I feel good about 2018. I don’t have any more weddings to plan, I have a big trip to Europe coming up this year, I’m halfway through my year-long part-time job contract, and Junkyu and I are coming up on our second wedding anniversary. Also, I’m trying to kick my habit of making excuses not to set lofty goals.
Right after I graduated from college, I had a lot of free time and I thought I’d set a goal of reading 100 books in a year. I probably read 5 books that year total. It was pathetic. I’d always loved reading and I had a lot of free time on my hands until July/August when I left for Japan through the JET program. What was the problem?
First of all, I think 100 books in a year is a steep goal for someone like me. I’m not a fast reader and I have a lot of other hobbies. I knit, crochet, study languages, write, and I always go through a piano or violin practicing phase. I want more experiences out of my year, and reading 2 books a week would make me feel overwhelmed.
However, I also spend a lot of time doing things that detract from my reading time; things that I don’t even get any enjoyment out of, like looking at Facebook for hours or watching stupid videos on YouTube. I love YouTube, don’t get me wrong. But I usually end up on there for way too long watching just to watch.
Junkyu and I try to mix relaxation and fun into our weekends. We like to go out to eat, watch movies or Netflix together, visit friends and family, etc. But we also like spending time together in the same room doing separate things. I like reading or crocheting next to him while he plays video games, and he likes playing the piano while I’m using the PS4.
Last year, I read 25 books (barely) but the bulk of my reading happened after the wedding was over. I had a lot less to worry about, but I also decided that before the year was up, I wanted something more to show for it than a half-crocheted blanket. I buckled down and read a lot in the last few weeks, turning to audio books to help me get through long bus rides and walks to the bus stop.
This year, I know I can do better. I can read at least one book a week if I use my down time (about two hours on the bus every day, plus a few hours in the morning/night before and after work) wisely. 50 books in a year used to seem like a daunting task to me, but it’s doable if I actually sit down to read rather than talk about reading.
Plus, with all the free books I can get through Overdrive and Libby, I’m more excited to read than ever. I don’t have the option to go to a big library full of English books since I live abroad, but the Kindle and apps like Libby have been wonderful in allowing me to read whatever I want, whenever I want.
I also want to read at least one book in translation for every country that I’m planning to visit in Europe. More on this later, but I’m really excited to be traveling to so many new countries, that I think it would be fun to read books set in and written by authors from the places I’ll visit. I should probably start reading Korean books in translation, too, since I have so many on my bookshelf. I mostly study Korean by reading webtoons and graphic novels, since they are less text-heavy and at least have pictures to aid me when I don’t understand something.
I’ve already read two books so far, so I’m on track! I read Nancy Drew and the Mystery of Shadow Ranch and Dancing in the Fountain by Karen McCann. Both were really good, and I’d recommend them. Maybe I can keep it up by reading a third book before the week is up.
What are your 2018 goals, reading or otherwise? Do you have a resolution or are you one of those people who choose a word as your 2018 theme?