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  • Writer's pictureNora Curry

Ways to Read in 2022

January tends to be a month of goals and plans. Resolutions, committed dreams for how the new year will go. Often this focus extends to the book world, and it can be great fun to let it do so. Reading challenges produced by libraries and literature sites provide diverse and engaging checklists to cover throughout the year, offering the opportunity to read, read, read while expanding horizons. Some people like to pick a number of books, Goodreads style, to read by December 31st. Every year, too, brings its sets of literary awards and its bestseller lists, making it easy to keep tabs on the most lauded and/or popular books being published—one way to ensure reading books that others have deemed worthy or that acquaintances, friends, and book club members may also be reading and want to talk about.

All of these approaches to reading at the start of the year can be rewarding, fun, motivational—can inspire and expand the depth of breadth of what one reads. Far easier and cheaper to fulfill through the library than through buying a million books! What most of these goals, plans, and challenges don't often encourage, though, is slowness and savoring. So today I'd like to share another thought, one that can exist both in tandem with or entirely separate from these other bookish aspirations. Pick a book and take it slow. So slow. A piece a day. Maybe it's a book of an admired figure's journals or letters. A book of brief but resonant essays. A book of poems. Open it each day and read just one piece, maybe two. Make it last, something to return to. Because how often do we savor enough (and is there any such thing as savoring enough)?

In addition the bit-by-bit absorbing with calm and wonder the poetry anthology mentioned on the blog last week (Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems), I've picked a two-part venture for my day-by-day savoring this year. In our recent staff picks post, I spoke of a wonderful new children's book at the library, Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright!, an anthology of an animal poem a day for the full year. Fiona Waters collected the poems, which were illustrated in breathtaking spreads by Britta Teckentrup. It's a follow up to the anthology that Waters edited in 2018, I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree: a nature poem for every day of the year, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon. The latter book is a publishing collaboration between Nosy Crow and the National Trust, and you can take a peek inside the gorgeous volume on Nosy Crow's blog: I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree. I open each volume carefully before dawn, pull out the embedded ribbon bookmarks to find today's date. Perhaps I find a poem about snowflakes after January's first snow, or a poem about the bitterness of winter when we're facing single digits. Waters selected the poems with variety and thoughtfulness; that much is clear. They are children's books after all, so maybe it's a funny dog poem by Judith Viorst that I remember from my own childhood, on a morning I could use a laugh as the golden light takes longer to stream in the window. I have a whole year's worth of these moments to revel in, spring, summer, fall, and the start of another winter. One a day in each volume.

So here is just a small offering of an idea today from your librarian who is ready to slow down, not count pages, just count moments of revelry. Perhaps you can find your own literary way to take 2022 day by day?

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