Thursday 5 January 2012

Reading Projects 2012

A Century of Books, and my regular blogging, has hit rather an obstacle - in the form of doorstopper The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  I'm not going to be finished any time soon, and a lovely New Year's Cold is putting paid to late nights. 

So I'm handing over to you to do my job for me today (ta!) - what are your reading projects for 2012? 

They might be group challenges, or tasks you've set in stone for yourself, or they might be vaguer hopes for your reading this year.  Perhaps you want to read more non-fiction, or older books, or... well, you fill in the gap!

As for me, alongside/within A Century of Books, I'm hoping to read more literature in translation, and more poetry.  Since I've read two or three books of poetry in the past five years, reading more shouldn't be difficult...

Is there any single book you're determined to read by the end of 2012?  For me, if I don't finish Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, lent to me by Colin years ago, I'll be pretty disappointed... I'm about 600 pages in.  And I started it nearly two years ago.


  1. I look forward to your century of book reviews simon ,all the best stu

  2. Ah, I love Poisonwood Bible!
    As for my 2012 reading goals, they include reading a Dostoevsky, and all of your Century reviews!

  3. I’ve set myself a challenge in the form of my own bookblog for 2012 - I’m picking a book a day that’s somehow vaguely related to that date - be it an historical event, an author’s birthday or something in the news. So that’s 366 books in my challenge! Not that I’ll be reading them all this year, mind… Not too dissimilar from your challenge - I’ve got events from 1967 and 1968 and books from 1984 and 1988 ticked off already. Anyone interested can see my blog at this address

    As for reading habits, there’s a rather shameful gender imbalance on my bookshelves so I’m aiming to correct that by reading more books by women this year. I also want to finally get around to reading The Brothers Karamazov - I’ve read a fair bit of Dostoevsky but that one has always seemed just a little too daunting.

  4. I'd like to go back to Trollope, starting with Can You Forgive Her? It's years since I've read him. Definitely more poetry as well - La Divina Commedia comes to mind, in the Mandelbaum translation.

  5. Sorry to hear about your cold, Simon!

    The only 'official' projects I've set for myself this year are the two reading challenges I've joined: the Canadian Book Challenge (which is half-way done) and the Eastern European Reading Challenge (which definitely helped me to read more fiction in translation last year). Aside from that, I really want to reread some old favourites (Vanity Fair, Emma, The Diary of a Provincial Lady...the list goes on) and continue to work my way through the Barsetshire books of Anthony Trollope and Angela Thirkell.

    Nothing too ambitious (she says to the man who came up with "A Century of Books") but I think it has the makings of a very excellent year.

  6. I've been inrigued by a particular book for awhile (mentioned in blogs, especially dovegreyreader) - and went looking for it locally today. Their computer said it was on the shelf but I couldn't find it, nor could 2 employees - so, it has been ordered for me. I've long been enamored of netsuke - and love family histories:

    The Hare With Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal

    I watched this video quite awhile ago:

  7. So sorry to hear that you are down with a cold! Reading resolutions and list making consumed a lot of my relaxing moments over the holidays. I'm determined to read more of the treasures that I already have on my shelf! In making my lists, I was amazed at how many "challenges" I could complete without ever leaving home. I decided not to worry about limiting acquisition so much - I'm keeping my fingers crossed that that will naturally happen as I find contentment on my own shelves. (It's okay if you are laughing - there's actually not as much relationship between those two things as one would like to believe! ;) ) I'll be looking forward to your reviews when you get to feeling better.

  8. More re-reads for me. I've picked six from my shelf that I definitely want to read again. Also doing a classics challenge.

  9. I hope your cold is soon better. This miserable weather doesn't help.

    I'm reading my way around the USA for a couple of years - fiction and non-fiction, modern and historical. I also want to read more non-fiction generally this year and a few more classics. Whether this will all happen or not is another matter. LOL. But it's good to have goals and plans I think.

    Love The Poisonwood Bible, such a thought provoking book.

  10. And will you be reading more of your brother's recommendations after you finish Eye of the World?

    I'm hoping to read more of my own books this year and make a dent in my TBR and possily buy less books. Keeping it simple here:)

  11. Reading 1Q84 in 2012. Buying a copy was going to be my only novel purchase in 2011, but "Project Zero" has succeeded for a second year as I was given it for Christmas.

  12. My projects this year include the Elizabeth Taylor Centenary, Orange January/July, and a fair amount of Booker Prize reading, primarily shortlisted works from years gone by. And I'm pushing myself to read more non-fiction than usual too.

    Good luck with The Poisonwood Bible!

  13. Rachel sent me a copy of O Pioneers! by Willa Cather ages ago and it is the bane of my bookcase and causes me no end of distress! I may resort to striking out the word 'Nebraska' and pen in 'Yorkshire' before digging in. I'm sure I won't like this book but I do like Rachel so sometime in 2012 it will just have to be dealt with.
    Keep the tea flowing, Simon, and get better soon!

  14. Have 5:
    - Less challenge, more read-alongs
    - Read more in other languages
    - Pay homage to Dickens and Shakespeare
    - Re-read more
    - Read War & Peace

    Good luck with that cold!

