Happy New Year everyone! Welcome 2017 -- I hope the new year will bring us all health and Peace and lots of reading time. I'm actually feeling pretty excited about this new year. Sort of refreshed and ready to start anew. It really helped to clean off my reading table (relatively speaking that is--'clean' for me).
On Friday I pulled out a notebook I bought several years ago but never quite got around to using and crossed off that old year and replaced it with 2017 and started jotting down ideas of where I want my reading to take me. Just a start mind you. A few ideas to send me down a first path, and where I turn and go off in a new direction is anyone's guess. But I can tell you where I am starting.
I do have a few plans, but they are more ideas of things I want to try and accomplish. Really my plans are not so different this year than any other year, but it is nice to think about them in a new and fresh way. The last few years prior 2016 were not the best reading years, but last year was an improvement and now I feel more contented. Considering what a mess the world seems to be in, it's a little curious really, but since so much is uncertain, my reading is going to be a refuge I think. A happy place I can always turn to for inspiration and escape and for knowledge and maybe even a little empowerment.
So, a few ideas. My nightstand is all set for January 2017. The top photo are my new current reads. The pile in the back are the chunky books that I had started and knew I would be reading well into this year, and there is a nifty new short story collection which I have started and am excited about. The pile in the front feels a little more restrained than last year's, but maybe that is just my imagination. Last year's pile had eleven books, of which I finished six. I'm hoping that the books in the front might even be finished this month. I have only started the top two books (and am enjoying them immensely at the moment) and the others are the books I 'think' I am going to read this month, but I might do a bit of switching about at the last minute.
As for the bottom photo, it contains a variety of books and other reading accoutrements including all my Persephone Biannuals, a few short story periodicals (that I periodically pull out and peruse), and I can finally fit the holdover books that I had wanted to finish reading last month, but I ran out of time and couldn't manage it. No more massive languishing partially read pile anywhere else. It seems a silly little thing, but to me it is refreshing to have them all together in one place and under control.
Where do I want my reading journey to take me? The usual enjoyable reading projects will continue--my monthly NYRB subscription will offer a dozen new and exciting books; I'll be reading as many of Caroline's choices for her Literature and War Readalong (you can see a book by N. Scott Momaday in the pile as a matter of fact); I already have set plans for little readalongs with Buried in Print and Stefanie at So Many Books (and a few other possibilities as well if a suitable book can be found). I let my short story reading go a little slack last year and this year I do hope to make a more concerted effort to write regularly about what I am reading and keep up with my New Yorker stories and Smithereens and I will continue on with our postal short story exchange. (As a matter of fact I just received two new ones in the mail on Friday which I cannot wait to read, have already read the first New Yorker story of 2017 and the Burnside is in progress!--post to follow soon).
That leaves two new reading ideas for the new year. I like to set little themes for myself (the most recent was 'Reading the 1970s'). I think my next two themes (I'll start with one and the other will follow) are going to be Colonial America and Solitude. And rather than create a list of books I want to read (and then never do), I am going to try monthly prompts. It sounds like it could be fun and if it ends up being a chore, then I will skip it. But here are my monthly prompts--a book for each month to be selected when the time comes).
January: A Fresh Start
February: An Affair to Remember
March: Irish Eyes are Smiling
April: Paris in April
May: How Does Your Garden Grow
June: Play Ball
July: Independence Day
August: Bon Voyage
September: Back to School
October: Ghosts and Hauntings
November: Giving Thanks
December: A Celebration
I chose pretty literal prompts according to month/season, but hopefully I will be more creative in choosing a book to express the theme--they might be literal and they might not. We shall see. January's book coming soon. Actually all sorts of interesting new bookishness coming soon.
May your reading year be as exciting and inspiring as I hope mine will be.