Resolutions of old

First off, happy New Year to you… whether you think it’s just the beginning of 2014 or whether you feel like it’s a new start and a clean page, there’s something a little different about today. 

I’ve been revisiting my resolutions from last year, one of which was to read 100 books. How close did I get? Not even a quarter of the way. That’s embarrassing. I’m ashamed. I better make my excuses and grab my coat…

But to be fair, I got caught up with the George R. R. Martin “Ice and Fire” books mid-April (otherwise known as Game of Thrones) and some of those books are EPIC. I mean, I could have counted them as three books. Not that it makes much difference to my tally. It’s still pretty poor. 

So what did I read?

goodreads2013 goodreads22013And what does this tell me? I guess I am a series reader, chomping my way like a voracious stegosaurus through everything in reach until I’ve stripped the author’s bibliography clean. And if that means re-reading, that is fine with me. 

Honestly, I got a little tired of the Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series after three or four of them. His style is a little repetitive and not designed for voracious consumption one after the other. Phrases repeat. Ideas repeat. The plots get a little weaker book by book. But I do love JLB Matekoni, and the way he was played by Lucian Msamati in the BBC television series made me love him all the more. Such a quiet, gentle, profoundly good man. The world needs more men like him. Forget your Byronic heroes and your Heathcliffs. Take your troubled Rochesters and give me a Mr Darcy or a Rra Matekoni any day. 

As for George R. R. Martin, well, enough said. These are the books that took me to bed early. My prediction is that it is going to end up an almighty battle between the Others and Melisandre’s Lord of Light. For the night is dark and full of terrors, she says. It’s an epic of the best kind – with so many characters to love and hate that you don’t mind much if one or two of them don’t make it to the end. Whenever that might be. I still have fears Martin will never finish it though. Perhaps he’s an enthusiast like me and has hundreds of mini-projects dotted about that are as yet unfinished… 

Anyway, I accept it is a poor show to have read only twenty-four books, especially since only two of them were in French. I vow to improve for next year. 

This takes some doing – I’m not sure how I ever used to be such a greedy reader. I read quickly, but at points, I was checking out ten books from the library every three weeks or so. This was, admittedly, before I discovered DVD box sets and I didn’t like being dictated to by television’s fixed times. Life before programming and recording… 

I have, admittedly, undertaken reading materials for the Coursera course I did last year, which involved fifty or so poems, and probably more. It was a romp through Dickinson and Walt Whitman through to the most modern of American poets, and I enjoyed it thoroughly, taxing as it was. I got 90% by the way, which I am pretty pleased with. That is a lot of reading and note-taking and essay writing and peer reviews. 

So this year, I aim to read thirty books. This should be a little easier with the Kindle my dad bought me for my birthday. Unfortunately, I’ve started re-reading The Complete Sherlock Holmes again. Blame Elementary. If you haven’t seen this, it is particularly good. Jonny Lee Miller plays a particularly schizoid Holmes and Lucy Liu plays Watson. Of course, the new season of Sherlock, the Benedict Cumberbatch British version of a modern Sherlock Holmes, is also about to start. I can’t get enough of that oddball detective genius. I think the first episode is on today. Sadly, I can’t take to ‘evil genius’ Moriarty in the British version. He comes across as a less frightening member of Westlife – just as camp and only scary if you have a boyband phobia. 

Anyway, I will see how I do. I’m ashamed by the paucity of my reading this year, so hopefully the shock will send me to bed a little earlier to get cosy with a book. Either that or I will have to go back to reading trash again. I tend to get through that super-quick! 

Now I just need to learn how to rig the kindle to turn the pages automatically and then I can craft AND read at the same time. How cool would that be??

So enjoy your day. I will be the one reading by the fire. 

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2 thoughts on “Resolutions of old

  1. Reading you post I made a resolution – not that I would read 30 books, but simply that I would note down what I read.
    However, I first have to define what constitutes a “read book”. Last week I gave up on the Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell after reading 2/3 of it. I will have to decide where I set the bar for what counts as read (51%, 75 % 100%?). Not that I give up on a lot of books, but I no longer feel I have to finish every book I start. Perhaps I will make a list of “books perused” and of “books read” for there is at least 10 “perused” for each “read”.
    Making the list public would be a incentive to read more.
    I suppose the definition of a “read book” would also have to include everything one reads. My inclination would be to only list what I perceive as the good stuff. However, if one of the objects is to discover what I actually read, which might be different from what I think I read, I would have to list all, including trash and books one reads aloud. Lorne and I read a book aloud, half an hour each night before going to bed. Just now we are rereading Barbara Pym, an old favourite.
    I would also like to read more French books but they are not that accessible to me.

    1. I confess I usually finish what I start – it has to be completely terrible to be consigned to the bin before the end – and if it is that bad, it usually is one for the bin! And yes, if I included all the books I read with the children I teach, that would significantly bump my number up.

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