Reading More: The Resolution You Need This Year

Crystal Jackson

If you don’t do anything else this year, read more.

I don’t care what. Read more social media posts, the back of cereal boxes, or a magazine article. Read the newspaper, online or with ink-stained hands, over the perfect cup of coffee or mediocre coffee or no coffee at all. Read as many books as you can buy at the store or borrow at the library.

Read articles online. Follow someone new. Explore a publication you’ve never seen before. Discover a new topic. Read. Highlight phrases you love, leave comments and share them with friends. Read something else by that author or on that topic. Repeat. Repeat.

Don’t just read all the things you love.

By this, I mean that you should absolutely only read things you love. You should stop reading bad books all the way to the end. Life is too short and books too plentiful. You should savor what you read so much that you keep coming back for more.

But every now and then, pick up a genre you never read. Read a viewpoint you don’t agree with. Find a setting that lets you explore another town or country or world. Consider something you never have before.

But read.

If you don’t love reading, you just haven’t found the right book.

So, read something everyone is talking about.

Read something you saw on a shelf and liked the way it spoke to you. The title. The cover. The author’s name. The way it was piled in a stack or standing all alone. The way you wanted it without knowing how or why.

Talk about books. Tell a friend about the books you loved or hated. Tell everyone. Ask them to share their favorite. Share yours. Show up at book clubs or start your own, however informal.

Read poetry, history, philosophy, science fiction, romance. Dip into each genre to see what they have, but read at least two books by different authors to make sure you’ve got the right idea. Read a few more.

Biographies, mysteries, true crime, fantasy. Try a short story if you have commitment issues. Read a few pages, just to see what draws you in. Know that it may never let you go.

Fall in love with books. The way they feel in your hands, their smell, their careful pages even if you only read them on careful screens. The way it sounds when someone reads it to you. Your own eyes tracking words across pages, returning to the ones you love the most just to read them again. The way they tease you and touch you and make you fall in love with them only to leave you happy or heartbroken or changed in some essential way.

Read something no one talks about. Something that got the best reviews. Something someone in your town wrote. Something old, something new, a borrowed book, a cover blue. Just keep reading.

You have time. You just have to go looking for it, those delicious few minutes you can spend curled up in another world. You might find it in the pockets of your day, in quick breaks and waiting rooms, and when you stretch out in a bath.

Put it in your handbag, your gym bag, your backpack, your car. Never be without something to read. Read in offices and on mountaintops, in gardens and on beaches, and in quiet spots where you hope no one finds you until you get to the end of the chapter, or the last page.

But read. Read one book or a hundred. One magazine or ten. Words someone else wrote or words you scrawled out of a desperate need to say what no one else was saying or what you needed to hear or what you believe.

If you don’t do anything else this year, read.

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Crystal Jackson is a former therapist turned writer. She is the author of the Heart of Madison series and a volume of poetry entitled My Words Are Whiskey. Her work has been featured on Medium, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, The Good Men Project, and Elephant Journal. When she's not writing, you can find her traveling, paddle boarding, cycling, throwing axes badly but with terrifying enthusiasm, hiking, or curled up with her nose in a book in Madison, Georgia, where she lives with one puppy and two wild and wonderful children. Crystal writes about relationships, mental health, parenting, social justice, and more. Never miss an update. Subscribe to emails:

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