Our Reading Resolutions: Shehla Wynne, DWL Associate Director

New year, new books, new resolutions! This month, the Desi Writers’ Lounge team is sharing its reading resolutions: goals for the new year, finally tackling those to-be-read piles. Join the conversation by sharing your resolutions in the comments and on Facebook and Twitter.
It is not particularly hard for me to put together my reading resolutions. I can just list the dozens of books on my bookshelf that remain unread. But truthfully, I have just one actual resolution: to read less. Don’t worry, I’m going to explain.
As is true for many others, I am almost always plugged in and have been so for the past half-decade. I spend at least 10 hours a day working on my computer. I read legal opinions, briefs, motions, agreements. And of course, I read the news online. I read articles shared by my friends on social media, I visit websites such as thebrowser.com and longform.org. By the end of the day, I am so tired of reading that I don’t read any books at all.
One thing became clear to me last fall when I had some free time and became reacquainted with books: I miss reading fiction (thank you, Interviews with Hideous Men and The Goldfinch). I miss that feeling of losing myself in a book, of being too engrossed to eat, sleep, leave the house, answer the phone. And I am so utterly exhausted by social media. So last month, I decided to read fewer articles online. I told myself I would read a book for at least an hour a day. That it doesn’t matter that the train part of my morning commute is only 10 minutes, I must read a book, a physical book (no Kindles for me, thank you very much). I bought a digital alarm clock and started going to bed without my phone in the room. I made an effort to avoid social media.  And it worked.  I started reading, actually reading, books.
It started with City of Sin and Splendour: Writings on Lahore — a new perspective on the city I call home.  Another book on my bedside table is Goodbye to All That, Writers on Loving and Leaving New York. Having just moved to New York after spending a decade in DC, I am in a reflective mood about cities, their effect on a person’s identity, and how and why one chooses to put down permanent roots somewhere. For my birthday, my dear friend (Papercuts Associate Editor) Noorulain Noor sent me Shadab Zeest Hashmi’s Kohl & Chalk. I am excited about taking that on my too-short-for-seriously-reading train ride.
It doesn’t really matter what I end up reading. The reader in me has nudged me silently through the years and I have been buying books all along. I am now looking forward to actually losing myself in them — sixty, or twenty, or ten minutes at a time.
I know this is ironic because you are reading this online, but I am firm in my resolution this year: I will read less online.