2019: What lies ahead


Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash

Now I’ve managed to close the lid on 2018 (see my wrap up post here), its time to turn my attention to 2019.

I’ve been wrestling with the question of whether to join some of the many challenges that are available. But on balance I decided that last year’s experiment with “Reading Naked” (by which I mean picking my next book randomly) was liberating so I plan to continue using that approach this year.

That doesn’t mean my year will be entirely without structure. But I’ll focus on projects rather than challenges. Challenges usually involve meeting a specific goal – reading a targeted number of books for example, or specified categories of books by a set date. I prefer the more open-ended nature of a project that I create for myself, where I get to decide on the scope and parameters.  I want the flexibility to go wherever my mood takes me.

Here’s how the year ahead could pan out.

I’m going for simplicity;  largely avoiding specific goals in favour of general directions. Most of these are continuations of existing projects and activities but – just to ring the changes – I’m going to start two new activities.

General directions 

  • Finish the Booker Prize project. This is the only specific goal I’m adopting this year. It should be a piece of cake since I have just two books and then I’m done. Although I have copies of the 2016 and 2018 books I’m not going to count them. If I manage to read them this year, they’ll be considered as bonus.
  • Re-connect with the Classics Club project.  I’m now 12 books away from the target of 50.  But I keep finding new titles to add so this could be a movable feast.
  • Travel the world: I stalled last year in my plan to read authors from a broader range of countries.  In a year when the UK is supposed to say goodbye to the EU, it feels appropriate to make sure my reading tastes have an international dimension.
  • Move through years of my life: I have a feeling that by reading more from my Classics Club list, I will be able to make progress on the Years of My Life project without having to make a special effort.

New Initiatives 

Booker Talk Team Expands

Booker Talk is approaching its 7th anniversary. I’m marking this milestone by expanding the team.  Two new faces will be making an appearance on this site shortly, contributing reviews and articles on reading, authors and books.

cerian fishlockCerian Fishlock is currently studying for an MA in Publishing. She’s an Agatha Christie fan who’s desperate to find a modern author that can match the Queen of Crime . She loves novels with a psychological edge and “if that can be combined with defeating the patriarchy, even better.”




edward colleyEdward Colley is a retired newspaper editor and graphic designer with an eclectic taste in books. He counts Thomas Hardy among his favourite authors.  In between reading fiction he enjoys biographies and travel writing .





Connecting with Welsh authors/publishers

For the past year I’ve been trying to support and promote literature from my home country of Wales, through reviews and the odd feature article on this site. Now I’m going a step further by creating a new series where we get to know some of the authors based in Wales.

cwtch definition I’m calling this new series Cwtch Corner. The idea is to get into a conversation with an author about their favourite authors and books, how and where they get their inspiration and what readers can expect from their own novel/s. This is a spot where authors could pitch their work to potential readers.

Never seen that word Cwtch before?  It’s a word used in the Welsh language to describe a physical place –  a small cubbyhole for example or a small room in a pub. But it also denotes a form of affection, love and caring. Think of it like a cuddle or a hug. So authors taking part in Cwtch Corner are hopefully going to find the experience a bit like being wrapped in a warm embrace.

I’m reaching out to authors to participate at the moment but if you know someone you think might be interested just ask them to contact me via Twitter using @bookertalk. Please note however that I am not intending to feature self-published authors.



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 January 12, 2019, in Bookends, Reading goals and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. I’m also an Agatha Christie fan who’s yet to find a modern equivalent. Hello to Cerian and Edward. Great Karen that you are doing so well on the Booker project. I still have loads of Booker novels to get through.

  2. I prefer what you term as projects too – it seems to help me strike a balance between making sure I read a range of stuff while not restricting me to reading books just to tick a random box. Looking forward to Cwtch Corner!

  3. Hi there! Cwtch Corner sounds like a briliant idea. As other people have been kind enough to mention me and Crime Cymru, I’ll just add that all authors on our website are either conventioanlly published or meet the Society of Authors criteria for membership if self-published. Some of us set our books in Wales, some don’t. Some of us live in Wales, some don’t. But we all have something in common- like you, we all want to celebrate our Welsh roots! It would be lovely to chat to you at some point if you would like to do that. You can find me at http://www.alishawkins.co.uk or Alis Hawkins Author on Facebook. Good luck with the venture!

