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Friday, January 8, 2016

2016 Reading Resolutions

To end the week I will present my official reading resolutions.  But, if you haven’t yet read my post about the importance of making reading resolutions from last month, click here and read that first.

I have three main areas of reading resolutions.

First, this one is easy because I have already committed to it. I resolve to read heavily in the speculative fiction genres paying more attention to the appeal of the story than to its specific genre classification.

After being the coordinator of the 2014-15 Crime Fiction Genre Study-- or as I have referred to it, being first string-- I have officially signed up to run third string for the 2016-17 Speculative Fiction Genre Study. Now obviously, since this includes Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, it would have been crazy for me not to be a part of at least the Horror portions of the genre study; however, I think this is also important because as the leader of the last genre study, I provide the continuity between studies that is an important part of the experience, but also have a way to move more into the background.

That being said, I could easily phone it in here. I have already read a book or two by all of the key authors in Science Fiction and Fantasy, I review SF, FSY, and Horror for Booklist so I am aware of the newer stuff, and of course, I am the library world’s horror expert, so that’s covered.  But, I am making it my resolution to not phone it in. As you can see in the official resolution, and as I discussed in detail in this post about the upcoming genre study, we are framing the new genre study around the main appeal factor, the WHY, a reader enjoys that author. Therefore, I will frame my reading in that way also.

Second, I resolve to read more self published authors. As I talked about in my Attack of the “Best” Lists webinar for PLA last month, while self published books have been gaining in popularity, this is the year they went mainstream. In her 2015 wrap up of the best romances of 2015 in the Washington Post, Sara MacLean included Serving Pleasure by Alisha Rai, a self published book. This was the first time a major best list included such a book. I myself have only read a handful of self published books and most of them are because of my affiliation with the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project, but this year, that will change.

Not only will I make sure I read a few self published titles in a variety of genres, but I will also be blogging about self published books and specifically how we can and should handle them in libraries. To kick it all off, I have  2 guest posts from an IL librarian who is also a self published author coming later this month.

And third, I resolve to do the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. I already mentioned my intentions to do this in a previous post, but I wanted to make sure it got in this post too since I will use this post to gauge “how I did” next January. Why did I choose the Book Riot Read Harder challenge? I already said it, but it bears repeating:
If you are a library worker helping leisure readers, I think it is imperative to read outside your comfort zone. I realize sometimes it is hard to both create your own reading plan AND stick to it. If you follow the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, you have a great plan all laid out, and it comes with a like minded community on Goodreads where you can share your plan and how you are doing with other readers. In fact, even just joining the Goodreads group without participating will greatly increase your RA skills, as you will be part of a conversation about a wide range of leisure reads. Lurking will get you far toward your training goals. 
And remember, that is the goal of making Reading Resolutions. It is not to shame yourself into reading something you wouldn’t normally pick up. It isn’t even about learning to like new types of books for your own enjoyment. Rather, it is to commit yourself to learning about as wide a range of titles as possible because you never know what kind of reader is going to step up to the service desk. You want to be ready to help everyone, but you only can be if you work at it.
If the hardest work challenge you have in 2016 is reading a book you didn’t like but was outside your comfort zone, I promise you, that mean you had a great year. 
What do you have to lose? And you have only becoming even better at helping leisure readers to gain!
So there it is. I have laid down the gauntlet. Now I am being held responsible by all of you and my own integrity to keep this up. If you want to link your reading resolutions to this post to help you to stick to them, leave a comment. I will keep them up so you can go back to them anytime. Don’t underestimate how much it helps to have publicly proclaimed your resolutions.

I have finished 2 books this year already and I think by the end of the weekend, I will have another 3, maybe 4, done. But it is not how many books we read that matters. It is that we make sure we are reading as wide a range of titles as out patrons are seeking out.

Because as has become my new mantra-- It’s not about you- it’s about your patrons!

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