Ah, the joy of starting a new year. A new reading year especially. There's nothing like a fresh new start. Last year was a little disappointing in some ways, but not so terribly bad really (it seems a lot of people had a slightly off reading year last year, too). But I am ready for a clean slate and new stories to fill it up with.
I must say that reading so many favorites lists and end of the year posts has been dangerous. I can't tell you how many 'new' books were added to my 'must read' list. In many cases I own the book in question and just need to pick it up (find it on my shelves....which are quite a mess) and start reading. I'm very good at that as a matter of fact. I give in easily to whim and fancy. And I will do plenty of that in the coming year, too. But I do have a few ideas in mind and hope to stay focused for a little while, at least until my reading paths begin to veer off in new directions.
So, what follows here are a few of those ideas I have in mind now of what books I might like to read, little projects that have been simmering away. Some I am sure I will stick with. Others will likely start out strong and then my fancy will send me in a new direction. And that's okay. I am going to share a list of potential reads for the new year. They are books that I've been thinking of a lot lately, but if I don't read them all, that's okay, too.
Let me start first with the reading accoutrements you see above. In the past I have carried with me a small lined blank book that I make notes in about the books I am reading. Somewhere along the way I got away from using it. I now have two--for slightly different purposes. The notebook on the bottom (it's a "decomposition book" by the way--made from 100% recycled paper) is just for general notes for books I'm reading or lists (I'm big on lists), or whatever I need to keep organized. The smaller notebook is Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Journal. It's actually just a fancier version of the blank book, but there spots to note down title, author, date and then notes on the books I finish. So the blank book will be to use during reading and the journal for when I've finished. Hopefully between the two I will have plenty of notes to write my posts. If I keep up with the journal it would be cool to have a snapshot of my reading year next December. Check back on that one later to see if I follow through.
As for plans? These are very loose plans. I'm going to do Vintage Mystery Bingo. It should be entertaining and to start with I've picked up Agatha Christie's The Man in the Brown Suit. I have to say it is a fun Christie to read. It's neither a Miss Marple or Poirot mystery but features a young heroine who shows a lot of moxie when she sees a murder happen in front of her eyes. Ever ready for a little adventure she sets out to find the killer herself.
I'm pretty sure I am going to join the Back to the Classics Challenge. I really want to read more classics this year (she says every year), and surely reading six books over the course of the year is not too much to ask?
I'm hoping to read books about WWI as 2014 is the 100 year anniversary. Caroline has a number of WWI titles included in her 2014 list for the Literature and War Readalong that will help move things along nicely.
And I really want to read the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have the complete boxed set, so I am ready to go.
I'm continuing on with my NYRB subscription, so my January book should be coming shortly. I finished the freebie book that comes with the 2014 subscription--my last book of last year, Alfred Hayes' My Face for the World to See. Will write about it soon.
This year I'd like to read more Nebraska authors and 'Western' fiction in general. I've been scanning my shelves for potential reads and have a small stack of books started, and I will likely be asking for more reading suggestions. I tend to pick up much more British fiction--country house stories or big-city sophistication type reads, but I'm sort of in a Plains mode at the moment. I'd like as well to incorporate books on art and photography (maybe a few field trips to local museums along the way--and wouldn't a side trip to Willa Cather's home be cool, too?).
I'll definitely continue on with my weekly short story reading, though I have yet to decide what I will read--one story a week from one collection, one author's complete short stories, or completely random short story selections each Sunday. We'll see what I am in the mood for this weekend!
Otherwise I guess I'll just see where my reading takes me. I have a list of potential reads/authors I'd like to get to this year (which book as yet undecided for those authors listed):
The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt
Stoner by John Williams
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
Georgette Heyer -- I usually read a few books by her and didn't read a single one last year
William Boyd -- I have lots to choose from
Someone by Alice McDermott
The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
Dominion by C.J. Sansom
It's back to work tomorrow, so I'll be relaxing with a few books today. I'm working on Little House in the Big Woods at the moment, but I am sure I'll be dipping into several over the course of the afternoon. I hope you get to do the same, too. Happy reading everyone!