Ah, the anticipation of a fresh new reading year. Whatever disappointments came along last year are gone and now I am looking forward to a new year filled with good books and no expectations. This year I have no plans to share. I am going to read at whim and not worry about accomplishing something, completing tasks or crossing books off lists.
I have no reading list this year as a matter of fact. My only 'plan' is to read more from my own stacks of books. I'll still buy some new books along the way and check a few books out from the library. For the latter, library books, I want only to be a little more discerning than I have been in the past. I was feeling like library borrowing was part of my weekly workout in that I would lug stacks of books back and forth. Now I want to be more conscientious about borrowing. If I borrow a book I will borrow it with the idea I am really going to read it and not just request a title because 'it sounds good'. Unfortunately (?) everything sounds good, so this will be a challenge for me.
I also want to be more conscientious about which books I am reading and if something begins to pale and I think it will be set aside to languish, it needs to be weeded from the pile or I want to try and stick it out and not just start books pell mell and haphazardly. Well, I suspect that last thing will still happen, but hopefully not to the crazy extent it did last year! That said, I am not going to worry too much about having too many books started, if I feel like reading two, that's okay, and if I feel like reading six, that's okay, too.
I do have some carry overs from last year, as well as a few new books to look forward to reading. So, above you see my current reading stack on my night stand. I think I'll save talking about them for another day. I was hoping to finish Book of Ages last year, but maybe I will have it completed by the end of the weekend. Everything in progress will be on my sidebar. Mostly they are just whatever piques my interest at the moment, but I am reading A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess along with Stefanie at So Many Books, and Kate Atkinson's Life After Life is for a book club hosted by my public library that I am hoping to attend later this month.
I have a few more days left of vacation before I head back to work, and I thought to kick off the new year (sort of a little sprint to get moving) and for a little instant gratification I have picked out a few shorter novels and novellas to read, which I can likely finish in one long afternoon. I very much enjoyed Nell Dunn's Up the Junction today (added bonus since it is a Virago Modern Classic) and will choose another book from my little pile for tomorrow. I might try and intersperse shorter books in between longer reads which I think will help me feel like my reading isn't stagnating.
Although I am going to follow whichever reading paths strike my fancy, I do have two books/projects that I am going to begin the year with. My 'serial' read is going to be Gillian Clarke's At the Source: A Writer's Year, which my friend Cath kindly sent to me for Christmas. Hopefully we will be reading it together in monthly installments. It's a book of "creative journeys" involving language, myth and nature. One section is a journal which begins:
"On the first day of January I open a new journal and mark the clean page with a date, location, a first sentence . . . The first words print the field of snow. I relish the moment, the pen, the white page."
How fitting is that?
And my own little 'long read' project is finally tackling Homer. I read excerpts of the Iliad and Odyssey in high school and will now read them in earnest with accompanying texts. More about that later. That is going to be my (or who knows maybe only the first one of several?) 'big read' of the year.
This is my starting point. Hopefully it will be a year filled with lots of literary adventures and we'll see where my reading paths take me.