In a decade of blogging, I have learnt a few things about myself: that I enjoy reading memes but not joining them, that reading challenges are not for me (pressure, guilt trips and all… no thanks), and that my reading plans mostly get derailed by random choices and nice covers of new acquisitions at the library.
That is why I usually refuse to set any precise good resolutions regarding my reading. At most, I did vague intentions. On the other hand, I am surrounded by shelves full of books that I own (jointly with Mr. S., that is) that I’ve never read. In the face of an impeding house move (mmh, not really soon, but keeping me busy), I can’t really live with the idea that I’ll move boxes after boxes of unread books just so that they will gather dust in another home.
It seems only logical that 2017 would be the year I start reading the books that are at arm’s length, instead of those from the bookshop and the library. (I swear, it’s not my first purpose to weed out our shelves, I don’t hope to read disappointing books that will get donated – but surely once I’ve read them I’ll take a decision).
Knowing my tendency to be distracted by shiny new literary objects that cross my path, I don’t want to set a number that I will surely fail (more guilt trips? no-no). I have only the objective to read a certain number of books according to a list, and not the majority of my yearly reading.
That’s where I come full circle and find myself back where everyone is traditionally in these few first days of the year: making book lists for 2017. I have pondered over my overcrowded shelves and here’s my 10 books for a start:
- Javier Marias short story collection: While the women are sleeping (1990)
- Dorothy Whipple, The Priory (1939) – the Persephone bestseller
- Wallace Stegner, Crossing to safety (1987) – I must have read the first few pages ten times already, it’s high time I follow through.
- Maylis de Kerangal, Réparer les vivants (2014) – I have loved Kerangal book about bridge building, everything indicates I should love this one, but I couldn’t get to it, even though it was made into a movie
- Emmanuel Carrère, le royaume (2014) – I am a self-professed Carrère fan
- Mikhail Bulgakov, the White Guard (1926) – why am I afraid of Russian literature?
- Alison Lurie, Real People (1969) – because Lurie + writing retreat…
- Pawel Huelle Short story collection in French “Rue Polanski”
- Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone, Deconstructing penguins – it’s about talking books with the kids, and go beyond “was it good?” and “did you like it?”. I bought it in the US but I could use some good idea now.
- Barbara Vine, the Child’s Child (2012) – Vine’s beginnings are always slow but normally the ending leaves me bedazzled and quite proud to have persisted.
I finally left out big names that I still hope to read this year, like Chandler, Simenon and others, for whom I’ll go to the library and do some research. I hope I can at least stick to that list and if I do I’ll be able to be more ambitious next time! Which one should I start with in your opinion?