My New Year's resolution for 2012 is not to read more books but to read better ones and to put in more time researching what to read. My reading in 2011 was characterized by laziness and ennui. I was too lazy to look very hard for new books and often just picked up the first thing that caught my eye at the library; these books were usually only fair and didn't hold my interest. I have a lot of good choices for ways to spend my entertainment hours these days (Netflix on demand, podcasts, social networking websites, etc.). Often it was more satisfying to choose one of those other options than to read the mediocre novel on my bedside table.
But I am, at my core, a reader, and if that means I need to spend a bit more time on the preparation end of things to get more out of the experience, I am willing to do it. Yesterday I took the first step: I took a long careful look at the books I have on hold at the library, excised several from the list that I know were just there on a whim, and ordered up a few that sound like good bets. And today, step two: I downloaded eight first chapter samples to my Kindle. I chose books that have been recently released and have gotten a lot of press--several are from the NY Times list of notable books of 2011. I've also given myself permission to just buy the damn book if I want to, rather than endure the interminable wait for a library copy. For example, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides has 514 people on the hold list. I downloaded a sample of this and if I like it, I'm just going to buy it.
Wish me luck!