The true university these days is a collection of books.
-Thomas Carlyle

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Looking back and looking forward...

This contemplative painting (by Isabel Cortade Obrero) seemed appropriate for the time of year where I revisit the books and stories encountered during 2011 as well as share some plans for 2012.

I didn't read as many books as I would have liked during 2011, clocking up a total of 15 books altogether. I am a much slower reader than other bloggers but this is 4 down on last year. It may be my commitment to the Lit Theory book that I wanted to make notes on each month, taking up novel reading time, or that I chose a couple of longer books later on in the year. Also there were 5 non-fiction books in that total, more than usual. There were also much more male authors, at 9, as opposed to female writers at 4, with 2 sets of short stories with various authors. This is a complete reversal of male/female ratio compared to last year. While interesting this is always coincidental, the sex of the author does not determine what I read.
The Nationalities of the authors was as follows...
English - 5
American - 4
Portuguese - 1
Scottish - 1
Peruvian - 1
- 2 of these titles were in translation.
The genres of the titles read in 2011 were as follows...
Historic Drama - 4
Gardening (non-fiction) - 3
Drama - 2
Modern drama - 2
Short Stories - 2
Apocalyptic/dystopia - 1
Literary History - 1
- 3 of these titles were prizewinners
- 4 of the titles were known classics
- 1 of the titles was by a new writer
Favourite reads during 2011 were...
Blindness by Jose Saramago
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
Tinkers by Paul Harding
The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy
Oldest and Newest...
Oldest - The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy, 1887
Newest - Ox Tales: Water by various authors, July 1999
Favourite cover design...
The Great Gatsby from the Oxford World Classics range, use the link to have a look.
Unexpected disappointment...
Whit by Iain Banks
Favourite character...
The hobo requiring dental attention in Tinkers by Paul Harding, one of my favourite passages from a book this year. I laughed and cryed within the space of a few pages, then had to read the passage again. Pure magic.
Challenges for 2011...
My 8 resolutions (and their result in red) were...

  1. Read another Bronte not yet, but I have Shirley and Wuthering Heights

  2. Read Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton Completed

  3. Read an Eastern European writer Uncompleted

  4. Read an Isabel Allende The House of the Spirits

  5. Read a short story collection Ox Tales: Water

  6. Read an Iain Banks Whit

  7. Read another Carson McCullers Uncompleted

  8. Read another Zola (carried from 2009) not yet, but I have L'Assomoir

Not as good as last year, but as I always say, they are guidelines and not set in stone.

I also found an unread Literary Theory book, The English Novel in History 1895 - 1920 by David Trotter, on my shelf and set myself the task of blogging about my progress each month, which I did complete.

My work friend AR and I set each other 3 books each, of which we had to read at least one during the year, and we both read one of them. Mine was The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, his was Moments of Reprieve by Primo Levi. I have just started Generation X by Douglas Coupland which was one of his other titles for me.

Other events for 2011 included my 2nd Novel Holiday based on Thomas Hardy in Dorset.

So what about 2012? My 8 resolutions this year are...

  1. To not buy any new books, only acquiring them as gifts, borrowing, or second hand if I have to. This is to get my TBR pile under control and ties in with the The TBR Double Dare run by Ready When You Are, C.B. (see my sidebar)

  2. To read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

  3. To read 1 or 2 titles that came up during our lit hol discussions

  4. To read 3 literary articles and blog about them

  5. To compare 3 book to film stories

  6. To read at least one dystopia novel

  7. To read the Zola I have wanted to read since 2009 (this is the 3rd year it has made it on this list)

  8. To read another George Eliot if possible

We'll see how I get on.

My work friend AR and I are swapping some titles again to challenge each other, and we have another friend in the loop this year too. So AR and BD between them have given me The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick, Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer, The Dubliners by James Joyce, Seize the Day by Saul Bellow and August: Osage County by Tracy Letts. I really enjoyed doing this last year.

Mainly I hope I fit in more books than I did last year. Other things coming up in 2012 will hopefully be another lit hol, as well as a sort of lit weekend, details to follow shortly. All very exciting.

Wishing you all lots of lovely books and lots of reading time during 2012

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Hay on Wye

Hay on Wye