Well, we’re way past the halfway mark of 2016, a year that so far has appeared more an annus horribilis than an annus mirabilis. But thank goodness we have the benefit of books and the leisure to peruse them: the consolation of reading helps mitigate some of the universal depression over world events that hangs over many of us like a pall of smoke.
This is a good point at which to pause and see how I’m getting on with my various Reading Wishlists. Hmm, not brilliantly. So far with re-reads I’ve only begun Joan Aiken’s Wolves Chronicles, though I’ve managed the odd other reread (three in fact, listed below). With my Reading New England challenge I’ve managed … one book. Where non-fiction and classics and standalone fiction are concerned I’m making a little more progress. And I’m steadily filling up my alphabetical list of authors whose last names begin with each of the letters of the alphabet.
I’ve only just come across Goodwill Librarian‘s 2016 Reading Challenge on Facebook. It’s nowhere near as long as the 50-odd challenges from last year that I attempted, but I reckon I’ve a good chance to cover this with what I’ve already read and what I hope to read in the coming months without making any extra effort. So I’m not, as far as I can see, making myself a rod for my own back; though looking at the actual options I suspect that they may be angled towards less voracious and less omnivorous readers.
Here, for what it’s worth, is my current 2016 tally (feel free to skip this list):
A Joan Aiken The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and Black Hearts in Battersea [Wolves Chronicles/rereads], Mortimer’s Tie [fiction]
B Charlotte Brontë The Professor [literary classic]
C Susanna Clarke Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell [fantasy], The Ladies of Grace Adieu [fantasy]; Mark Cocker Crow Country [natural history]
D Roald Dahl Boy: Tales of Childhood [non-fiction/autobiography]; Peter Dickinson The Ropemaker [epic fantasy]; Sophie Divry The Library of Unrequited Love [literary]
H Rachel Hartman Seraphina [fantasy]; Patricia Highsmith The Two Faces of January [crime fiction]; Penelope Hughes-Hallett ‘My Dear Cassandra’: Illustrated Letters of Jane Austen [correspondence]; Sarah Hendrickx Women and Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder [non-fiction]
J Diana Wynne Jones The Merlin Conspiracy [fantasy/reread]
K John Keay The Great Arc [non-fiction]
L David Lodge The Art of Fiction [non-fiction]; Charlie Lovett First Impressions [cozy mystery]; Doris Lessing The Fifth Child [literary horror]
M China Miéville Railsea [fantasy]
N A D Nuttall Shakespeare: The Winter’s Tale [literary criticism/reread]
P Terry Pratchett Equal Rites [fantasy]; Alan Powers Living with Books [non-fiction]
R Kathryn L Ramage ‘The Abrupt Disappearance of Cousin Wilfrid’ [cozy mystery]
S Anne Spillard The Cartomancer [fiction/reread]
W Jo Walton Among Others [fantasy]; John Wyndham Plan for Chaos
Z Gabrielle Zevin The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry [fiction: Reading New England Challenge]
Eleven alphabet letters still to cover (E F G I O Q T U V X Y) but I’ve got Fforde, Gaiman, Tolkien, Verne and Xenophon already lined up — so that’s more fantasy, science fiction and non-fiction boxes ticked. Twenty-eight books read in as many weeks can’t be bad either, though it doesn’t match the consumption rate of some bloggers I know! Interestingly, fourteen authors are women as against eleven male writers — not a conscious redressing of the balance compared to past reading but for this hitherto myopic male welcome nevertheless.
Some blogging readers review their progress weekly, others monthly; I presume I’m not the only one to take a slightly longer view, in this case half-yearly. Do you take this broader overview or do you prefer a more frequent assessment? Or perhaps you don’t bother at all?