Sunday Salon: Time Marches On

sundaysalon

It’s April already though it hasn’t felt like it much in my part of Wales until yesterday. The sun came out, the icy blasts of wind dropped and it felt comfortable enough to try some gardening.  Maybe not such a good idea to do that on the same day I tried a new gym routine. Those aching muscles have given me a good excuse today however to curl up on the sofa and indulge in some reading and reflections on the reading year so far.

I started the year with four reading resolutions.  I’m making progress of a sort with all of them….though I do feel a bit like the White Rabbit on times.

whiterabitResolution 1:  Experiment with a readalong 

Since I started this blog a year ago I kept finding mysterious references to ‘readalongs’ but didn’t have much of a clue what to expect. Now I have gone through the initiation ceremony via an Unputdownables reading of Crime and Punishment. It was interesting to find out what other readers thought of the story as it developed though it was a bit tough to keep to the schedule because I was travelling at the time and couldn’t always post within the weekly time limit. But then I found that I enjoyed the book so much I was too far ahead of the schedule. It hasn’t prevented me from thinking of joining another similar read in the future but will need to make sue I pick the right timing and the right book.

Resolution 2: Discover novelists from different parts of the world

To make sure I did this, I set myself a Reading Along the World Lines challenge. I’ve spent most of the time identifying the authors and books from some of the countries crossed by the Equator or the Prime Meridian lines. It’s proved difficult to find the titles in English at a reasonable cost in English —.I had a recommendation for one book by a Brazilian author that sounded wonderful but at $99 a copy, I couldn’t really justify the purchase. So far I’ve read just three books from the whole list (one each from England, the Congo and Colombia) and have started reading the fourth ( a nineteenth century classic from Brazil). I have great recommendations now via work colleagues for Belgian, Brazilian and Chinese authors which are all going on the list.

Resolution 3 :Discover what makes the novel – well ‘novel’: The plan was to dig into the history of the novel to find out when this particular form of fiction started and what the early novelists were trying to achieve.

I started off with a difficult question – what was the first novel to be published in English. It proved a more tricky question that I expected. I’ve now written five posts on the topic ( all of them are listed here) and have plenty of ideas for others to follow.

Resolution 4: Focused Flexibility:

This is my attempt to avoid falling into my usual trap of getting distracted when I learn of a great sounding book. I know I have more than enough books already on my to read list so I really don’t need to buy any more. My resolution went out of the window when I discovered you could get review copes from NetGally. Suddenly I had three waiting in my inbox. Then a colleague in work strongly recommended The End of Your Life Book Club and the recent obituaries about Ruth Prawer Jhabvala reminded me she was someone I meant to read this year. So all things taken together, I’m falling way down on this resolution.

How is your reading coming along this year – are you ahead of your goals or falling behind like me?

About BookerTalk

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

Posted on April 7, 2013, in Sunday Salon, world literature and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Readalongs are fun! I finished more than a dozen books through readalongs. However, it’s been months since I last joined one (I’m just lazy, haha).

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  2. great resolutions! One of my favorite challenge is reading books set in/by author from 52 different countries. here is my ongoing list, if it can help you: http://wordsandpeace.com/2012/01/04/around-the-world-in-52-books/

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  3. Ambitious goals! I didn’t really set goals but did sign up for a challenge because, like you and the read along, I wasn’t quite sure what that meant for my reading. I know I don’t want to read some huge number of books because I prefer reading slowly: sometimes leisurely, sometimes deeply. I didn’t want to change that by turning it into a race or a competition — faster, larger, more. So I set a modest number for my Europa Challenge — six books and I have either met or am close to meeting that number. So far I’ve read mostly noir — and mostly European books. It’s fun. I’m finding authors I never would have discovered otherwise.

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    • That’s a very considered approach Barbara and you are so right that we shouldn’t make this feel like we’re racing to a finishing line. There are many bloggers who seem to be able to read at a phenomenal rate. At first I got spooked by that but then realised a) I would never have that much time available b) what does it matter how many I read – if I go too fast they’ll start blurring anyway. Your Europa challenge sounds unusual – must go and check that out.

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