Plans for 2017 (it’s going to be cold)

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!

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Image from http://www.ncu.nu

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21 Responses to Plans for 2017 (it’s going to be cold)

  1. MarinaSofia says:

    Sounds quite sensible. I am percolating a new reading challenge myself for 2017 (and perhaps the year after, as it’s quite a lot), more about it shortly. But in the meantime, reading from your own shelves and combining it with some mild challenge sounds like an excellent idea! Russia has very northern regions too, so no problem there!

    • Looking forward to hearing about your challenge! I’m really happy with the Nordic reading because it will both give me an entrance point to my own shelves of unread books and as well as a further excuse to get back to the Russians – the reviews I’ve got hanging over from last year (‘Summer in Baden Baden’ and ‘Life and Fate’) are both cold books!

  2. BookerTalk says:

    Hope you have a good warm winter coat to contend with all that snow, ice and freezing temperatures…. maybe after Jan you will be longing for some warmth in your reading.

  3. Sarah says:

    I’ve been drawn northwards in my reading over the past few weeks too as the disappointing absence of snow here in West Wales has needed a literary helping hand. While it’s not exactly a substitute for the real thing, a good Nordic read goes a long way to salving my no show snow woes!

  4. Interesting how you’re being drawn to a specific type of reading. I’m going for minimal commitments this year – I feel it could be most enjoyable!

  5. Sounds great! I look forward to your reviews, which will undoubtedly add to my TBR 🙂

  6. FictionFan says:

    A Nordic month sounds perfect for this time of year! I try not to do too many challenges but then suddenly get a rush of blood to the head and start another one – oh, well! Enjoy your year off – serendipity is always fun…

    • I know! I’m trying to get round my determination not to get caught up in too many challenges by working with what I already have (and then putting some kind of project-y spin on it)

  7. January reviews should be fascinating. Looking forward to them.

  8. Melissa Beck says:

    These sound like great reading plans. I also want to continue to read more Russian lit. I look forward to your reviews!

  9. amreade says:

    I love it! The idea of reading books related to a theme is interesting, and one that I may borrow at some point–not this year, but maybe by next year. I have so many books waiting to be read that I’d like to get through those before I start a new project. I’m anxiously awaiting your reviews of the books you read!

    • I’m really excited by it, and I think it’s going to be the perfect way to start addressing the problem of the unread books I’ve managed to collect! Who knows, I may be looking for further themes as a way of inspiring me to actually get started on all of those purchases that were such a good idea at the time!

  10. Izzy says:

    I have Henrik Ibsen’s Four Major Plays on my TBR pile. And I’d love to read more Russian lit, but I don’t know where to start ! Looking forward to reading your reviews.

    • I used to teach Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’! He’s a really interesting writer (though due to his naturalism, there’s little of the outside wild Nordic landscape in his works).
      As for Russian literature, I did a round up of my year of Russian reading at https://shoshibookblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/russian-reading-round-up/ which contains my personal top reads from the project. For classics, the literal heavy weights are of course Tolstoy with ‘War and Peace’ and ‘Anna Karenina’ or Dostoyevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’ or ‘The Karamazov Brothers’. From this era I think I’d recommend Dostoyevsky’s ‘Poor Folk’ or ‘Notes from the Underground’ if you want something short to start off with. 🙂

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