A 2018 Ode to 2017 Habits

I wish I read quickly. I counted thirty-five unread books on my make-shift bookshelf – thirty-seven, if I count the recently purchased Petty: The Biography and The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing.

The unread books range from The Last Battle of the Chronicles of Narnia series to Bob Dylan’s Chronicles: Volume 1, from my borrowed copy of Wild to On the Road. Why did I read the entire Narnia series save for the last novel? Maybe tales beyond the page beckoned by the time I completed The Silver Chair. Goodness; did I even complete The Silver Chair? Maybe I have yet to read Chronicles because I did attempt Bob Dylan’s Tarantula once. Fear keeps me from Wild. I still mourn the loss of Chris McCandless; can I bear to read more of the losses of strangers who seem eerily familial?

I bought On the Road for my novel course at the University of Montana. The course demanded we read one novel a week. The only novel I completed that semester was Cold Mountain, and that took well over a week to accomplish.

I am as slow as I am loyal. I prefer to finish each book I start, even if it pains me. (This is why I may read The Silver Chair just to be safe, and why I still count Jane Eyre “unread,” though I definitely started to read it.) I am loyal to the familiar. I love to reread Gone with the Wind and Pride and Prejudice, which explains the plethora of unread books – borrowed, given, and purchased-on-a-whim – sitting on my makeshift bookshelf.

The familiar is safe, but it makes for a small library.

Here’s to growing my library in the new year, along with all the other usual and reasonable “growth-centered” resolutions. Here’s to slowing down. Here’s to patience. New years tend to awaken a thousand dormant dreams and goals; Januarys tend to motivate ever fiber to make it all happen right now. I burn out before February arrives. In March, I recalibrate to revive a thousand more dreams. The cycle continues, unbroken. I would rather read slowly and take my time this year; I would rather experience actual progress.

Here’s to maintaining a few old habits this year. Here’s to reading slowly and slowing down instead of rushing headlong into yet another new year with a thousand well-intentioned resolutions.

Question of the Day: Which quality habits would you like to maintain in 2018? Jumpstart the conversation; comment below.




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