Checking in

Suddenly, it’s June. I’m not sure how the first half of 2023 got away from me like it did, but I’m a little startled to realize where we are in the year. It’s time to take stock of my plans and goals. Naturally, some of those revolve around my reading life! 

How’s your reading year? Have you kept to any resolutions or challenges from January, or set new ones? Remember: a good reading year doesn’t have to equate to a certain number of books or pages read (unless you know one of our ravenous 1000 Books Before Kindergarten readers!). Instead, you might be reading more widely or diversely, trying new formats or genres, getting to those classics you always meant to read, or exploring works from small presses. 

I do set numerical goals for the year, and it’s satisfying if I meet them, but I try not to let that be my only focus. While I haven’t discovered any new long-term favorites yet, I’ve started a few new series that I’m looking forward to continuing as they come out. I have always been a re-reader, and about a quarter of my reading so far has been re-reads; I know the practice is strange to some people, but I enjoy both the comfort of a familiar tale and the opportunity to revisit something from a new perspective. I’ve read manga and graphic novels, a sprinkling of nonfiction, one contemporary collection of short stories, and one book in verse (if you’re looking for an unusual read, Deep Wheel Orcadia is a short science fiction novel written in verse in the Orkney dialect). I am primarily a fiction reader, mostly preferring fantasy and speculative fiction, so I try to make sure I break out of that (enjoyable) rut throughout the year when I can, or to identify voices or styles that I’ve been missing. In addition to poetry, weak spots in my hypothetical shelves have included books written by Arab, Arab-American, and Muslim authors, and I’ve made progress with four books for that shelf so far this year. Another is books by Native American or Indigenous authors, and I’ve read one this year. There’s still plenty to do, and plenty of books to enjoy, but I like taking a moment to look back and assess.

It’s more about progress than success (can you “win” at reading?), and so it may even be helpful to take a wider view—not, “I’ve read this many books of this type this year,” but, “How have my reading habits changed over time, and do I like those changes?” You only have to keep detailed statistics on your reading life if you want to, but I encourage you at the least to consider what you’ve been reading, see who or what might be missing, then take a chance on something new. 

Our summer reading program for adults begins on June 15, and we hope you’ll take the opportunity to refresh your reading year with our challenges. Even if you can’t win reading in general, you can win prizes for participating in the program. You’ll find staff-curated book lists on the summer reading page to help you get started, but let us know if we can help you find your next read.

Photo by Jason Coudriet on Unsplash

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