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7 New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 I Invite You to Burgle From Me Bilbo-Style

Why do you think I've buried myself in books all year? I've stolen all of these self-improvement ideas from others so you can snatch them from me. Just don't take My Precious!

Dave Swindle


January 1, 2014 - 4:25 pm
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I am now going to announce my 2014 #radical #book reading plan, in preparation of my new year's resolutions post coming shortly today.

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My wife and I flew back to Indiana last week to spend Christmas with the family. We had a ball! Among the highlights was when we all went to see The Hobbit part 2 on IMAX 3-D. The whole family is pretty religious about Tolkien, the movies especially. Dad is the expert, capable of explaining the changes from book to screen while assuring us that Peter Jackson’s changes still make for an extraordinary film without messing up anything major.

Ever since I was a kid first encountering The Hobbit as a cartoon and as my Dad read it during bedtime I loved the scene of Bilbo talking with the dragon Smaug, buried amidst the endless piles of pilfered Dwarven gold. That fantasy of limitless wealth to swim in seems a recurring one from childhood. I loved how Scrooge McDuck had a money bin that he’d dive into and pass through as though it were water:

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I kind of imagine myself doing that these past few years editing PJ Lifestyle except instead of gold coins it’s the amazing writing of the PJ columnists, freelancers, and the authors in the books I’m researching. From family advice to tech news to TV and family commentaries to history/religion/ideology debates PJ Lifestyle has been accumulating a diverse range of exciting ideas and cultural challenges. Here was my attempt to organize this some last year via an ever-evolving self-improvement routine inspired by Charlie Martin’s 13 Weeks program:

December 31, 2012: 7 New Year’s Resolutions I Invite Others to Steal
February 1, 2013: The Plan So I Don’t Waste the Last Year of My 20s
April 10: The 13 Weeks Radical Reading Regimen
May 8: Every American Needs to Read Books to Understand Islam
July 6: We Must Read Tons of Books With A Clear Purpose
October 5: 13 Weeks of Wild Man Writing and Radical Reading
November 17: Half Through 13 Weeks For Radical Readers and Madman Writers, Turning Up the Heat

To give Lifestyle some degree of structure I’ve sought to organize some of the themes each week by day — when the story isn’t a timely, breaking news piece. I’ve applied this also to my daily reading plan, drawing from a different pile of books and shifting subjects to try and make fresh connections for stories to assign to PJ’s writers and work on myself. Here’s my reading plan for the next 13 weeks cycle — join us starting the week of Sunday, January 5 for week 1 — and then how they’re inspiring me to make changes in my own life.


I tend to hate Game of Thrones for the way it blends cruel violence with soft-core porn and romanticizes sex slavery but this meme is tolerable, I suppose, given its parenting subtext.

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All Comments   (4)
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Wow, I like the idea of dedicating each day to reading on a different subject! I'm sure taking on all 7 days would be too much for me, but maybe I could do one or two in that fashion, to start off. Hm...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm in awe of your list and I kind of want to hide under the covers for a while and eat some ice cream and re-read The Hobbit.

I plan to finish my work in progress, a novel currently titled Killing Time. And I will do my best to work on #3: Give polytheistic pop culture a black eye and a fat lip as often as possible. With pleasure.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My only resolution is to study The Divine Comedy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wow. I thought I was well read, but I only recognized 6-8 books in those stacks. Book envy aside, it sounds like you have a dream job. A Messianic Jew gave me a copy of Maimonides's Guide a few years ago and I started it, but haven't finished. Maybe I should?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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