I’m still in a state of ‘quandarification’. (Is there such a word? Well, there is now!) At the start of the year, when the word pandemic was something most of us associated with ancient history, I made a resolution to reduce book acquisition in the noble pursuit of tsundoku reduction.
Anybody afflicted by tsundoku will know that bittersweet feeling of guilt and pleasure with accumulations of unread books, but in a bid to support local business during lockdown I broke my resolve at the end of March.
Now, halfway through this crazy year, I think it may as good an opportunity as any for a quick bookwise review, and to also check on that quandarification.
According to Goodreads I’ve already read 39 books out of the sixty I thought I might manage throughout the whole of 2020. Of course some titles are shorter than others, but I’m reasonably pleased with the balance of classics versus modern, female versus male authors, adult versus YA, novels versus novellas, short story collections and non-fiction, rereads versus new reads.
What I’m less pleased about is the lack of real diversity and the limited range of nationalities and cultures represented, something I’m struggling to remedy, especially in view of Black Lives Matter. I have yet to review some Chinua Achebe essays I read last year, am still part way through Adeline Yen Mah’s Chinese Cinderella, have let Marjorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses slip down my TBR pile, and have so far only finished the introduction to N K Jemisin’s collection How Long ’til Black Future Month? I’m hoping that so publicly indicating this gaping hole in my literary consumption will spur me into action instead of falling back into lazy comfort reading. (Not that I can term Middlemarch a lazy read!)
Mention of George Eliot takes me to my picks for Cathy of 746books.com‘s Ten Books of Summer challenge. I see that of the ten I’ve listed I’ve only started one title — the Eliot — and we’re already one third of the way through the three-month event! I’ll be lucky to get through all ten, and even four or five of these blockbusters may prove a summit too far . . . but we’ll see!
And now I return to my quandaries. I’ve already started accumulating books again from various sources — the local indie, Waterstone’s, even (thanks to a Father’s Day voucher) Amazon — faster than I’m consuming them. That’s a cause for concern though not yet alarm (no ceiling has so far caved in with the weight of books above it) as I’m running out of years in which to read them…
So, advice please. I’ve attached a poll to elicit your answers to my big quandary.
Disclaimer: I’ll be really interested in your response but I reserve the right to ignore your recommendations.
In fact, I probably will…