What to do this weekend: Read a book 📖

Swap binge-streaming and doom-scrolling for the thrills, insights, and escapism of great literature

File image of a book (Pixabay)

Welcome readers. The new year is a great time to set new goals.

This year, I’d like to spend a lot less time staring at a screen. I want to swap binge-streaming and doom-scrolling for the thrills, insights, and escapism of great literature.

With that in mind, I reached out to some local experts for their insights on how to hone those reading skills.

Below, some authors with Houston ties share their reading goals for 2023. I hope they inspire you to set your own reading resolutions!

Keep a running list of recommendations, titles you want to read

In 2023, I want to keep a notebook with lists of books that people have recommended to me—so many great books get forgotten or can’t easily be found just by browsing online, and I want to be more disciplined about reading the books my friends have told me about—whether they were published 10 years ago or a hundred years ago. Those are usually the books I enjoy the most.

I plan to check the websites of small presses like Europa, Archipelago, and New Directions, which publish books in translation. Olgo Tokarczuk’s “Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead” was one of the best novels I read last year, and I’m excited to read more contemporary Mexican literature. Yuri Herrera’s “Signs Preceding the End of the World” is one of my favorite recently-discovered novels, and I have Fernanda Melchor’s “Hurricane Season” in my “to-read” list.

I love to read on the couch just before and after dinner, and I really want to clear that time more regularly. Maybe I’ll make simpler dinners next year.

Rene Steinke, Author of "Friendswood"

Make time for it

I’m always trying to read as much as possible — but life has a way of getting in the way. Here are my top three tips for getting lots of reading done: One, I keep a list of everything I’ve read. Nothing fancy, just a document on my computer — but watching the list get longer keeps me amazingly motivated. Two, books that I did not finish (DNF) count on the list. Life’s too short to read bad books! Audiobooks also count, and I listen to tons of them — running errands, making dinner. And three — most important: I only read books that I really feel a spark for — books that have something in the plot or the topic that is calling to me and capturing my curiosity. The number one way to read more is to trust your own compass and find the books that resonate for you.

Katherine Center, author of "The Bodyguard" and the forthcoming novel "Hello Stranger"

Read what you like

The only quote I can offer is a reading resolution to unapologetically read for pleasure. If it’s not for school or job, NOTHING about reading should be a drag. Read YA if you’re 50. If you’re really into tea-spilling, gossipy biographies, read those. Read romance and mystery, science fiction or just plain old science, if that’s your bag. Just have fun. And my other big rule: if a book isn’t bringing you joy, put it down. There’s always another on the shelf. You’re not going to get into heaven faster because you slogged through some tome you think you’re supposed to love because other people do. It’s an act of self-love to read what pleases you.

Attica Locke, author of "Bluebird, Bluebird" and "Pleasantville"

Book lovers, what books do you recommend? Think about all the books you’ve ever read. Which are your favorites, and why? Whether they’re old or new, fiction or nonfiction, tough classic from the canon or graphic novels or even children’s books, which titles left a lasting impression? Share your recommendations with us here. We may include them in a forthcoming article.

More for Houston bibliophiles

Houston happenings

File image of a marathon (Canva/KPRC 2)

If a book isn’t in the cards this weekend, consider these Houston events.

  • Houston Marathon: The Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon, held on Sunday, will attract more than 27,000 runners to downtown Houston. The We Are Houston 5K on Saturday has 6,000 registrants.
  • MLK Day Parade: Parades and celebrations will be held Monday to honor the 93rd birthday of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. King was just 39 when he was assassinated in 1968 while helping sanitation workers strike for better pay and workplace safety in Memphis, Tennessee. Houston’s 45th “Original” MLK Day Parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Smith and Lamar streets in downtown Houston. Mayor Sylvester Turner will serve as the 2023 parade grand marshal. View the parade route here.
  • Lunar New Year 2023: Asian Americans in the Houston area will usher in the Year of the Rabbit later this month, celebrating the Lunar New Year with colorful decorations, performances, and prayers for good fortune in the year to come. Welcome the Year of the Rabbit at these Houston celebrations.

ICYMI

Universal Parks & Resorts announced it will build a theme park in Frisco, Texas. (Universal Parks & Resorts)

Some Houston and Texas developments to look forward to.

  • Universal Parks & Resorts announced that it plans to bring a new concept for families with young children to Frisco, Texas, about 35 miles outside of Dallas. This is what to expect at Frisco destination and what people are saying about it.
  • The City of Houston on Saturday will unveil the Alief Neighborhood Center and Park, a new multipurpose facility situated off Bellaire Boulevard and Kirkwood in southwest Houston that offers the services of the recreation center it replaces, and also functions as a public library, a senior center, and a Women, Infant, and Child Clinic. See photos of the facility here.
  • An art exhibit and book will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Texas State Park system. For the book, 30 Texas artists were commissioned to produce paintings of state parks. An exhibition of the artwork will travel to the Houston Museum of Natural Science in late May.

Like what you see?

This is the Things to Do newsletter, a preview of local events assembled by the KPRC 2 Digital Team and delivered to your inbox each week. To subscribe, visit click2houston.com/newsletters.


Thanks for spending part of your week with KPRC 2. — Briana Zamora-Nipper

You can reach Briana Zamora-Nipper at bzamora@kprc.com.


About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team in 2019. When she’s not hard at work in the KPRC 2 newsroom, you can find Bri drinking away her hard earned wages at JuiceLand, running around Hermann Park, listening to crime podcasts or ransacking the magazine stand at Barnes & Noble.