Yes, in a total break with tradition on if all else fails… I’m actually writing my New Year’s post on New Year’s day. I said things were going to be different this year.
And to shake things up even further, I’ve decided to make a New Year’s Resolution. Not an intention, but an actual Resolution, with a capital ‘R’.
A little earlier today I was closing off my Books Read page for 2015 and noticed that I don’t really read non-fiction anymore. Sure, I started last year with a Bill Bryson and The Big Book of Insults, but those don’t really count. And the rest of the year was dominated by Pratchett, Butcher, and Asimov.
I used to have a healthy balance between fiction and non-fiction in my reading, and I actually used to read works of fiction that were more grounded in reality as well. But that was long ago, before my idealism made way for cynicism and reading became nothing more than my favourite form of escapism.
Not that there’s anything wrong with reading to escape the real world, mind you. Discovering Pratchett and Asimov, and later Tolkien, Brooks and Butcher, to name just a few, is one of the best things that ever happened to me, but it bothers me that lately I’m not reading anything else.
Reading is also a great way to improve oneself, and I’m missing out on that benefit entirely at the moment. During my final interview for the job at Automattic I was asked the question, if I had to recommend one book that everyone at the company should read, what book would it be. It was the hardest question of the entire interview, because I haven’t read that type of book in so very long.
So I have decided to change this. This year I will start reading non-fiction again. I want to read the biographies of people that inspire me, books that will make me better at my work, and books that will help me become a better person, husband and father.
For the first, Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom has been gathering dust on my shelf for far too long, so perhaps it’s time to open it, and as for the second I have a few in mind that has been suggested by colleagues, though I’ve yet to order them. As for the third category, I have shelves full of books acquired in my youth ministry days that have never been read.
And to make sure this resolution doesn’t go the way these things usually go, I’m setting myself the target to read at least two non-fiction books a quarter. Please feel free to keep me accountable to this.
And on that note I bid you a marvellous 2016. According to Terry Pratchett’s Twitter account it is the Year of the Sneezing Panda, so let’s start it appropriately…