I have a very nice notebook for the purpose of keeping a list of books I’ve read. Unfortunately I hardly ever remember to use it. So one of my New Year resolutions is to keep it in a more handy place and at the end of December to be able to look back over my reading year.
Even without such a record to refer to I know that there is no system to my reading/re-reading. Occasionally I arrange a pile of books beside my bed and vow to read them in the order in which they are stacked. But then, I’ll be scanning a bookshelf and something – new or oft read – catches my eye and that is what I want to read and no other book will do. Or that month’s book group title has to be put to the top of the pile. Or I like a particular book so much all I want to read is something else by the same author. Or I’ve finished a book and don’t want to start a brand new one late at night so reach for an old favourite. So the bedside pile gets scattered and re-formed any old how.
Now there are also e-books … I have a Kindle app on my laptop with, currently, fifty-six titles waiting for my attention. And of course there are all the books I’ve seen reviewed/have been recommended waiting to be bought/downloaded/borrowed from the library.
In a parallel universe I would have a year (or three) off and do nothing but catch up on all of these.
I can’t remember what I’ve read over the whole year but these, not in any order, are some from the last few months, fiction unless otherwise stated:
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (a re-read)
The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden (a re-read)
The Complete Book of Aunts by Rupert Christiansen (non-fiction)
The London Train by Tessa Hadley
A Capital Union by Victoria Hendry (for book group)
Austerity Britain 1945-51 by David Kynaston (non-fiction, half finished)
Penny Plain et al by O. Douglas (an O. Douglas (sister of John Buchan) is what I usually reach for as a late-night comfort blanket; her titles are mostly out-of-print but The Day of Small Things has been reissued by Greyladies Publishing. I know them all almost off by heart.)
Princess Tina Annual 1969 (new addition to collection of girls’ annuals; approx 380 so far; planning to blog on this subject soon)
The Nightingale Girls / The Nightingale Sisters by Donna Douglas
The Home Corner / The Dance Settee and other stories by Ruth Thomas
Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell (for book group)
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (for book group)
I am currently reading: on Kindle app Carnegie’s Call by Michael Malone, in anticipation of hearing Michael’s motivational talk to the Edinburgh Writers’ Club on 6 January; and in paperback Ruth Rendell’s last Inspector Wexford novel The Vault (I tend to go on a crime-reading spree every January); also enjoying a Christmas present, a huge book on quilts from the American Folk Art Museum.
Now I’m off to rearrange that to-be-read pile yet again and to place the Books Read notebook by its side.
Do you have a reading plan? I would love to know what it is (and if you stick to it).