At least you can say the blog lives up to its name. Happy New Year! (?)
Ohhh gosh. So much for one post a week. Maybe I should reevaluate. But the truth is…tests, sick, exams, sick, friends and relatives in town, and sick again. Also, I’m very lazy. Moving on, I know everyone has done their ‘2017 in Books’ and to be honest I don’t know if I could write a full blogpost on that. My 2017 in books has mostly been pretty pathetic – stuff for class, a ton of plays, and a lot of stuff I’ve been ‘saving for 2018’. So…my 2017 in books is a lot of unread books I guess. I plan to do loads better this year…however. Books cost money, I have no steady job, and I do have a constant stream of classes and tests and other responsibilities. Also I may have committed to others for no reason whatsoever. That’s the 2018 Poet Bloggers Revival Tour, if you’re interested, basically poetry bloggers committing to blogging once a week. I might be doing that here and I will try to do it on my tumblr. Basically, I’m doing 52 weeks again, but one post for each place. 26 weeks if you like. I really don’t know why, but…well.
So, what’s the point of this post. Hey, maybe I’ll vaguely talk about which books I (roughly) plan to read. I don’t have it down to names and authors yet as much as I have a vague idea. I’ve got big plans for this year. (But I had big plans for last year too…)
Okay. So. Here are my (kind of) book-related resolutions for 2018.
1. Read more classics
I find the term ‘classic’ difficult when we apply it to literature because practically anything of canonical literary value (debatable, of course) written roughly before 2000 seems to be one. I mean, if it’s not a classic classic it’s a modern classic. I don’t think people should be forced to read classics (or anything), but I do think it’s quite an umbrella term for such a large number of varying-genre books. I mean, there aren’t many similarities between I Capture the Castle and 1984, even if they were written in the same year (although I’m sure you could find some if you tried). That’s why I’m often pleasantly surprised when I like classics I read. There are some I have a low tolerance for; I’m not a Dickens fan (yet?) and there are, of course, many I’ve started and abandoned (…Les Misérables) but that wasn’t specifically out of lack of interest. So this year I definitely want to get more classics off my to-read list, including but not limited to Tolstoy’s epic novels, Gone With the Wind and Wuthering Heights (though to be frank I’m not very keen on the latter), Camus, Kafka and Foucault, annnd the list goes on. I might even give Hemingway another shot. Whether I’ll be able to review these or not is another matter because I’m quite unsure of myself when it comes to reviewing (period), and further, even more unsure when it comes to reviewing books that have been beloved by many for years. But let’s see. Maybe I’ll finish Lolita and it won’t be this year, but who knows, it might be Crime and Punishment instead.
2. Read more non-fiction
I had this down for last year as well! It was a no-go. Celebrity memoirs don’t count, even if they are funny and easy to get through in one evening. I have started a non-fic right now, which I’m actually looking forward to getting back to. However, mostly my issue with non-fic is I get so tempted by the fiction section in bookstores I never go over there. But I’m trying to be somewhat serious about this and therefore I hope I’ll be able to finish at least a handful of non-fiction books this year. That would definitely be an improvement from last year…
3. Catch up on the longlists
I know that there are naturally loads of brilliant books out there which don’t make it on the Booker/Baileys/Pulitzer etc etc lists but I often don’t have any foreknowledge of the books that make it on those lists until I see the lists (well, partly because I assume the publication date is staggered and critics read them first, and everything takes longer to get here anyway, where I live). I don’t always love prizewinners (or nominees) but I do find the subject matter interesting and I often like how it’s a detailed case-study of one particular instance or period in time (like Catton’s The Luminaries or Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves). I generally find that I’ve usually learned something from those books. With so many books being released each day it’s difficult to keep up, but I’m looking forward to making some progress with this year’s nominees (specially Lincoln in the Bardo, but honestly they all look pretty interesting) and hopefully catching up on a couple of the last few years’ nominees.
4. Finish more series’ I’ve left hanging
And I’ve left a lot hanging. I’ve had most of the A Series of Unfortunate Events books for a long time (I think I’m missing three or four). I still don’t know what happens in the end, I don’t know how I’ve avoided it for so long, but I don’t know. Unfortunately I have the annoying habit of not wanting to read books I don’t own, which means I have too many books and too little money. But we’ll see. A lot of series’ I’ve left off in the middle are in the fantasy genre; Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy, Robin Hobb’s The Rain Wild Chronicles, Naomi Novik’s Temeraire, stuff like that. No one ever wants to write fantasy standalones for some reason. Reading these will require me to actually start from the first book because I’ve forgotten everything, but who knows, maybe I’ll get one series done? That’s actually enough for me. A year goes fast.
5. Read more historical fiction
I often don’t come across a lot of historical fiction that’s actually really good; so if you’ve got any recommendations maybe let me know. I know I must eventually get around to reading the one everyone tells me is a masterpiece: Wolf Hall. I’ve read entirely too much Philippa Gregory and I prefer something with a little more meat to it. I did pick up two of Ken Follett’s (accidentally?) so I’m looking forward to reading those. I’m just going to keep my eye out at the bookstores. Oh, visit more second-hand bookstores, that should be a separate point, but the last one is…
6. Finish my Goodreads target
This usually happens no matter what because I’ll inevitably change my goal to fit how much I’ve read in the last December days when I know the year has beaten me. (What can I say, I take failure very badly. I’ll take a fake win over that.) A hundred books looks quite a measly number after all these ambitious goals I’ve sketched out, but frankly, if I could even do one book/book series from every point up there I’d be happy. I feel in the last year I kind of lost sight of how fun it was to read, I was absorbed in studying and panicking and I ruined it for myself. This year I want to have fun, I want to read what I want and read what I like, and hopefully I’ll have time to do enough of it.
So that’s that! I know this isn’t really that interesting, but I don’t have anything to review at present, so I just thought I’d chalk out my plans for the year, which will eventually end up as a puddle of tears at my feet in December. I thought I’d start the year an optimist for a change (no, I didn’t, but January’s going fast so I don’t have to keep up the pretense for long in any case) and then let things go to pieces later. This is more a ‘resolutions for the next 5 years’ than it is just for this year, but it never hurts to make lists. Let me know if you have any resolutions yourself, or any recommendations! And scene, 2017.