Monday, 31 December 2012

Reading Resolutions for 2013

This house is filled with books! Most of them read, I would say - but there are lots of Lingerers here, too - those that are still hanging about, looking hopeful.

On the last day of the year I'm looking ahead to what I want to read in 2013 - and, although there are lots of brand new things on the horizon (a new Susan Cooper, a new Douglas Kennedy! All kind of recommendations that are snagging my attention) - there are a few resolutions I've made to do with the books that are already here.

First of all - those Lingerers. I want to seek out books that have waited to be read so long I've simply stopped being able to see them. Yesterday, for instance, I plucked up Noelle Gordon's 'My Life at Crossroads' - a behind-the-scenes paperback from 1975 that feels like it's been around ever since first publication. More on that soon, I hope - but it turned out to be a rewarding random sampling of the TBR pile.

(Actually, these accompanying photos are misleading - hardly any unread books appear on these pics. These shelves are all very well-read and well-loved. They've got more to do with my....)

Second reading resolution. And that's to do with the 1990s. For some reason, this blustery, pewter-coloured New Year's Eve has put me in mind of 20 years ago - and what I was reading then. What was new and what I was discovering in the early 1990s. I'm thinking about early 90s books by Tony Warren, John Irving, Jeanette Winterson, David Leavitt, Amy Tan. Looking back at my Reading Record book it's easy to pick out a list of favourites from the 1990s i'd love to return to now.

Thinking about 1993 a lot at the moment - and how much I read and wrote that year. The early part of the year was when I sat down and wrote my first published short story and the second half of my fourth novel (which turned out to be the first i published.) Stuff was coming together, into proper shape, all that time ago - and it'd be interesting to see some of what I was reading. (For me, anyway..!)

A third resolution was one I was thinking about a couple of weeks ago, spurred on by a discussion on Gallifreybase forum. There people were talking about assembling a Doctor Who original novel marathon. Everyone was to choose a novel per Doctor, working through all eleven between January and the November anniversary. I love the idea of this - and it would be a way of visiting 'new' missing adventures for each Doctor - if I read one of my unread Who's each month. Or maybe they could be revisitations of favourites? I'd love to go back to, say, the late, great Craig Hinton's Doctor Who books.

Well, we'll see. Lots to reread, lots to find new and anew.

This time of year - this very week - always used to be about having book vouchers. Almost every Christmas I'd have had a voucher from someone, and the gap between Christmas and New Year was the time for visiting shops in Durham or Darlington, or as far afield as Newcastle, and wondering what to spend it on. This was when bookshops like Waterstones put out on their display tables *everything* that had been recently published - and the result was wonderfully bewildering. It was how I tried all sorts of new stuff and started off with authors who I then followed for years and years, in some cases.

So how about you? Any resolutions? Any reading challenges?

I don't want to set up some kind of plotted-out path or booklist for myself - not too harshly, anyway. As you know, I like to follow my own wayward route. But I would certainly like to uncover some of the treasure that's already here. (I'm reminded of the bit towards the end of The Box of Delights - when the waterfall boy warns the villainous Abner Brown that the precious Box will be under his hand that very day. Abner's too busy running around causing mayhem and scooping up rubies and sapphires to even know when the Box of Delights is very close by.  If only he'd stopped and looked under his nose..!

Happy New Year, everyone!


  1. I have a reading resolution which is simply to read a bit every day. Somehow, although it is something I love, it always drops off the end and I feel the lack of it. So I will read more this year, I've written it into my timetable!

    1. that's great, Shirley! i hope you find some wonderful books this year!