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Every year I promise to read better and read more. So here we go again, and since a wise man once said that “knowing is half the battle” I’m going to be honest about the things that will stop these resolutions from happening. And how I’m going to get past those roadblocks.

Read only three books at a time: This was my rule last year and, except for June and December, I actually kept to it. There was a book for bedtime, a book for commuting, and a book for home. This rule allowed me to read more fiction (bedtime) and helped against the temptation to start the shiny new book because I had a quota.

How it’ll fail: My December hangover continues so I’m reading five books, which means I have to power through two, and still finish the other three before I can start something new.

How I’ll make it work: I may have to abandon some to get back on track.

Actually read at home: That home book above always suffered the most. Tidy up the kid’s toys. Cook dinner. See friends. Clean house. Internet. Of course I still have energy to read! But this year I will make it happen.

How it’ll fail: Netflix.

How I’ll make it work: Will the world really end if I leave dishes until the morning? Let’s read instead.

Read the books I own: This is the bookish equivalent of resolutions like “I’m going to eat better!” “I’m going to go the gym!”

How it’ll fail: Did I mention I work in books? There are new books every day.

How I’ll make it work: If I nail the read at home thing, this. will. happen!

Read more academic books: Most of my unread books are from university presses and about the Middle Ages. And I collect them and desperately want to read them. Since they’re too dense for bedtime and too bulky for commuting, I have to make them my home books.

How it’ll fail: Bibliographies and footnotes are the book equivalent of Wikipedia. It’s so easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole.

How I’ll make it work: Ditto the read at home thing.

Read Gibbon’s Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire – all six volumes: A friend at work and I have independently attempted this a couple of times. Now we’ve promised each other to make it happen. Six volumes. Twelve months. Two months apiece. No problem, right?

How it’s going to fail: It simply can’t. The shame would be too much to bear.

How I’ll make it work: The allure of bragging rights.

So there we go. It all comes down to reading at home. And there’s no better time to get into that habit than during the cold winter months when the options are a) biting windchill or b) tea, scotch, a comfortable couch, and a great book.

What are your reading resolutions, and how are you going to make them happen?

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