As my ‘best of 2016‘ post amply demonstrated, I read some fantastic books last year. This was not by chance though, four of my top ten were read as part of projects: ‘The Dream of Red Mansions’ and Rankine’s ‘Citizen’ were from my ‘Diverse Reading A-Z‘, ‘The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands’ first appeared in my non-fiction challenge and ‘Wild Swans’ (in an attempt to be limit how much I was promising to achieve) counted for both projects.
Since I started blogging regularly in 2015, my reading has been shaped by projects, with one or two main challenges to structure my book choices and the rest of my time spent filling in gaps. These have been exciting, satisfying and (because I’ve managed to keep to my vague plans) extremely validating experiences. In 2017 however, I’m going for something new.
I have decided to take a year off. My reading will be guided by the un-opened books that have been accumulating in my home and by the enticing shelves of my local libraries and book shops. I’ll take what I’ve loved from my longer term projects (more Russian literature, the joys of discovering new voices, the fact that I can enjoy non-fiction) and I’ll just have fun with it.
That was the idea anyway … since then I’ve looked at the accumulated books mentioned above and noticed a certain number of them are from the far north and it’s got me thinking about themed reading yet again. I also can’t help but worry that swearing off projects all together might be too much of a shock. As a compromise I’m going to devote January to reading to Nordic literature and then see what the rest of the year will bring. So far I have books from Iceland (Laxness’s ‘Independent People’), Finland (‘The Brothers’ by Asko Salhberg) and Norway (Sigrid Undset’s ‘Kristen Lavransdatter’). Tempting me on to yet more Northern locations, I’ve sneaked a look at the library catalogue and seen novels by Strindberg (Sweden) and Høeg (Greenland). Slipped in will also be a few cold-weather Russians that I read last year but have not yet reviewed. After winter, I’m sure I’ll have had enough of projects. And if not, I’ll keep you posted!
Image from http://www.ncu.nu