Of all the terrible New Year resolutions that will have been made this week, reading more is one that sounds easy but is incredibly tough. But with a slew of reading tech available, perhaps now is the best time ever to churn through the pages like never before.
Jeff Ryan explains on Slate how he set himself a fiendish challenge last year: to read—and finish—a new book for every day of the year. But he didn't achieve his goal by choosing short books. Instead, he took a rather more geeky tack:
[M]y prime directive was: no min-maxing. In Dungeons and Dragons, "min-maxing" is focusing on one character attribute to the exclusion of everything else. (Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory is an excellent example of someone who min-maxes intelligence, stealing points from charisma and dexterity.)...
The idea of a full book a day-going from title page to back-jacket blurbs-went quickly out the window. I read lots of books at once, and can go days making progress in five or six volumes without technically finishing any of them. Then there are flat-out busy days, where the actual drop-dead demands of my job and parenting mean there is not a second to spare for reading...
But for every period behind the eight ball, I had weeks when I was days or even weeks ahead of schedule. A slack day at work, an hour doing yard work with the iPod, a solo plane ride or overnight stay-these were my moments, and I seized them.
Indeed, the challenge saw Ryan abandon some tech only to embrace others: he gave up video games for the year, for instance (he read books about them instead), but became an audio book addict. The whole idea is a fascinating one, and the pervasiveness of ereaders, Kindle apps and audio books as MP3s should—in theory at least—only serve to make it more achievable than ever. If you want to read about his experiences in more detail you can read his Slate article here and, if you're interested, his reading list is here. [Slate]