Give Your Bookshelves A Spring Reading Reset

I started this year with the idea that I wanted more intention behind my reading habits. I’m an avid reader, but sometimes the rollercoaster of reading highs (read *all* the books *all* the time) and reading lows (weeks going by and my TBR pile begins to resemble a small city) leaves me exhausted by the end of the year. A new season reset offers me a chance to manage my reading expectations. For anyone who attempts to better their reading selves, we know that mindset and expectations are everything.

Similar to decluttering, cleaning, or organizing, giving your bookshelf a new season reset is a little step that makes a big change. Whether you give yourself a yearly reading challenge, a monthly one, or just the vague notion that you want to read more, taking this time - when you are already in the new season mindset - will allow you to assess your next steps in reading intentionally.

Over the years, I’ve come up with a series of questions that I like to ask myself:

Have you made any progress on your TBR?

No judgment here. Some seasons are better than others. But seriously, take apart your TBR. We all have that one book (okay, two or three books) that languish on the TBR pile for a few months (okay, sometimes years). What’s stopping you from reading this book? Do you even want to read this book anymore? The beauty of a TBR pile is getting to create a future reading version of yourself. The beauty of life is having that version change over time. Sort through your TBR pile.

Are you still happy with the way you track your reading? 

This is the million dollar question, Furious Readers, and I still don’t have a clear answer for it myself. I do know this: if your method of book tracking is getting to be too much, it’s not the right method for you. Too often we get distracted by the bells and whistles of reading counters, social media apps, reading challenges, and fancy spreadsheets, that we forget our time is better spent with our books. Sometimes, a notebook is all you need. A reading tracker holds your reading journey past, present, and future - have one that inspires you to keep going. 

When’s the last time you visited your local library?

Love your library. Go to their events, support Friends of the Library, go to their book sales, borrow books, use their ebook services - however you decide to show your love, be sure to appreciate how lucky you are to have a library. Not many readers have that privilege. Growing up, my city had a beautiful library - across town. It was a special day when we got to take a trip there (my family couldn’t afford a car, so we walked everywhere - sometimes it would take all day to make it there and back). As a young, avid reader I wished all of those resources were closer to me. I appreciate my local library now in honor of my younger self who wanted more time at the “big library.”

Have you read outside your comfort zone recently?

This is where the “intentional” reading really begins. Are you challenging yourself or are you reading the same books? We all love our comfort reads, but to stick with what we know is a disservice to the millions of stories out in the world. The purpose of reading is to learn about new people, places, and experiences. If we only read about characters who are similar to us, we are missing the point of the written word. Try something new and you may find another world of stories to dive into. If you don’t know where to start, find a great reading list like this one or this one or this one. May I also recommend our amazing 2023 book list?

Are you being a reader or simply reading?

Okay, Furious Readers, real talk. My question to you is followed by another question (btw, my students groan every time I do this, haha): what does it mean, to you, to be a reader? Don’t think about what other people say, or the memes about it, or the endless book articles or discourse about reading. While they all have merit to push the conversation forward, the first part of this begins with you.

What does it mean to be a reader? 

I know part of my reading philosophy is on every page of this website, in the books that we publish, and in the causes that we support. However, this all stemmed from my personal belief that reading is the most important journey we can take in our time here. Reading is how we connect with others, learn about ourselves, and support the beautiful, ancient tradition of storytelling. To me, being a reader is being a part of a grand adventure. The destination doesn’t really matter because I’m collecting many amazing artifacts along the way. Reading big or small, indie or mainstream, many books or less books than the year before - it’s all part of the complicated, multifaceted journey that is the act of reading.

That’s it, Furious Readers. Just five questions that make a big difference. I hope these are helpful as we prepare for days of longer sunlight and warmer weather. Enjoy your reading journey and know we are cheering you on.

Read often, read well, and read furiously.

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