position as an au pair for two Brooklyn academics and their daughter, but a brief sojourn in Seoul, where she reconnects with family, causes her to wonder if the man she loves is really the man for her as she tries to find balance between two cultures.
Library Journal called this lovely re-telling of Jane Eyre “a sweet and savvy bildungsroman… Park is a fine writer with an eye for the effects of class and ethnic identity, a sense of humor, and a compassionate view of human weakness who nevertheless doesn’t make the rookie error of letting her characters off easy.”
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
Reading Goals: Memoir, Funny, Amazing Cover
New York Times bestselling author Jenny Lawson explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. But terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.
As Jenny says: “Some people might think that being ‘furiously happy’ is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he’s never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos.”
Stand Off by Andrew Smith
Reading Goals: Young Adult, Sequel, Set-In-A-Boarding-School
In the sequel to last year’s beloved novel, Winger, fifteen-year-old Ryan Dean West is back. Older, yes. Wiser? Ehhhh. Now a senior at Pine Mountain Academy, he is captain of the rugby team, but is forced to share his dormitory room with a twelve-year-old prodigy, Sam Abernathy.
Kirkus says, “…the gradual, wonderfully weird (and grudging, on Ryan Dean’s part) friendship that develops between the two is at once poignant and hilarious… A brave, wickedly funny novel.”
Do you have a recommendation to share? Or something you want us to consider for the library? Get in touch! We live for that kind of thing. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this form and we’ll take a look.