The jokey noticeboard outside a local pub reads JANUARY NEARLY OVER THANK GOD and while I’m not in a hurry to skip on to February it’s been a surprise how quickly this month has come and nearly gone. At least it’s a good point at which to look back and see how I’ve been doing with my reading over the last 30-odd days, and how I’m progressing with my Mount To-Be-Read Challenge.
This, you may remember, is an attempt to substantially reduce the piles of books (even though they’re actually mostly resting on shelves) that have accumulated unread over, in my case, years. Or at least put a dent in that backlog. The rules are clear: no rereads, no library books, no books acquired since January 1st can count — though that won’t stop me reading those forbidden categories, it’s just that I can’t count them in my tally.
Here’s my January total:
Alison Croggan’s The Bone Queen
A S Byatt’s Angels and Insects
Donna Leon’s The Jewels of Paradise
J K Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: the Original Screenplay
Fflur Dafydd’s The White Trail
At first I thought I would aim small: the Pike’s Peak challenge is to read 12 books from my TBR pile. As I’ve already completed and reviewed five it’s not going to take me long to achieve this if I only read unread titles in my possession. Mont Blanc (24 books) is certainly achievable, maybe even Mt. Vancouver (36 books) or Mt. Ararat (48 books). Mt. Kilimanjaro (60 books) I think will be too ambitious though.
But that’s not all. I’ve very slightly stalled on Daphne du Maurier’s Castle Dore (her completion of a novel by Arthur Quiller-Couch) but hope to finish it in February, another Mount TBR title to add to the pile. As regular readers will have noticed I’ve also now completed a reread of Joan Aiken’s The Stolen Lake, and I’ve started a library copy of Jo Walton’s Tooth and Claw.
You may have also noticed that all the above are penned by women authors, so I thought I’d better start redressing the balance — but not too much — with some male writers. This has begun with Steve Silberman’s NeuroTribes: the legacy of autism and the future of neurodiversity which I’m digesting bit by bit (at around 600 pages it’s a whopper of a doorstopper).
So that’s where I’ve got so far, my Base Camp as it were. I know many of you readers have regular updates on where you’ve got with reading challenges. Whether or not you account for these on your blogs I hope you are making progress scaling the heights of whatever you’ve set yourself; or maybe you’re just taking stock of where you’ve reached on your general amble through life?