new year ramblings…

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Sure, I set goals sometimes, but I think there’s a jinx attached to “resolutions”. Especially the ones that you announce publicly, which supposedly gets others to cheer you on… but increases your fear of the crash that will occur WHEN you fail. And you know how the comics and everyone else (including myself) makes fun of New Year’s resolutions. Do we really believe in them, this making fun of them so ingrained in our makeup? Don’t psych yourself out. Set some goals, and if it helps, keep it to yourself, so you’re the only one that knows when you achieve it.

Maybe it’s because we don’t always make realistic goals. I could resolve to lose a certain amount of weight in the following year, but since that piece of information is no one else’s business, why would I announce it? If you screw up a resolution to diet, somehow that equates to failure, while getting tripped up while heading toward a goal… well, there’s nothing wrong with that. Scramble back to your feet and keep trying.

Anyway, I started on that rabbit trail because I was thinking about my only goal for last year. Sure, I was aiming to read 100+ books again, but how is that difficult? I managed it the year before, and for a serious bookworm, it’s not a difficult plan. The difficult part about my goal for the year involved being thrifty with my spending habits. Especially when it comes to books, but I eventually added music to the list.

Goal for 2013: Buy no books or music. Eventually, I had to adjust it when I started back to school, but I only bought books that I needed for school. And I took advantage of all the free books that you can download to your Kindle. But I managed it, even going so far as mostly staying out of bookstores and book sections at Target and Walmart. If you can’t have any, why even tempt yourself, any more than you would if you were avoiding sugar and stayed out of the bakery section?

So, on January 1, I went to the Mall of Georgia, and made a beeline into Barnes & Noble. It was wonderful to get a coffee and to be able to meander through the bookshelves, even if the Young Adult Fantasy section drives me absolutely bonkers. The brick-and-mortar stores should encourage teens to read more GOOD books by including stuff that’s now in the “Kids” section into the teen fiction. Since when is The Giver and all the Newbery books only for children from age 7-12? Borders knew that, before they closed down.

I used to love going into the YA section at Borders. Yes, all the books about angels, werewolves, vampires, and the lot were in there, but they were mixed in with the good books written by Brian Jacques (Redwall), Tamora Pierce (Legend of Beka Cooper, Song of the Lioness, Trickster’s Choice), Juliet Marillier (Wildwood Dancing, Cybele’s Secret), James A. Owen (Here There Be Dragons), Gail Carson Levine (Ella Enchanted), Shannon Hale (Book of a Thousand Days, Princess Academy), Patricia C. Wrede (Dealing With Dragons, Thirteenth Child), as well as Harry Potter, Twilight, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings.

Nowadays, the Young Adult section is full of all the wannabes that can’t write worth crap, but the teens buy them because that’s ALL THAT’S THERE, and because if it’s next to Harry Potter, it should be just as good, right? WRONG!

And since I just poured out all the (mostly) recent fantasy fiction that I happen to love, what about reminding teens that there are classics that are good, quality reads? Some classic books SEEM to be only for girls, but if you think Little Women and Little Men are only about girls, you’re missing out. Same for the Anne of Green Gables and every other book by L. M. Montgomery. The adventures of children and teens abound in these pages, and the characters never grow old. The same goes for Frances Hodgson Burnett and A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, and my personal favorite, The Lost Prince (so many people have never heard of that one).

The Wizard of Oz series? The Hobbit? The Jungle Book and others by Kipling? Almost any book that received a Newbery medal or Newbery Honor mention? Charles Dickens is awesome if you give him a chance, don’t panic about the length. Start with The Pickwick Papers. Sherlock Holmes? The Three Musketeers and its sequels? How about the awesomeness which is The Scarlet Pimpernel? Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn don’t grow old, either.

Ok, that’s a rant I didn’t mean to go off on, but it’s a rather normal reaction when I come out of a bookstore. One funny thing that came of that trip. I didn’t buy a single book, because I had checked the Amazon prices before going. Everything was cheaper online, so I made my order after I got home… but I dearly hope that B&N figures out to stay competitive with Amazon, because the world would be a sadder place without bookstores.

Yes, I know, libraries are wonderful places, too, but even those are threatened by the digital age, and not having enough space or enough donations. I was very thankful for the existence of libraries, this year, when I was borrowing books to make up for not being able to buy any.

And now that I’ve mostly run out of steam, I don’t have any goals for this year, yet. I’m only aiming for 75 books on my Goodreads list, but that’s easy. I have to concentrate on school, mostly, so we’ll see how many I end up reading when I’m hardly trying. Feel free to tell me what you’re reading, too!

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