Further reading

Artwork by Tithi Luadthong from 123RF.com.

Approaching the last two months of this extraordinary year — one which I’m sure is seared into our collective consciousness — I thought I’d briefly, with your gracious acquiescence, take stock.

Goodreads tells me I’ve read 70 titles so far in 2020, surpassing my modest target of 60 for the whole year. Bar one or two I’ve reviewed them all too, on Goodreads as well as here. As the year progressed (even as conditions globally regressed) I determined to be less constrained by goals and targets and challenges and go mainly for comfort reading, even if some titles weren’t necessarily comfortable reading.

So, as November and December beckon, what am I likely to have piled up by my elbow?

As I’ve flagged up often enough the coming few days marks the annual Witch Week which Lizzie Ross and I co-host, 2020 being her turn. She will be laying out her stall tomorrow on her blog Lizzie Ross Writer while I’ll be supporting her with occasional pointers here during proceedings. A number of titles deserving of attention will be mentioned and I’m eyeing them up as possible reads before New Year’s Eve.

November turns out to be SciFiMonth, hosted by a number of very worthy blogs and promoted on Twitter (and elsewhere) by @SciFiMonth and the hashtag #SciFiMonth. Now, while I won’t officially be signing up, I have a couple of titles already earmarked, including one each by John Christopher and Christopher Priest, on which more later.

As we ease into December I will be reminding myself that every year I think I’ll read a few or more supernatural tales — Christmas in Victorian times was naturally the traditional time for ghost stories — and yet every year I get diverted from my good intentions. So this year I plan to be semi-organised with a couple of likely titles. We’ll see how that pans out!

I also seem to have acquired several collections of short stories, a problematic genre for many reasons (which I hope to highlight in a post in due course) but a notional bookshelf which I intend to address as well as all the above.

But alas, I already seem to be overfacing myself when I’d just now indicated I wouldn’t — when will I learn?

18 thoughts on “Further reading

    1. Don’t think I didn’t notice your Agathamania, Nicola! Hmm, I’m wondering about whether a Brontë / Christie fusion would work: Jane Rochester investigating other skeletons in cupboards around Ferndean — Branwell writing a reverse Poirot about a local worthy disappearing to Belgium to do some detecting — Emily and Anne siting Cagney and Lacey in Happy Valley? 🙂

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  1. November is a very crowded month for book events – such a shame they can’t be spaced out more so people wouldn’t have to choose between them. I do like these themed reading weeks though, they suit me much more than “challenges” where you are meant to read a certain number of books or put a list together. I invariably fail at those. With the reading months, you can just dip in and out……

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    1. There’s no real coordination in the blogging world, is there? But then, if different parts of the world decide to celebrate Mother’s Day in different months we can hardly be surprised that certain times of year are going to be crowded out with bookish events and other ones offer slim pickings! But yes, I prefer themed events rather than challenges — reading should be a pleasure, not an examinable activity. 🙂

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    1. Me? Voracious? I’d not thought of myself as that, Bart, but I suppose it’s all relative — I do like to savour books rather than gobble them up. On Goodreads I see one person has read 122 books already, another 184 titles, and I couldn’t (and wouldn’t want to) compete with those sorts of numbers. But I do admit to being an idle retiree with time to indulge myself!

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        1. It is a dispiriting thought, especially if those who don’t habitually read value-laden fiction instead only consume half truths, unsubstantiated anecdotes, alternative facts, fake news and conspiracy theories online or on social media. If that’s what constitutes the bulk of their reading and understanding of the world around them, heaven help us all.

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  2. M R James initially wrote his ghost stories as Christmas amusements for family and friends, so I hope you have a collection or two of his tales, if you haven’t already read them. His work was new to me this year, so I’m grateful (again) to Witch Week for putting me on the path of some worthwhile reads.

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    1. I do have his Collected Ghost Stories and read the first half dozen some years ago, so may well go for some more in December. Christmas was once the favoured time for ghost stories, of course: I’ve read a couple of Elizabeth Gaskell’s, Dickens of course is known for his, and Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw was specifically framed as a Christmas Eve supernatural tale.

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