Reading into those resolutions

Kat McKay - Contributing columnist

I have a confession to make — I hate New Year’s resolutions. Even the word itself makes me cringe.

It sounds like a punishment you’re inflicting on yourself for the new year. Because, let’s face it, that diet really is your penance for all those holiday sweets, isn’t it?

So, being of the rebellious nature that I’ve always been (my parents can attest to this), I altered that new year’s trend in my own mind and turned it into “New Year’s Goals.” It sounded upbeat, positive, something that I could actually stick with and get done, something that didn’t sound painful.

So far so good. Since I made that little mental change, I’ve actually reached the goals I set for myself 90 percent of the time. Sure, some goals take longer than others and don’t happen within that given calendar year. To me that doesn’t matter, when they’re ticked off the list, it still feels just as good.

Oddly enough, the reading goal is part of my 10 percent that doesn’t get done.

“Gasp!” Shocking, I know.

When you’re working in a library and surrounded by so many great books to read all the time, it’s hard to force yourself to sit down and read the ones you’ve put off or set aside halfway through.

I’m still on chapter nine of Leonard Shlain’s “Art and Physics,” and I started that book five years ago! It doesn’t help that every other page has some mind-blowing information that derails my thought process and I’m left sitting there staring off into space at the cruel mercy of whatever mental tangent my brain has been set upon.

I will even ruefully admit to having an overflowing book shelf that I’ve designated the “to read” shelf (sounds way better than the “still haven’t read yet shelf” or “you’re a total slacker shelf”).

When it comes to reading, or any goal for that matter, what is it that makes one decide to see it through? What’s the magic formula? Persistence? Sheer stubbornness?

A good friend who’s on the sideline yelling at you “What do you mean you still haven’t read that!?”

Personally, I think it can be all of these and much more. For me it’s convincing myself that yes, this is what I really want to do. It has to be a whole-hearted approach because if you go in with the attitude of “meh, that would be nice to do”, you’re more than likely not going to succeed.

And, when all else fails and my inner critic is starting to call me out, I like to enlist the drill sergeant kick-in-the-pants approach — “Drop and read me one chapter right now, maggot!”

Feel free to adopt that phrase when setting your own New Year’s Reading Goal, I haven’t trademarked it … yet.

The best part of making one of your New Year’s Goal a reading one (aside from the fact that it doesn’t require giving up chocolate) is that the library can help you achieve it without you having to spend a dime! Well, with the exception of occasional late fees of course, but you wouldn’t do that, would you?

The library’s also an easy jumping off point because hey, you checked it out, first step done, bam! And last but not least there’s a good chance that while you’re there you’ll strike up a conversation with someone who’s already read the book. Nothing gets you more jazzed about a book than another reader’s enthusiasm.

My final word of advice to get you through this is to put it out there. Once you’ve told your friends and coworkers that you’re going to read such-and-such, they’ll start asking about it.

And if they’re anything like my friends, they’ll be very very persistent in it. The guilt will eventually gnaw at you enough to make you cave in. Yep, that’s right, this is the one time you’re allowed to succumb to peer pressure, woohoo!

With this in mind, I shall now openly pronounce my New Year’s Reading Goal for 2019; feel free to call me out on this throughout the year. My email is

But be forewarned, I will ask you what your reading goals are too. So, said goal is (drum roll please) to finish the following three books: “Art and Physics” by Leonard Shlain, “The Mystic Heart” by Wayne Teasdale, and “When God Was a Woman” by Merlin Stone.

All non-fiction, I know, I’m a glutton for punishment. But come on, aren’t those the ones that are always put off? And yes, admitting that in writing definitely puts the pressure on.

Whew! But you know what? I’ll take this pressure over giving up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups any day. Let the reading begin!

Kat McKay is the manager of the Clinton-Massie Branch of the Wilmington Public Library in Clarksville. You can stay up-to-date on the latest library news and events on Facebook by following @CMBranchWPL.

Kat McKay

Contributing columnist