  15. I've posted briefly about my own attempt at your Century of Books today - my choice of books will be very eclectic (or it might be truer to say lightweight, to which end I've started with a bit of '70s hard-boiled - but very wry - crime). I'm combining it with a Classics Challenge, and still hoping to finish the Canadian Book Challenge. I've been hoarding books for ages...

    Good luck with your Century, and hope the cold is better soon!

  16. Well how very timely of you. :) Mine is more of an anti-project... in a nutshell I hope to avoid reading PLANS and try and pay a little more attention to my TBRs and otherwise read whatever I feel like. Although I am always impressed by those with Plans.

    Sorry about your cold - hope you get feeling better soon - can you leverage this into MORE reading time on the couch?

  17. Very interesting observations on blogging. Many thanks. As a new blogger I need all the advice I can get [after 30 years of literature I am almost worn/worded out].

  18. I read quite a lot last year, but this year I definitely want to read some classics. I haven't read many for years, and there are really huge gaps - I haven't read any Dickens apart from A Christmas Carol. So hopefully I'll get through some of the classics.

  19. I have set my own challenges which can be found on my blog. Simple ones I hope like read 1 Dickens novel in the year. It also means I can add to these challenges throughout the year as the whim takes me.

    Hope you are feeling better soon - there seems to be a lot of colds out there in the blogosphere!

  20. I've set myself the challenge of reducing the proportion of unread books in my collection; the list of what I'm planning to read is on my own blog.

    I look forward to reading your Century of Books reviews, which ought to add up to a (possibly idiosyncratic) history of the 20th century by the time you're done!

  21. Stu - thanks very much!

    Jim - I do think that is the most wonderful idea for a challenge! So interesting and, I would have thought, rather difficult... but I wish you all the best, and will certainly be popping in to see how you're doing. As for gender imbalance, mine tends to lean towards female writers, but I'm more concerned about my leaning towards fiction and British literature! Well, not concerned, but I would like to read more non-fic and more in translation.

    Leticia - I have read no Trollope yet, despite owning 12 of his novels for the past seven years...

  22. Claire - I very much admire your Eastern European Reading Challenge - I couldn't think of authors for most of the countries listed, let alone books that I might read. Offsetting that with re-reading old favouries sounds like a great idea. Enjoy!

    Nancy - I do know a lot of people have been fans of that, and it's one I do want to read... but the hype has put me off, so I'll wait a decade! I'm sure charity shops here will be flooded with it before too long...

    Susan - it is lovely to complete challenges based on already-owned books, isn't it? It feels somehow virtuous... I'm spending this morning tucked up in bed, getting on with Poisonwood Bible...

  23. Joanne - lovely! I seem to leap at re-reads when inspiration doesn't otherwise hit. It's nice to have old memories brought back, or just a dependable read, isn't it?

    Cath - thanks, Cath! I am medicating myself and resting...
    I have read surprisingly little US lit, and liked even less, so I must explore more. I think my love of the obscure is what takes me off to other countries, when I'm reading non-UK literature.

    Sakura - hahaha! Definitely unlikely, based on my lukewarm response to Robert Jordan.. plus, Col doesn't have that many other suggestions to make. Unless I want to read sporting biographies...

    Peter - oh, that was a well-chosen gift! I still have yet to read any Murakami. I'll start with a shorter one...

  24. Laura - I'm certainly hoping to join in with some of the Elizabeth Taylor Centenary, but I can feel myself slipping behind already... I do have At Mrs. Lippincote's by my bed, hoping to get onto it once Poisonwood Bible is out of the way.

    Rachel - haha! Is she bullying you into reading it? Well, I wish you the best of luck!

    Alex - that sounds very organised and well thought-out! I think War and Peace would take me about three months on its own...

  25. Jodie - I'm so pleased that you'll be joining in! It would be lovely to finish in 2012, but I suspect I might be joining you in a two-year minimum plan. I suspect also that my choices may get lighter and lighter (and shorter and shorter!) as the end of the year draws closer...

    Julia - a very sensible, bookish idea! I never really have concrete plans - even A Century of Books is more of an anti-challenge than anything - and it's more fun that way!

    Norman - welcome to the blogosphere!

  26. Layla - oh, do make 2012 the year of trying Dickens! That would be lovely - at least to know whether or not you like him. I haven't actually read Christmas Carol, but it always seems to me a little unlike Dickens' other works.

    Jo - Thanks for mentioning your challenges - I went and admired them :) (Do you think colds are contagious online?)

    Tanya - your list of tbr books is so wonderfully enticing! And that is what I'm hoping - that, by the end, I'll have a little representation of the 20th century. Which will doubtless be idiosyncratic, if not all-out eccentric!

  27. I hope you are recovered from your cold. This year I want to read more classics so reading books by authors I recently discovered and loved (such as E.M. Forster and Somerset Maugham), discover new authors (such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gustave Flaubert), as well as giving Jane Austen another go (as I think I have mentioned in another comment on your blog, I was quite underwhelmed by the two books I have read by Jane Austen).


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