Happy New Year, bluestockings! After bidding adieu to 2013 last night, we awoke this morning to a sparkling fresh start and a determination to make this year—Bas Bleu’s twentieth!!!!—our best yet. And because we love a to-do list, we’ve drafted a year’s worth of reading resolutions and are challenging you to tackle them along with us. Whether you aim to complete one resolution per month or pick and choose from among them, we hope this list will inspire you to explore a new chapter of your reading life. Who knows? This could be the year you fall in love with a new genre, unleash your inner poet, or simply raise the bar for your dinner parties. You have 365 brand-spanking-new days ahead of you. Now get reading!
1. Read something massive. Like, minimum-six-hundred-pages-long massive. Fiction or non-fiction, it’s your call. Sure, working your way through that tome may take you the entire month and leave no room to read anything else, but why not? You can do it!
2. Reread a high-school assignment. Do you still love it? Do you still hate it? I ground my teeth through Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men in eleventh grade, but when I ran into my former English teacher a few years back she recommended I give it another go as an adult. 2014 may be the year I finally take the plunge.
3. Read a scandalous book. Your definition of “scandalous” may differ from your best friend’s, of course, and could include a bodice ripper, a political game changer, the novel that earned Salman Rushdie a fatwa, or even the Judy Blume classic that still sets parents to swooning in PTA meetings.
4. Read a book from a genre you normally avoid (sci-fi, erotica, war memoir, etc.). But don’t select your title willy-nilly. Instead find a friend/co-worker/grandchild who swears by that genre and ask for his top recommendation.
5. Read a novel set in contemporary times, yet in a completely different culture from your own.
6. Read that venerated classic you’ve always been ashamed to admit you skipped.
7. Read a contemporary young-adult novel. The YA genre has exploded in the past decade, producing some of the reading community’s most talked-about books. (The Fault in Our Stars, anyone?)
8. Read a biography of someone you think you’d hate.
9. Read a poem a day, every day, for a month.
10. Host a literary dinner party: Select a short story and ask guests each to take a turn reading aloud from it. Or if your guests are the shy type, try creating a literature-themed menu and cocktail list.
11. Write the opening paragraph of your autobiography. Go ahead and title it, too.
12. Memorize your favorite Shakespearean sonnet or a monologue from one of the Bard’s plays.
Cheers to you!