Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Resolutions

We all make 'em, we all break 'em. I believe that it's because we resolve to do things that we cannot or, deep down, do not want to achieve. Sure, I could resolve to be a better person (too vague), lose weight (bacon's too tasty), or quit smoking (I'd have to start first), but what would be the point? Just because I say I'm going to do it on New Years, doesn't mean that I'd have the will to keep up that resolution all year.

So this year, I will pick a New Years resolution that I know I can keep, because I want to keep it. And also, because there is no work involved. Well, no work that isn't fun, I should say.

This upcoming year, 2011, I resolve to read the following books:

  • The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  • Life by Keith Richards
  • Nothing Left to Burn by Jay Varner
  • Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale by Russel T. Davies
  • A History of Britain Vol I by Simon Sharma
  • The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
Why twelve? Well, there's twelve months in a year, so one book a month seems a sensible goal. Though it's not like I can't read them all at once if I want to, or, for that matter, won't read anything else. Anyway, I've picked mostly books that I've bought and haven't yet got around to reading. It looks like a nice mix of fiction from the classics (Bronte) to the contemporary (Pynchon), non-fiction from the culturally relevant (Friedan) to my personal interests (Davies), and memoir from the highly literary (Varner) to the questionably accurate (Richards). And of course, lots of sci-fi/fantasy.

So, to those of you who have trouble keeping your New Years resolutions, why don't you join me in my experiment. Come up with your own list of 12 books to read next year. Or vow to see a play or visit a different gallery every month. Go to 12 concerts of performers you've never heard of. Watch 12 foreign films or silent classics. And so on.

These may not exactly be "conventional" New Years resolutions, but art can improve and enrich our lives just as much as diet and exercise.