New Year’s List and Resolution

I have been reading my last year’s posts this morning. A lot of them (to my dismay) concerned some kind of a problem with reading; from the long hiatus due to inability to connect with any book I’d put my hands on to the almost mindless escapism, from the reading overdose to the lack of concentration, from the galloping rush through some of the texts to the inability to think about what I’ve read due to the exhaustion… In fact, I only had to look at the titles of the year’s first and last posts to come to the said conclusion – indicatively, the year began with the Troubles and Titles to be finished with A problem and a List. For a moment this made me wonder whether I have been truly reading at all. To what purpose was it? Did any of those books matter? Was it a waste of time?

Only for a moment…

In spite of all the issues the year was full of great books that gave me many delightful hours of deep nourishment, thought and enjoyment (Lost Lake, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Of Mice and Men, The Prime of Miss Jane Brodie, O Pioneers!, The Professor’s House, Ragnarok, Winter’s Tales and Out of Africa). A couple of them spoke particularly well to my sensibility making themselves an important part of my consciousness (Death Comes for the Archbishop and Moominpappa at Sea).

I also need to mention couple of titles I considered delightfully entertaining – Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin (which almost pushed me back to University), Angela Thirkell’s The Brandons, August Folly and Before Lunch (played the crucial role in preservation of my sanity) and, of course, Gerald Durrell’s second and third book of The Corfu Trilogy (which were wonderful companions during my picnics and walks).


Last January I noted down 52 books I wished to read during the year. It was not a plan but a list of preferences. Comparing it with the list of the books I have read, I see that only nine of the titles match… Nevertheless, I made a list for this year as well (because I love lists and because I like having a reminder and a framework of a kind):

  1. The Sea, The Sea. Iris Murdoch
  2. The Sea. John Banville
  3. The Lady from the Sea. Henrik Ibsen
  4. Moby Dick. Herman Melville
  5. Lord Jim. Joseph Conrad
  6. Long Ships. Frans G. Bengtsson
  7. Prose Edda. Snorri Sturluson
  8. How to Be Alone. Sara Maitland
  9. On Diary. Philippe Lejeune
  10. Walden. Henry David Thoreau
  11. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Milan Kundera
  12. The Last Unicorn. Peter S. Beagle
  13. Fathers and Sons. Ivan Turgenev
  14. And Quiet Flows the Don. Mikhail Sholokhov
  15. The Idiot. Fyodor Dostoevsky
  16. Bosnian Chronicle. Ivo Andrić
  17. So Long, See You Tomorrow. William Maxwell
  18. A Long Long Way. Sebastian Barry
  19. Lark Rise. Flora Thompson
  20. Life’s Little Ironies. Thomas Hardy
  21. Howard’s End. E.M. Forster
  22. A Room With a View. E.M. Forster
  23. Summer Book. Tove Jansson
  24. Winter Book. Tove Jansson
  25. Snow Child. Eowyn Ivey
  26. The Paying Guest. Sarah Waters
  27. The Voyage Out. Virginia Woolf
  28. The Children’s Book. A.S. Byatt
  29. Angels and Insects. A.S. Byatt
  30. Death in Spring. Merce Rodoreda
  31. The Garden Party. Katherine Mansfield
  32. The Enchanted April. Elizabeth von Arnim
  33. Journey Home. Olaf Olafsson
  34. Housekeeping. Marilynne Robinson
  35. The Alexandria Quartet. Lawrence Durrell
  36. A Dance to the Music of Time. Anthony Powell
  37. In Search of a Lost Time. Marcel Proust
  38. Wolf Solent. John Cowper Powys
  39. Pastors and Masters. Ivy Compton-Burnett
  40. The Death of the Heart. Elizabeth Bowen
  41. Flying to Nowhere. John Fuller
  42. Decline and Fall. Evelyn Waugh
  43. Three Men on a Boat. Jerome K. Jerome
  44. The Wrong Box. R.L. Stevenson
  45. Moon and Sixpence. Somerset Maugham
  46. The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony. Roberto Calasso
  47. Reflections in a Golden Eye. Carson McCullers
  48. A Good Man is Hard to Find. Flannery O’Connor
  49. Tender is the Night. F.Scott Fitzgerald
  50. The Hedgehog, the Fox and the Magister’s Pox. Stephen Jay Gould
  51. some poetry of Tomas Tranströmer and
  52. John Keats

This year I intend to give my best not to encounter the last year’s problems. I am resolved to be more patient and relaxed about my reading than I ever was. Hence rereading! (very much looking forward to):

  • Shakespeare,
  • The Old Man and The Sea,
  • Sense and Sensibility,
  • To the Lighthouse,
  • The Stranger,
  • The Red and the Black,
  • Winesburg, Ohio and
  • Moominpappa at Sea.

Happy New Year!


8 thoughts on “New Year’s List and Resolution

  1. Looks like the ‘sea’ is calling out to you rather loudly this year. :) I have the Murdoch sitting on the shelves too but since it’s not causing any stir just yet, I think I’ll just wait abit more. I do, however, share your desire to read Three Men on A Boat this year as well. That and probably Lark Rise. And maybe a bit of Proust. Gee, your list is starting to grow on me! :p

    1. The sea is calling loudly, indeed! Although I am not really sure why..
      The list was influenced by you, too, as you could see. I am very much looking forward to William Maxwell and Sarah Waters. :)

  2. A great mix of books there, very eclectic, Moby Dick was soul crushingly slow and I never finished that but there are some great reads in there. Seeing the first three books, I thought you were only going to pick books that had the word ‘sea’ in the title, it would have been interesting as an experiment. Quite a few of the books on your list, I haven’t read either so it will be interesting to read along with you and see if our views match up.

    1. Well, there will be a lot of reading about the sea this year.. If its grip proves to be tight enough to last, that is..
      I am not sure if I could stand reading about it for a whole year though, however attractive it is.. But, I like the idea – only books that have ‘sea’ in the title. I was curious and, searching through the Book Depository, found couple of intriguing titles: The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea (Jukio Mishima), Beside the Sea (Veronique Olmi), The Sea Lady (Margaret Drabble), The Sea Road (Margaret Elphinstone), The Mirror of the Sea (Conrad).. Very inviting.. I was also reminded of some titles collecting dust on my books-to-read-e-shelf – Wide Sargasso Sea for example.. Who knows, maybe I’ll get to these too. :)

      1. I didn’t know anything about the Sargasso sea until I saw that title and then I read about it and its fascinating. I think I may try and do a themed month if I can find an interesting theme.

        1. I’ve heard about it seven or eight years ago when we read parts of Gubar’s and Gilbert’s “Madwoman in the Attic” (feminist reading of Victorian literature).. I’ve been meaning to read it ever since!
          Hey, I am sure you can easily find an interesting theme. More than one, for you’re full of ideas – it is my impression.

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