It seems hard to believe, but the time of year to make resolutions is already upon us. If you read Hartford Books Examiner, I assume that you’re probably a bibliophile (at least in part). With that said, I thought I’d offer a few bookish suggestions for the New Year – and you can rest easy knowing that I’ll be shooting for them myself!
- Up the ante – However many books you read in 2011, whether it was four or forty, make a commitment to outdo yourself in the New Year – even if it’s by one book. This sheer determination will spur you on, and you just might be surprised by the end result. (HBE read 80 books in 2010 and is flipping pages frantically to finish #100 this year – which is as surprising to me as it is to anybody else.)
- Leave your comfort zone behind – Let’s face it: we like what we like. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a whole other world of books/authors out there just waiting to be read. Be adventurous and try a new genre or give an up and coming writer a chance. It may just expand your mind. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, why not make a spur of the moment purchase based solely on inclination? Sometimes it really is OK to judge a book by its cover.
- Haunt your local bookstore – With the state of the economy and the emergence of digital books/readers, physical bookstores are quickly disappearing from the national landscape. (Remember Borders?) And once they’re gone, they’re unlikely to return. Keep this in mind when making a decision about where you buy your books. It may be worth a few extra dollars to shop in-store if it means that you’ll have a bookseller to visit a few months, or years, from now…
- Go Indie – In addition to haunting chains, find opportunities to explore independent bookstores (yes, even if it’s online). It’s increasingly difficult for these treasures to compete with big box stores, and yet most offer great events, exemplary customer service, and incredible attention to detail. And remember: when you shop local, you help to keep the money within your community. (Connecticut readers: You can find a list of local bookstores here.)
- Make the connection – Speaking of events, I highly encourage you to take the opportunity to attend a book signing. There’s nothing quite like meeting one of your favorite authors face-to-face (or meeting any author, for that matter). Not only will you get a feel for the personality behind the words, but you just might make his or her day. After all, writing is a solitary endeavor, and authors are often just as happy to escape the confines of their computers (not to mention the voices inside their heads) and meet readers as readers are to meet them.
- Tag team it – Reading, too, is often a solitary endeavor – but it doesn’t have to be. Consider joining a book club, or even starting one of your own. Sharing your love of books with like-minded people – think family, friends & co-workers – may help to keep you focused and invested. It’s also a good way to discover new books and ideas.
- Give the gift of reading – Books really do make great gifts. It’s finding the right book that’s often the challenge. Before making your choice, carefully consider a person’s interests and hobbies. You’d be surprised at what’s out there (if only you know to look). Presenting somebody with a book can be both meaningful and personal – and it sometimes does inspire a life-long love affair with reading.
- Share of yourself – If you’re really hung up on which book to give somebody, you might want to go with something that you’ve enjoyed. This makes the gifting process more personal, and that connection just might inspire the cracking of the cover. And if that doesn’t float your boat, give a gift card to your favorite bookseller. Most people aren’t going to let one go to waste, even if they’re not natural born readers. And once they have the motivation to step inside a bookstore, they may just marvel at the magic held within…
This is but a small list of the seemingly endless possibilities, so please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments section below. Happy (almost) New Year, dear readers! May the books be bountiful – and don’t forget to wear your literary lust loud and proud in 2012…
Hartford Books Examiner