Why I decided not to read. My 2014 New Years Resolution.

My 2014 New Years resolution is not to read books for a year. That’s right. I am planning to not read a single page of printed literature in 2014. The bible will be an exception, as well as any books that my husband suggests we read together. (Articles and blogs are ok). That may seem like an unusual resolution, but as always, I have my reasons:

1. I need to honor my husband. My husband doesn’t like when I read. This probably sounds like a controlling statement, but there are no such intentions behind his reaction and he actually has a point. I can “get lost” in a printed book in a matter of seconds. Although that doesn’t seem like a big deal, I tend to shut him out because I don’t typically share what I’m reading about, and much less how I feel about what I just read. In his words, my reading makes him feel “left out.” Although novels don’t typically bring much harm, it gets pretty bad when I decide to read a self-help marriage book. I can suddenly find myself identifying with a paragraph, and he can walk in on me sobbing and mad at him when he hasn’t done anything and I was his normal happy wife five minutes ago. So it only makes sense that my reading would annoy him. In addition, I nag him about reading the same books. And who likes to be nagged? Needless to say, if he does pick up the volume that impacted me, he already has negative associations with it, and doesn’t receive the information in it objectively. It’s time I allowed him to lead me in this aspect of my life that takes up such a huge chunk of my time.

2. I need the time I spend reading to write. To make it an even sweeter deal for hubby, I am going to dedicate this year to writing about books, so he can find out what I think about them (I hear he reads my blog posts. Hi honey!) In my recent find on the Becoming Minimalist blog, I found a great article about uncluttering books! The author advises to assess how each book makes you feel and to write about it. Then decide whether to get rid of it or to keep it. I decided to take that advice, and instead of spending the time reading, to write about the books I’ve already read. I am going to call it the 52 Books series, and am going to commit, for the first time in my blogging career, to write one post each week about one book. I hear consistency is key to having a successful blog, but to date all I’ve promised my readers is to be inconsistent. And I think I delivered on that promise pretty well, since this is my fifth blog, and the gap between the first two posts on it is a year wide. This is going to be my attempt to be consistent. So I pick (what’s today?) Thursdays for my 52 book series. Currently all my books are in the basement. We just got a bookshelf, so instead of moving all the books upstairs right away, I am planning to do it one at a time.

3. I need to reassess the value of books in my life and why I hang on to them. I grew up in a household where there were hundreds of books, and other households’ “intelligence” level would be measured by the amount of books they owned. I now realize that that’s not necessarily a good indicator of anything. However, I still have a fear that if I don’t display hundreds of volumes at my house, people will think less of me. I think it’s time to let go of that fear, as well as judging others by the amount of books they own. Besides, it’s not quite applicable in this day and age of Kindles and reading apps.

4. I need to clear my mind. I realized that I am quite easily influenced by what I read. The result is confusion and clutter inside my brain! I rush from one extreme to the other, either determining that I need to achieve what the author has, or become like a character I’m reading about. Because I read so much though, it is practically impossible to achieve that many things and become like that many people in one lifetime. I think at this point I’m confused about who the heck I’m supposed to be and what I need to focus on achieving in my life. For the first time ever yesterday, I took a bath without a book. I just relaxed and processed my thoughts. And what I discovered was surprising. I got a lot more clarity, and realized that I need to learn to identify what I am thinking about and to process my thoughts and emotions in moments of solitude instead of filling them with more information. This resolution will be a sort of uncluttering of the mind.

5. I like the feeling of accomplishment. The only resolution I’ve ever not kept was to read through a massive volume on shoes. I did not care for the feeling, and since then have kept my resolutions accomplishable. While everyone else will be slaving on their reading lists, I will sit back, relax, and feel great at the end of the year when I accomplish my resolution once again!

Happy 2014!