Book Reviews

2013 Is Here – Time for Resolutions

Last year I never made any resolutions other than to start reading all the Man Booker prize winners and to blog about my reactions. I never diverted from that course entirely but I did go down some side roads along the way as I picked up reading recommendations from other bloggers and got involved with the Classics Club Challenge

Now I’ve had the benefit of almost a year of concentrated reading and blogging, I can think more clearly on plans and resolutions for 2013. So here’s how they stand so far:

Discover what makes the novel – well ‘novel’

The word ‘novel’ trips easily off my tongue these days. But when did this phenomena called the novel actually start? What were those early ‘novelists’  trying to achieve? Did the concept of the novel change over time? These and many others keep rattling around my brain. I have vague answers to some of them from the Open University courses I’ve done in recent years (they were far more helpful than my bricks and mortar English lit courses in fact) but I want to dig deeper. So I’m going to spend some of my time trying to get to grips with these questions and posting what I learn on the blog site.

Stretch myself 
I enjoyed discovering new authors last year so I want to make sure I continue to do that. I know I’ll always want to read old friends like George Eliot, Jane Austen, Wilkie Collins but I also want to make room for new friends. Coupled with that, I want to read more authors from different countries of the world.  To make sure I do this, I’ve set myself a Reading Along the World Lines challenge to take me around the world. It has two elements

  • Reading Along the Equator
  • Reading Along the Prime Meridian

I haven’t yet identified which books I’ll select for each of the countries – I’ll be using LibraryThing and the blogger community to identify candidates and asking for recommendations and help.

Keep Connected

What a joy it’s been to connect with people who are all very passionate about reading and love sharing their passion with others.  I do try to comment on other people’s blogs and to reply to comments posted on my own. But I want to make a conscious effort to do this more, possibly by doing a group read or a tutored read.

Focused Flexibility

I confess that I have a butterfly mind. The minute I hear of something interesting, I want to fly off to that enticing petal even if I have 20 equally beautiful and fascinating petals already right under my nose (or should that be my antennae??). Consequently, I didn’t read as many of the Booker prize winners I imagined I would and I fell miserably behind on my Classics Club reading. So in 2013 I really must get back to reading what I already identified I wanted to read and not go down too many detours. Between the Booker List, my world reading list, the Classics Club and my ‘in person’ book club I think I’ll have more than enough to keep me occupied.

I am purposefully not setting any goal around the number of books I want to read. As I commented in my wrap up posting for 2012, it’s quality over quantity for me. If I end the year  having read less than last year, then I won’t get too bothered by it.

Ok, that’s the goals set for now – all I have to do now is get on with them……




What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

17 thoughts on “2013 Is Here – Time for Resolutions

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  • I am impressed by how much you’ve accomplished. I am considering taking on challenge — something I’ve held out on. But I’m inspired reading goals and accomplishments like yours.

    • Challenges can be a good way of connecting with other readers and getting ideas and recommendations Barbara. There are plenty to choose from so its just a question of picking the one that is most interesting and fits best with the kind of reading you want to do. Then give it a go. if you don’t like that one there are plenty of others to hop into.

  • Good luck with your goals! If you find some online read-along let us know! I would join in, especially if it was one of the Guardian 1000 novels. I’ll be interesting in learning what you discover about the history of the novel. So glad I dug into your blog….I feel like I’m in a familiar country. Best, L.

    • Thanks for those kind words ‘Livritome’ – my challenge is small fry compared to yours but will be sure to check in with you on how its going.

  • Good luck with all of these goals. I’m intrigued by your Reading Along the World Lines challenge and will be interested to see which authors you discover. I don’t have many plans for 2013, though I want to find time to re-read some old favourites and also to make some progress with my Classics Club list.

  • I find myself more and more interested in the legacy and connections between novelists and changing styles and tastes so I look forward to what you uncover in your ‘novel investigations’. Books about books are like catnip to me. 🙂

    • Thanks for the encouragement Alex. I have a collection of extracts from pieces written by people like Zola, Hardy, Henry James, George Eliot in which they set out their theories of the purpose of the novel. Some are easier to understand than others. If I did a draft would you be willing to review it for me before I publish – I’d like to get some feedback on whether it’s of value and interest?

  • I’ve always avoided setting myself specific reading targets for fear of ending up reading because I feel I have to rather than because I’m genuinely enjoying the book. However, I’m very aware that this past year I have read too much that has been lightweight and not enough that has encouraged me to think more deeply about the way in which a writer is exploring the art of novel writing. So, I shall be very interested to see where your first resolution takes you.

    • I’ve also read a few ‘lightweight’ books this year. The occasional one is fine – I love chocolate but I wouldn’t want to eat it every day. And so it is with books, I do need variety but just like you I’m a bit concerned about tipping the balance too much in one direction.

      Since you’re interested in the art of novel writing idea, would you be willing to do a preview of the first piece to help me get the tone and content right? Not sure when that will be but I’ll let you know in advance…

      • Yes, of course, if you think I can help. Just let me know.


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