Why I want to read in 2016

escapeI’m reluctant to set goals for my reading. Most of my life happens in a context of deadlines and metrics. I want reading to be the exception to that.

True, I expect to read about eighty books in 2016 but that number is a consequence of my need to read, not my reason for it.

It’s also true that I want to tackle my TBR pile this year. My habit of buying many more books than I can read is starting to feel like giving way to a compulsion rather than exercising a freedom. Besides, those books are on my TBR pile because, at some point, I wanted to read them. I should either read them or release them.

When I was reviewing my 2015 reading, I realised that I had only read audiobooks or ebooks. I hadn’t held a single physical book in my hands and let the words flow from page to brain. This seems like a missed opportunity, so, in 2016, I want to spend at least some time with “real” books.

All of this tells me that I want to read around eighty books, most of which I already own and at least some of which are physical books.

These are metrics rather than goals. They speak to the how of reading but not the why.

To get to the goals, I have been thinking about what I want to get from all this anticipated reading in 2016.

I want to step out of my day-to-day reality into worlds created by others, which are populated by people I care about, who are living lives that matter to them and the people around them.

I want to be made to feel more deeply than I allow myself to in my daily life. I want to walk down the street, listening to my book, with tears in my eyes or an irrepressible smile on my face.

I want to see the world and the people who live in it, differently. I want to find cause to hope.

I want to find my fears and challenges and sources of joy present also in the imagination of strangers so that I can know that I am part of something bigger.

I want to be educated, stimulated, intrigued and informed. I want to keep my curiosity alive.

I want to rejoice in language and imagery and dialogue and form, immersing myself in them like listening to a great orchestra while reading the score.

I want my reading to feed the parts of me that I value most.

In short, my reading goal for 2016 is to make my life richer by allowing myself to escape regularly into imagined lives that make my own more real.

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