Reflecting on a Year of Reading
By April Connelley
It’s that time of year again, when celebrations abound, it is the season of holidays! For many of us our lives fill up with traditions and extras that keep us occupied. For me, it’s also indoor time, in Indiana, it is cold. That means it is time to light the fire, get a cup of tea, and a book.
Most of us have some holiday time off work or school as well. This gives each of us a little time to hopefully reflect on the year and think about the new one right around the corner. Most of us think about lots of things, our families, work, vacations, finances, and our health. It’s also a great time to think about our reading lives. What great books have we read? Which ones were disappointing? Am I connecting with other readers? Am I in a reading rut?
In the next few weeks I hope you take a bit of time for yourself and the things you love including reading. Here are a few ideas to get you started reflecting on your life as a reader in 2022.
1. Decide your favorite reads for 2022 Which books did you enjoy most and why? Did you discover any new authors? Did a book surprise you? Did you read a variety of genres? Which books got you talking to others? For the last few years, I’ve kept track of what I read on GoodReads, a social media platform for readers. At the end of the year I review the books I’ve read and pick out my favorites.
Here are some of my favorites from this year…
- The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (fiction)
- The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Women, Her Incredible Fight For Freedom, and the Men who Tried to Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore (non-fiction)
- Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Burman (non-fiction)
- Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park (middle grade reader)
- The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (fiction)
2. What’s still in your to-read stack?
Is there a book you want to make sure you read the last few weeks of 2022? Are there some books you just need to clean out because you’ve decided to abandon them? For me this can be hard, ask my family, I have little (and not so little) piles of books, scattered around the house. Sometimes, it helps to just clean things out, pick what we really want to read, and plan when you are going to read it.
3. Set some new goals for 2023?
Do you want to read any specific books or authors? Do you have a goal like reading a book about a specific place? Do you want to reread any books? Are there books you’d like to try based on recommendations? Sometimes using checklists or challenges like the one found here can be motivating and fun! This is also a great time to review what your public library offers for free. I know my local public library offers digital books, audio books, and of course print books, as well as other useful materials and classes including book clubs.
- My goal for 2023 is to read around 100 books. I want my reading to include a wide range of genres, a classic that I’ve never read before, books written by marginalized authors, and current releases for middle grade and young adult readers.
4. Reflect on the times and places when you were able to read?
Has anything in your life changed that influences those times and places? Do you need to make adjustments for 2023? For example, I spent quite a bit of time flying at the beginning of the year, and I dedicated a lot of that time on planes and in airports to reading. Now I seem to be in my car driving, so I had to adjust to audio books or find other times that I could read. Our reading habits need to change with the demands of our lives.
5. Last, are you connecting with others about what you’re reading?
Did you participate in a book club? Would you like to start one? Do you have people that you go to for book recommendations? Do you share with people what you are currently reading? Reading, even though we do it on our own, is a social activity, in the sense that it creates connections with other readers. When we talk about books, we build relationships. Nothing can be more important than connecting with others and learning something about others’ lives.
I hope you are able to take some time to reflect on your life as a reader and share your reflections with others including your students.
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