Happy New Plans!

What a month December has been!

Just as I was starting to relax, to look forward to a period of resting and reading, a wave of work came and smashed all my intentions. I was left with no time to read Woolf, no time to write about Christa Wolf novels read during November… What’s even worst, upon finishing the work, I was left with no desire to get back to literature.

I’ve read less this year, compared to 2015th, but there’s been a great number of titles I found remarkable and important. Wide Sargasso Sea was the year’s highlight, all three of Peirenne’s titles that I’ve read during the Women In Translation Month (Beside the Sea, The Mussel Feast and Chasing the King of Hearts) were excellent, Wolf’s Cassandra and Patterns of Childhood as well.

I have to mention Kamila Shamsie’s A God In Every Stone, Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman and Correspondence: Ariadna Efron and Boris Pasternak. Sadly, I managed to write a thought or two about the last one only.

Three years ago I whined about how my reading is too anglophilic or, to be closer to truth, too eurocentric. Not much has changed since then. A couple of things led me closer towards a wish to tackle the problem in a systematic way. First, I discovered the wonderful work of Chingiz Aitmatov (which was the second highlight of the year!). Then, reading Karen’s post on Babel’s Odessa stories, reminded me of a reading plan I was failing to implement for years in a row now, a plan I named “Russian Winter”. Combining these two together led me to a decision to start my journey around the world by traveling through the former Soviet Union. I will not be far from Europe (again, to be precise, I will not be out of the Europe for the most part of this trip), but hey, it is the first step. Whether I’ll continue to West, East or South Asia remains to be seen. I have not made up my mind yet.

Here’s a rough reading plan for 2017:

  • a book (or two) from each of the former Soviet republics
  • some British women authors I haven’t read before (Brookner, Pym, Howard, Townsend Warner, Taylor, Drabble, Lively, Mortimer…)
  • some Shakespeare
  • some Ursula LeGuin
  • Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog and The Life of Elves
  • a couple of books on Siberia
  • a couple of novels with “sea” in their title
  • several Plato’s dialogs

Happy New Year to all of us. May we be better and wiser!


17 thoughts on “Happy New Plans!

    1. It will be an interesting reading year, I think! I hope I will manage to write about most of these books. I certainly intend to. I promised myself I will try harder not to let work mess with my writing so much.

  1. I like the mix of books you are planning to read, your choices are always thought provoking and you do a good job of getting the rest of us away from the all to easy to read European books…we crave more and you help satiate that need. For myself, I have already picked up some of Rizal’s work so I can get a feel for the Philippines.

    1. I am not sure I deserve such compliments.
      As far as I can see you are doing a good job getting yourselves away from the European books on your own. :)
      I haven’t heard of Rizal! It will be interesting to learn about him from you. I am still far away from the Philippines, and who knows whom will I find there once I get there!

      1. I like to mix and match my way through my reading pile, if I do go European, I like to move away from books written locally to me and find new gems out there…which reminds me I never did pick up those Leskov short stories…

        Rizal is a new one to me but I will be reading him in the next couple of months and will let you know what I think.

  2. I like your approach to the 2017 plan – not too specific so you feel tied down (or at least that is how I feel if I start listing actual books) but not too generic that it feels you are drifting. happy travels through the soviet union – hope you have a good supply of vodka

    1. Yes, it is a good one, isn’t it? Just the right amount of constriction.
      Alas, not only do I not have a good supply of vodka, but I have none!
      (What a sentence! I can sense that something is wrong, but I don’t know what. So, please, when you stumble upon grammar errors, whether they appear in the posts or the comments, feel free to point them out if you’re inclined to.)

  3. All the best to your 2017 reading plans!
    I hope to get around to reading the Alameddine & Shamsie soon, and check Aitmatov out as well. Have actually started ‘The First Teacher’ sometime last year, need to pick it up again. Also, those British women authors you mentioned…. Pym, Brookner, Taylor, Lively, Mortimer… so much to read, so little time!

    1. Thank you!
      Good luck then with your reading plans as well! I am curious to see what you will make of Alameddine, Shamsie and Aitmatov!

      I just finished reading The Seven Sisters, and I am struggling with the blog post…
      I stumbled upon the book at the newfound bookshop, and I bought it without a second thought! I don’t regret it is all I will say.

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