Bookish resolutions

Posted on Jan 6 2016 - 12:49pm by Claire Herbaux

Happy New Year! With the New Year come the resolutions and although many people have given up on them, I will give you two you can easily keep.

The first is simple: Set yourself a reading challenge for the year. Through Goodreads, or another app, make a note for yourself of how many you would like to read this year. One a month? A week? It’s up to you. Then it’s just about keeping track of your reads; whether it’s for pleasure or education, audio, kindle or on paper. Personally, I like to make a Pinterest board of the books I read each year, it is a virtual book shelf with the covers of all my beloved books.

The second is a little more complex, but by no means difficult to achieve: diversify.
Background for this tip comes from my latest book, a collection of 13 novellas.
(Note: It was French, so I won’t be reviewing it directly, but should you want to practise your French – another resolution? – it is 13 à table, a collection raising money for the French charity Restos du Cœur which gives out hot meals and food packages. 13 authors, some more well-known than others, have written, quite broadly, about food, each using the theme differently and with various approaches to the project.)
In 240 pages and 13 short stories I went through every emotion possible: I laughed out loud about cooking skills and once listening to a lobster’s life story, I was confused by a possessed man, took a break from reading to contemplate the meaning of one, and cried my eyes out over a homeless man. Thinking back to the latter now, my eyes still water.
Books have an ability to make us empathise as we get to know the characters over the course of the book. Here, is novellas of 15 to 40 pages, it seems impossible for written words to have that effect. Only the best can simmer down stories to the very essence and give us pure emotion and thoughts in so few words.

What do we learn from this one book? I love novellas (and short stories, although they tend to remind me of school when we would analyse them) and yet I never think of reading any; at this point, if you know of any good collections, please leave a comment.

So this year, take the time to go outside of your comfort zone, and try something new. It doesn’t have to be novellas. Why not non-fiction, or educational material, or poetry? Or just take a look at some different genres. I only recently found a few thrillers and court room dramas I liked. It may be time to give historical fiction another try. Think about what your literary could look like this year!

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