Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Three Reading Resolutions for 2016

When you’re passionate about something, it won’t do to set yourself insane targets. You just end up turning it into a chore, something that stresses you out, rather than something you love. Of course, being a total grasshopper isn’t going to help either. Structure and discipline are imperative to doing justice to your efforts.

Over the years, I’ve set many resolutions. Read a book a week. Write a book in three months. Review 100 books a year (I ended up speed reading… all right. Skimming through, before I cried just a little, got angry with high achievers who makes things look so easy and abandoned the idea altogether). Setting stringent targets has never worked out for me. Obviously. It isn’t so much the stress of achieving so much, as the standard I expect from my work. Unwittingly, I have set myself up for failure year after bloody year!

But call me an optimist, fool… masochist… I’ll be damned if I don’t make any resolutions this year! What else is there to look forward to after the season of excesses ends and the New Year begins?
This year however, I’m going to try and be a little smarter and go for quality and structure over quantity and chaos! Here goes:

1. Enough with the bestsellers, bestselling authors and books that got turned into movies… I feel like I’ve spent all of last year reading fast paced, bestselling literature. It’s been fun, formulaic, easy and escapist. But now it’s time to get back to reading books that actually challenge and change me as a person.

2. Read more African literature! Over the last few months, I noticed that my shelves were bursting at the seams with books from the US and UK. There are even a few from Australia and a sizable number from Japan. What I’m seriously lacking, however, is literature from Africa. How is that possible? Is that normal for a literary blogger? 2016 is the year to change that! This year, I’m going to try and make every second book I read come from an African author.

3. Read more South Asian novels, especially literature in translation: As I spent the end of the year reliving my days as a student of literature with Perumal Murugan’s One Part Woman, I started to wonder why I don’t read more literature from South Asia, especially literature in translation! Have I become lazy in my reading habits or am I simply happier escaping to the words of the West rather than see what my own kin have to say? I’m not saying that I should be boycotting anything. But yes, it’s important to balance it out with a few voices from my own neighbourhood.

I am tempted to add more resolutions to this list. Stuff like: Write at least one blog post a week. Experiment with posts so you can add variety beyond the regular reviews, rants and raves. Etc. But I’m not going to do that because this year, I truly want to enjoy The Caterpillar Café. No point burdening the poor blog with my own big promises and unrealistic expectations, eh?

I hope you set yourself some good quality resolutions that set you up for cheers over chaos too! Here’s wishing you a Happy Christmas and a spectacular New Year.

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