Saturday, January 5, 2013

5 Reading Projects for 2013

In the past, I've set reading goals for myself with various degrees of success.  I'd say I wanted to read "X" number of books or comics, and in the end, it always felt like I was punishing myself for not being as interested in one goal as I was for another.

This year, I'm taking a different tack.  Instead of talking about things I know I will do (read 2013 comics, read mini-comics, etc.) am I going to concentrate on some things I want to work. None of these projects are make or break.  I'm not going to try to hit a goal. Instead, I'm going to see, month to month, how I am doing at tackling each project.

This year's projects center around books I already own in physical copies.  In future years, I may open up some digital projects, but since they don't actually take up space in my life (other than on a hard drive that's 750gig big), I am less concerned about them.  Right now, I am looking squarely at things that take up shelf space or are stored in boxes, with a goal of finding out just what belongs and what I can live without.

Right now, I have roughly 4 bookcases devoted to comics and probably about 5 bookshelves worth of comics to put on them.  I do not want any more bookcases (in fact, ideally, I'd get the total down to three, if at all possible) and of course, over the course of a year, new comic collections come into the house.  Therefore, one of the big things I want to do is get the comic trades I picked up for a dollar or three here and there read, to see if I want to keep them or if they can be passed on down the line.

I also have things that I bought ages ago that I loved at the time.  Key phrase is "at the time."  My tastes have changed, so now certain things (Morrison X-Men, I'm looking at you) may no longer be required on my limited bookshelves.  I've done this in the past (I sold off my Crumb collections for this reason) and this seems like a good year to do it again.

So with that in mind, here are my four reading projects, in no particular order:

Finish it Up:  This is almost entirely a manga category.  I'm going to try to use the library to finish up reading certain series that I like, such as Nana or 20th Century Boys.  There may be a few Western comics here as well, and possibly a digital entry or two.

Keep or Kill:  I have two bookshelves and several boxes of books that I got on the cheap that, even after moving and purging quite a few of them, I'm still interested in reading.  I want to see how many of these I can get through each month.  In the past, the keep to kill ratio has been about one keeper for every four kills.  We'll see how it goes this year.  Remember that "killing" the book doesn't mean I didn't like it, necessarily.  I just means I don't feel the need to have it live with me forever.

New To Me:  This is for things I bought because I really wanted to read them but didn't get the chance.  Love and Rockets, this is your category.  Ditto for graphic novels from 2011 and 2012 that I bought but missed or the first volume of Manga series that I got to see if I wanted to read more.

Re-Read Project:  This is where I see what books I read and bought ages ago are worth hanging onto.  I'm not in quite as much of a hurry to move this set of books along, but it's still worth seeing what might be able to make room.  I think the biggest target here is manga, where I have really refined what I feel is worth keeping. A sidebar on this might be "replace it digitally on sale", especially if it's a superhero collection.  As a technical note, I am also including series such as Mars or the Conan Collections where I have read nearly all, but not quite all, of the books in the series.

Zine Machine:  I am so far behind on reading the zines we have gotten at the past two year's worth of shows.  I'd like to get myself as current as I can, so I'm putting it on my list.

So those are the five areas I'll try to work on in 2013. Now I realize by having FIVE of them, I'm probably already setting myself up to fall on my face, but I'm am omnivorous reader and wouldn't be satisfied by just concentrating on one thing.  Now I have a few things I can alternate between.

My goal is to update roughly monthly on these, if I have enough to say.  If I don't, then I won't.  Maybe these will inspire some folks to create their own reading projects. Feel free to share in the comments!

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