This is the time of year where everyone and their nan has a list of things they want to change about themselves in the new year. Whether you are cutting out meat or booze, exercising more, watching less TV, etc, etc, this seems to be the time of year when these things begin.
Leaving aside my own feelings towards changing an aspect of your life just because of the time of year, I quite like the action of improving your life in some way that you feel is personally important.
I was asked last night whether I had any new year’s resolutions. I found that I didn’t really have an answer. There are some exciting things planned for 2020: I’m getting married in the summer, and we have a couple of short holidays planned. I was told that those events did not count as resolutions! But then I remembered something I was thinking earlier in 2019.
I need to read more non-fiction.
I read a lot of fantasy books, and if the book isn’t fantasy it is almost definitely fiction. I also read, however, a lot of news. I like following politics in particular, but I’m also interested in debates about the environment, sex and gender, religion… the list goes on a bit, but you get the idea!
The issue is, however, that I don’t know enough on certain topics to evaluate the content of news articles and decide for myself, from an informed position, whether the writer has made a good point or if they themselves seem to be misinformed. I want to have the freedom to come to my own conclusion on debates, and also know enough about a topic to be able to change my mind on a topic during a debate.
So, in order for me to understand more about the conversations that are going on in the news, I have decided that my 2020 reading list will be predominantly non-fiction books. An important aspect of this “resolution” is that I need to read books written by people on opposing sides of an argument. There is no point in just reading a book about the climate crisis from the perspective of someone who supports Extinction Rebellion’s cause, for example, without also taking into account a well developed argument opposing those views. How else am I supposed to come to my own conclusion, or even feel strongly that I must be correct, if I don’t understand the opposition?
In addition to reading opposing non-fiction books, I am going to continue to read news from different sources in an effort to reach a balanced conclusion on the topics in the headlines. In 2019 I read articles from The Guardian, The Spectator, and Spiked Online so I will continue to do that. I have found that removing myself from an echo chamber, my opinions have evolved from quite a narrow minded viewpoint to a more nuanced take on today’s issues.
Later on this month, I will create a list of all the non-fiction books I want to read (so far), but if anyone has any suggestions right now, please let me know down in the comments below!