Monday, 5 January 2015

Another year, another set of plans....

It's that time when everyone's making plans for all the great things they're going to be doing this year but I thought before I started on any huge New Year resolutions I'd see how last year's went....

I'd intended making time for some 'extra-curricular' reading - catching up with my personal stash of books, reading novels and authors that come highly recommended but which I've somehow missed, and re-reading some old favourites.

So how did it all go? Well, I managed to read some of my own book hoard - Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick, Peter Ho's The Welsh Girl, Doug Johnstone's Gone Again, David Nicholls' Starter for Ten, Martin Cruz Smith's Stalin's Ghost, Toby's Room by Pat Barker - and a few that I abandoned by the 50th page.

The second part of my plans actually went well but not quite in the direction I'd expected.
 Out of my original list, I read two out of the seven Deborah Moggach books, Tulip Fever and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and got as far as downloading some Chekhov short stories to the Kindle, but that was it! The other suggestions are still awaiting my attention.
 On the other hand, I tracked down, mainly through the library, quite a few books I'd heard praised on social media - The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes, Snowdrops by AD Miller, Pat Barker's Regeneration (I only made it through the first of the trilogy) and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North -  extra books from some newly-discovered authors - The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki, The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan, the first of Steven Dunne's Reaper series - and some by old favourites - Iain Banks' The Quarry, Peaches for Monsieur le Cure by Joanne Harris, the latest Bridget Jones story, Mad About the Boy, by Helen Fielding

And as for re-visiting old favourites? That was really a non-starter though in August I re-read George Orwell's 1984, which fell a bit flat, and in December I joined in an initiative started on Winstonsdad's blog to celebrate five years of Peirene Press by re-reading all of their back catalogue. The first three -  Beside The Sea by Veronique Olmi, Stone in a Landslide by Maria Barbal and Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius - proved as compelling as I remembered them, and I'm hoping to continue re-reading the rest of Peirene's offerings throughout this year.

Now on to my 'new' plans.... there are LOTS of exciting new books coming out this year - with Kate Atkinson and Kazuo Ishiguro at the top of my 'must read' list, and new thrillers from Steven Dunne and Liza Marklund.

But aside from the hot-off-the-press books;
 - I've acquired three (yes, three!) large boxes of sci-fi and fantasy, which I NEED to read to clear some floor space, and I've won another pile of books, all by women writers, which I hope to work my way through (I've actually already read two of them so I'm off to a head start).

- I'm going to try again to find time for Chekhov, Donna Tartt and last year's list of recommendations, and I've been picking through everyone's Picks of the Year lists and making notes and determining to read some of those, plus investigating the back catalogues of authors that are fairly new to me, such as John Boyne or Roopa Farooki.
- And I'm still hoping to re-visit some old favourites starting with the Peirene retrospective but hoping to read far more.

I just wonder where I'll find the time!

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