Myths about New Year reading resolutions

Isabel Rogers

Myths about New Year reading resolutions

Isabel Rogers, author of the wonderfully bonkers Stockwell Park Orchestra series, debunks the myth of the January urge to purge and provides us with an alternative New Year’s resolution list – a reading one!

“All those ads for ‘New Body, New You’ start to niggle”

We’ve all done it.

After you’ve hoovered the last crushed Terry’s chocolate orange segment from under the sofa before the dog gets to it and you all have to traipse to the vet for his special charcoal vomiting cocktail (sorry — I’m having a flashback to Christmas Past), your January mind turns to self-improvement.

All those ads for ‘New Body, New You’ start to niggle. It’s no matter those same ad pushers were, a mere fortnight earlier, telling you “MORE CHOCOLATE NEEDED”. Hush. They don’t want us to remember.

“So, you buy a gym membership”

So, you buy a gym membership.

You nearly dislocate a shoulder trying to get your juicer out of the twirly kitchen corner cupboard where you shoved it last February.

Yoga classes, but with meerkats. Goats are so last year darling.

This year, your Apple watch shall think you worthy.

This year will be different.

The January urge to purge sometimes extends to your mind.

A detox for a syrupy winter diet of cosy mysteries (another yacht, Mr Osman?) or escapist crime.

Surely this is the year when you finally master philosophy, putting the can into Kant and nailing down with certainty exactly which consonant comes next in Nietzsche’s name.

“I’m here to tell you — stop. Relax.”

I’m here to tell you — stop. Relax.

We’ve made it through the scariest couple of years any of us can probably remember.

By all means do mental crunches on weighty academic tomes, but you are allowed to leaven it with stuff you enjoy.

Here are my ten reading resolutions.

Ten reading resolutions:

1. Never be tempted into calling them ‘bookish’ resolutions.

2. If your To Be Read pile is teetering with stern hardbacks, sneak a cheeky Farrago paperback in there too (why yes I’m biased).

3. Ask your friends what the last book was that made them laugh. If you’ve already read it and agree, laugh with them. If not, buy or borrow it and cultivate new laughter lines.

4. Tell your friends what the most recent book is that made you laugh. Insist they read it too.

5. Always believe reviews that tell you to put hot drinks down before you read that book. Nobody wants bedtime hot chocolate all over your duvet just because of uncontrollable giggling.

6. If you prefer Netflix, that’s ok.

7. If you think you prefer Netflix, imagine who would be cast in the film of your current book. (I have lost hours to this daydream and have no regrets.)

8. Eschew guilt about not reading enough. There is no point. I love my online friends and wouldn’t be without them for the world. Books will always wait for you.

9. Re-read. Find comfort in the familiar. What you think are the same words may take you by surprise.

10. Get yourself a wind-up torch. Appreciate the reliability of a paper book. Even in a January storm’s power cut, there will be a story for company.

I hope 2022 will be better for all of us.

Isabel Rogers writes poetry and fiction, but never on the same day. She won the 2014 Cardiff International Poetry Competition, was Hampshire Poet Laureate 2016, and her debut collection, Don’t Ask, came out in 2017 (Eyewear). Life, Death and Cellos is her first novel to be published.

She had a proper City job before a decade in the Scottish Highlands, writing and working in the NHS. She now lives in Hampshire, laughs a lot, and neglects her cello. She is on Twitter @Isabelwriter.

Isabel Rogers author

The Stockwell Park Orchestra series

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