Well, we’ve made it to another year. In our unsettled world every day feels like a gift to me, not least because I can keep reading! So I hope to make good use of my time this year, and to that end some reviewing and updating of my priorities is always helpful.
In 2019 my life was very crazy and it was hard to accomplish any reading or blogging goals. So I have little progress to report, and I’m just not going to be hard on myself about that.
Part of the craziness was that moving to Europe meant doing a massive book purge that involved selling, giving away, donating, or passing on to relatives more than half of my book collection. Maybe more like three-quarters — I didn’t keep track. It was difficult to let go of some of these old friends, but I am hopeful that they will go on to new homes where they will be read and loved. To me, that is the most important thing.
I did complete five years of the Classics Club and almost made my goal of 50 books, which I found pretty amazing. I’m still reading from my list, and participating in the occasional spin, but I won’t have any specific goals.
I also have the deadline-free goal of reading All Around the World — books from as many different countries of the world as possible. I finished four excellent books toward this goal during 2019: Don Quixote (Spain), My Brilliant Career (Australia), Daring to Drive (Saudi Arabia), and Born a Crime (South Africa).
However, four is not enough. In the coming year I would like to raise this number considerably! In fact, I would love it if the bulk of my reading was about diverse countries around the world. Here are some of the books on my TBR — let me know if you think I should make any of these a priority, or have any other recommendations.
- Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi (Ghana)
- Pachinko – Min Jin Lee (Korea/Japan)
- The House of the Spirits – Isabel Allende (Chile)
- Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe (Nigeria)
- Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Colombia)
- Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie (India)
- The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy (India)
- My Name is Red – Orhan Pamuk (Turkey)
- The Architect’s Apprentice – Elif Shafak (Turkey)
- Akhenaten – Naguib Mafouz (Egypt)
- King Hereafter – Dorothy Dunnett (Scotland)
- Zorba the Greek – Nikos Kazantzakis (Greece, obs.)
- A Tale for the Time Being – Ruth Ozeki (Japan/Canada)
- Galore – Michael Crummey (Canada)
- The Night Tiger – Yangsze Choo (Malaysia)
- The Gate – Natsume Soseki (Japan)
- Burial Rites – Hannah Kent (Iceland)
I was sad that last year I did not really have time to participate in Nonfiction November, and there are so many nonfiction books piling up on my list that I have not gotten around to. Here are some of them:
- The Library Book – Susan Orlean
- The Last Girl – Nadia Murad
- The Brain that Changes Itself – Norman Doidge
- An Anthropologist on Mars – Oliver Sacks
- A Time of Gifts – Patrick Leigh Fermor
- SPQR – Mary Beard
- A Tiger in the Kitchen – Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
- Prairie Fires – Caroline Fraser
- Secondhand Time – Svetlana Alexeivich
- The Republic of Imagination – Azar Nafisi
- When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
- I Contain Multitudes – Ed Yong
- Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
- Every Word Is a Bird We Teach To Sing – Daniel Tammet
As you may notice, many of these would count for Reading All Around the World as well. If I could get to even half of the list this year, I’d be very happy!
Otherwise, I haven’t jumped officially onto any challenges this year (except the Book Blogger Discussion Challenge, as usual), but we’ll what happens.
As for events, following the success of Robertson Davies Reading Week, I’m thinking of doing a shorter follow-up event in late August, as there were some readers who said they would still like to participate. And of course, I’ll be looking forward to Witch Week in October/November (thank you Chris and Lizzie for keeping up the annual tradition!) with the theme of Gothick.
That seems like enough to start with. What are your plans, wishes, and dreams this year?