Starting the New Year and Keeping Track

Goodreads is one of the most popular websites on the Internet when it comes to books. It helps in keeping track of what you want to read, have read, and are reading, besides giving recommendations based on the titles you’ve put in your virtual shelf. One of the interesting things they did before the year ended is to show the user his or her year in books – basically the full list of titles one has read over the course of the year. The website is one big system that organizes things and keeps track of your reading progress for you, which is really, really useful, especially when you forget to do it – or are too busy to do it – yourself. At the start of the year, meanwhile, Goodreads also asks you to fill in a blank space on your homepage, asking you how many books you plan to finish for the year. It’s Goodreads’ yearly reading challenge, and it’s supposed to push you to keep track of your own reading progress, while reminding you how many books behind you are, or how many books in advance you’ve read.

That’s all interesting and fun, especially if you’re concerned about statistics and how many pages you’ve read in the year, and which genres you’ve spent time with the most (and Goodreads has a handy statistics page for you number nerds), but I think it’s meant to be teaching us something. If you do have a Goodreads account, you might have checked out the “Year In Books” feature, and might have felt, perhaps, frustration or fulfillment as you read the list. But a website like Goodreads only shows you what you’ve done over the year, and how you basically interpret or evaluate your choices over the course of twelve months is up to. I recognize the possibility that, perhaps at a certain point in the year, you may have been in the mood for, say, Japanese Literature, or Greek, and did a lot of binge reading. Or you may have become sick of certain genres, and consciously avoided them when it came to reading.

The thing is that lists are cold, hard, factual things. Usually. Keeping track of your reading progress will help in your decision making over the next year, and this new year – if you do treat it as a blank slate, or a new beginning, like many others treat it – is an opportunity to read things that you didn’t read/have actively avoided in the past. If, say, your list lacks a lot of graphic novels, you might want to consider throwing in graphic novels in the mix. If your list lacks a certain genre or author, keep it at the top and consider it a carry-over from the past year – a part of your unread list that you’ve been meaning to read but never had the opportunity to.

I realize that this may be sketchy, common-sense, shallow advice, but the bottomline is that you may be able to discover new interests in the course of taking risks on even what seems as trivial as book choices. Expanding horizons and opening doors by reading a lot will hopefully take you somewhere you want to be. Reading can serve as a solid foundation for writing something good, something that pushes your creativity to the limit, and if you’re looking to start the new year in an interesting way, start keeping track of your reading progress and maybe look back the next year and see how far you’ve gone.

Jillian

Jillian is an English Literature graduate who loves reading science fiction and fantasy, and is a big fan of J.G. Ballard. She is obsessed with coffee, video games, and rottweilers, and keeps herself busy by writing and walking around a lot. She’s currently reading Jeanette Winterson and a lot of YA literature.

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