It’s that time of year again. The Christmas season is over, Hannukah is but a memory, Kwanzaa is in full swing, and everybody is looking toward a fresh start in the new year. For romance readers, this means looking at a whole new year of reading. How, exactly, then, do we look at that reading? Glad yo asked. Pull up a chair and let’s talk.
First of all, my unending respect and admiration for those readers who march into the new year without any sort of reading plan, confident that they will encounter the right book at the right time, or content to try whatever comes their way. I’m not one of them. I’m a planner. This is not a big secret. I am also a planner nerd. There is a joke in my family that my favorite genre of book is really “blank,” because I go through notebooks at an impressive rate. This year, I am looking at dedicating one to reading, and specifically, reading romance.
Last year was the first year I actually devoted pages to tracking how many books I read, on paper, and how many pages I read. For the last couple of years, I have met my Goodreads goal. This year…this year, I want to do something different. This year, I want to know more.
What, exactly, does “different” mean, in this context? I wish I knew. I figure I will find it out as I go. I do know that I want to keep a pen and paper record of reading, and I want to know more than merely author and title. Is the book part of a series? If so, where does each individual book fall? What is the genre and subgenre? Did I read in paper or e-book? Do I own the book, or does it go back to the library when I am done? Was it a gift, or a loan from a friend? Not quite a book report on every volume, but I want to know these things, as well as track favorite tropes, plot elements, etc.
There are some personal challenges I’d like to implement. I’d like to read more historical romances this year, in a wider variety of settings, and would very much love to dive into the TBR boxes (yes, plural) that lurk in storage, whispering to me across the miles. I also want to discover some great new voices from the world of indie publishing. Though I don’t have much data on my YA reading this past year, I think it was pretty diverse, and I would like to see more diversity in grown-up romance as well.
For me, the best thing to do is spread everything out in front of me, in physical form (or its electronic equivalent0 and stare at it until some sort of pattern emerges. Last year, I had two lists set up, both for books to finally read, and books to finally re-read, one for each month of the year, and I read exactly …mmm, okay, approximately, about two and a half. The question this brings up for me is, why?
The answer for this one, as it turns out, lies in more questions. Why do I want to read these particular books? So far, what I’m planning on doing is following my bliss. What do I want to read the most, at a particular time. This is one of those times when I very much admire those who go into this whole reading thing without agenda, but I’ve tried that, and it isn’t me. I like the plan, and I like the thrill of the hunt.
If I have a thirst for Elizabethan romance, for example (spoiler alert: I always do) where am I going to find that setting? New books? Older books? Recommendations from friends? Probably all of the above. Sometimes, books happen, and we come across books when we’d least expect it, and what do you know, boom, instant new favorite. Part of this is making a plan for where I am going, and the other part is a desire to see where I have been, and where I am, right now. I may not have that plan in place as of yet, but I’m working on it. How about you?
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. Do you plan your reading for the coming year in advance, or stride boldly into the breach? Keep track of when your favorite author or series has a new release? Subscribe to any category lines? Have any reading goals in any way, shape, or form? Pull up a chair in the comment section and tell us all about it. There’s room for everybody at this table.