    • Hello Alis, thanks for the insight about Crime Cymru. It doesn’t particularly matter that some of the authors don’t set their work in Wales – of more importance is that the author comes from Wales or has a strong connection to the country, I’ve just looked at your website and sent you a message with my email address.

  4. Great post Karen. Totally understand your approach to 2019. Sounds sensible to me, and close to what I’d like to do though not necessarily what I achieve.

    Love your expanded team, though I must say that in catching up with your posts I read Cerian’s post first and wondered who she was. Was it a guest post I wondered? Out of the blue it was a bit mystifying. It may be worth a little intro for blog readers like me who don’t always read blog posts in order! Or, am I the only one?)

    And I love the idea of Cwtch Corner!

  5. I like the sound of your plans. I like making plans. I like carrying them out. Perhaps we should call it Planuary! Today I am reading the first book of a plan to read more books from outside my country: My Kind of Girl by Buddhadeva Bose set in a train station in Uttar Pradesh, India.

    • Reading outside your country is a direction I set for myself a few years ago. it’s been fascinating to discover some new authors. I’m always on the look out for authors from India so will watch out for your comments on this book

  6. Like your new approach – hope it proves satisfying.

  7. It sounds as though you’re in for an interesting year – and I LOVE the sound of Cwtch Corner! Along with some others who have commented here, I am a member of the group of Welsh authors represented at http://crime.cymru/ and quite a lot of us are traditionally published. Worth checking out! And you can also check out my website: http://www.cathyace.com/ On a personal note, I’d be delighted to talk to you about both my series and my just-published standalone (my thirteenth novel) at any time 🙂 (PS: I just named a restaurant in a fictionalized version of Rhossili “The Rhosddraig Cwtch”!)

    • Hi Cathy, lovely to hear from you – I came across Crime Cymru recently and it seems like a very interesting initiative. Will take a look at your website too…. 13 novels! that’s quite an achievement

  8. Hi, I have contacted my publisher, Honno, to let them know of your offer. And I have left a
    message on Twitter for you. We have some great women writers at Honno. Oh, and by the way, I’m also a Crime Cymru member along with Thorne Moore and Jan Newton.

  9. I’ve been fascinated by Wales ever since I read The Grey King as a child, but I’ve not read much by actual Welsh authors. I would really like to learn more so I look forward to what comes out of your Cwtch Corner.

  10. Good luck getting back to your Booker project I know how well you’ve done with it up to now. I’ve rather given up on the Booker things, as those between The Luminaries and Milkman (which I just read) I have no interest in. I only had about 8 of the old ones to go though. I look forward to hearing from your new contributiors.

  11. Very exciting to be completing the Booker winners.

    Like you, I’m choosing most of my books on whim rather than planning my reading – the exception will be March/ April when I read as much of the Stella Prize longlist as I can.

  12. nice projects, looking forward to reading more of your posts

  13. Interesting plans and yay! The Booker will soon be complete! Welcome to your new colleagues – it will be interesting to hear what they have to say!

  14. I like your ideas for this year. I think projects are more achieveable than challenges for some people. I tend to lose interest if it goes on too long. Kind of like giving up New Years Resolutions and having intentions instead. 🤠🐧

  15. Regarding your Welsh literature project, I came across this website the other day http://crime.cymru Some of them may be self-published, which I know you don’t want to feature, but I think at least a couple are not, e.g. Alis Hawkins

  16. I’ve just published my thoughts on my blog for 2019 as well. Good to see we’re both tangling with something new as well as loving the old. Good luck with your new projects and hello to Cerian and Edward.

  17. I love the ‘cwtch cupboard’ idea. The lovely Seren Books (www.serenbooks.com) might be interested in it. I’m not sure if you know them.

  18. Congratulations and I’m looking forward to your new projects. Xx

  19. I know a few authors, from Wales, I’ll let them know about this post.

  20. PS: I didn’t want to talk politics, but I’m so sad about brexit :((

  21. Hi Karen!
    I’m impressed at how well you’ve done on the booker prize project! Congratulations.
    I’m also a big fan of picking books randomly; I do it at home as well as in the library 🙂
    Happy new bookish year!

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