We always seem to make the same New Year’s resolutions year after year. So this year, why not try something different and go back to basics with books? You know, those trusty old tomes that gave us wisdom and solace back in the days before binge watching and cell phones. Books may seem old-fashioned to some, but in this fast-paced, high-tech world, a comeback of the written word may provide the refreshing new start you need to feel energized for the New Year. Here are a few tips from the UF/IFAS Extension Bookstore to help you get started.
Read outside your genre. You may have tried this before, but now more than ever there are almost unlimited options at your fingertips. You don’t have to start with the opposite of what you normally read! Look into a How-To series, an identification deck for the weeds in your back yard, or perhaps a field guide for your next vacation destination. Try adult comic books, manga, or even juvenile fiction. Some of the most popular stories enjoyed by adults started in the children’s section – you may find a new favorite hero or villain.
Find time to read. Due to our busy schedules, we can feel in a rut sometimes. Shake it up a little with a new book! If you normally catch up with personal emails or social media at lunch time, pick up a book instead. You may surprise yourself with where you can fit it in a little reading.
Try a book in a different format. Not everybody has embraced the technology revolution, but between audio books, portable electronic reading devices, and massive online libraries, books are available in numerous formats. Electronic reading devices have multiple settings for font sizes and styles to accommodate different sight needs, and come in all shapes and sizes for pockets, handbags, and backpacks. Audio books make a great option, too. If you normally watch a TV show while fixing dinner, try listening to an audio book instead. Listen to an audio book while walking the dog or grooming the horses.
Visit a book store or your local library at least once a month. See what’s new, both on the shelves and with fellow readers. Book stores and libraries still have different events for bringing groups of people together to exchange ideas. Take a friend and attend an event to learn about something new.
Give a book as a gift. Happy Jolabokaflod! In Iceland, jolabokaflod, or Yule Book Flood, is the tradition of exchanging books with loved ones on Christmas Eve. Start your own holiday reading tradition by giving gift books to your friends and family. What could be more cozy than settling in for a long winter’s nap with a new book?
Join or start a book club. Yeah, we’ve all tried this one – or at least talked about it – but maybe we should give it another go. Try an specific theme that coincides with your other interests – if you’re in a garden club, discuss a new growing guide or identification deck. Start a brunch club with the idea of discussing favorite cookbooks. No time for novels? Start a short story club. Tailor stories to fit the seasons and holidays.
Share a book with someone who has opposing views. This is a controversial one. We all have someone in our lives whom we love (or tolerate) with notions that we don’t agree with or understand. Most likely that person feels the same of you. Instead of arguing, why not share a book that influenced you? The book doesn’t have to be political, financial, or environmental. A biography or a novel about growing up in a certain time or place could provide insight into another person’s world view. Or something as small as a booklet on mosquito control techniques could form a connection with a fellow homeowner. Bonding as fellow readers can help to bridge ideological divides.
Try a New Year’s resolution that will really improve your life. In 2019, book a resolution to read!
For new books and gift ideas, visit the UF/IFAS Extension Bookstore at ifasbooks.ifas.ufl.edu.