Tuesday, 3 January 2012

...and looking forward: reading plans for 2012

The Bolter doesn't think she appears enough here, so I've promised, with my fingers firmly crossed, that 2012 will be her starring year. She may let Senior Dog in from time to time.

It's going to be a big year for reading! It started well when I decided to celebrate New Year by reading Connie Willis's Blackout. I've seen some mixed reviews of this book - mainly about its length - but I couldn't put it down. I shall be more than happy to have another 400+ pages to read to resolve it in All Clear.

One of the big projects for this year will be my own version of the Century of Books that Simon is undertaking. I haven't really talked about that here, but I've been planning for it ever since Simon posted about his plans and I leapt in and said that I couldn't resist joining in. I've got an Evernote table with suggestions for books I might read and I've been itching to start (although now I can, I have a pile of 21st-century review books I ought to read first - ho-hum). I see Simon's already read his first book! The biggest challenge for me here will be posting about them - some of the results may be on the short side, but I'll do my best! My plan - unlike Simon - is to allow myself at least 2 years to complete the challenge, and I'm not going to read only literary fiction, because then it might easily become a chore. So there will be some themes to follow: crime fiction, children's books, fantasy and so on.

I thought I needed an auspicious year to start with, so I chose The Hatchet Man by William Marshall, published in 1976, the year my elder son was born. More about the book anon.

Alongside, and complementing the Century of Books nicely, is the Classics Challenge hosted by Katherine at November's Autumn, which I did post about. I've got a list of seven 20th-century classics, with a few extras to choose from. I'm starting with Margaret Kennedy's The Constant Nymph.

I get huge pleasure from Carl's challenges, RIP and Once Upon a Time - I may focus more than usual on books from the last century here, too, which might be fun. But I'm not going to read 20th-century books exclusively during the year, not least because I've got Christmas presents to read!

There's another project that I'll be undertaking, too - despite chronic lack of time, I started another blog! Hurlyburlybuss has been taking shape very slowly over the last couple of months and will develop further as I find time for it. It will be a very anglocentric blog about children's books, reflecting my enthusiasm for the books I grew up with and regard as formative - to which end, I'll be reading Francis Spufford's The Child that Books Built, as well as trawling through my copies of Margery Fisher's Intent upon Reading and John Rowe Townsend's Written for Children. I foresee some expensive visits to secondhand bookshops as well! But there's no time limit here, I shall just add to it as I read and re-read. I've been cross-posting reviews of children's books from this site so there's a little there already. It's a piece of lunacy, really, but all my own...  


  1. Strangely enough for someone like me who does not want children (and very often does not even particularly like them), I have always loved children's books - not only when I was still a child myself.
    So I am going to check out Hurlyburlybuss immediately!

  2. Don't be disappointed if there's not much content yet, please! But if you have any suggestions for books to include they are very welcome.

  3. So pleased that you'll be joining in! And how funny that we're both more or less starting the year with Margaret Kennedy...

    And check you out with another blog! I would never be able to keep up more than one. Indeed, I tried to keep a personal blog alongside a book one, but gave up after a while.

  4. Hurlyburlybuss has gone straight into my blog folder. As you know, I'm also very interested in children's fiction and look forward to reading your thoughts.

    The Bolter is quite right; the more pics the better.

  5. Sounds like you have a fun 2012 in store. :)

  6. Love your plans for Hurlyburlybuss! The Child That Books Built was an amazing read.

  7. I loved Spufford's book as well, and have added Fisher's to my TBR list. I devoted most of last summer to re-reading childhood favourites (and filling in the gaps with series, like Mary Norton's and Sydney Taylor's, in which I perpetually re-read certain volumes and completely neglected others), so needless to say, I've subbed to your other site as well, and look forward to seeing your discoveries and re-discoveries. Have you delved into Anita Silvey and/or the 1001 Children's Books references at all yet?

  8. Look at that dog! What a beautiful dog! She's a greyhound? I want a greyhound someday.

  9. Buried In Print: I've missed some books in series too, and am enjoying them now. I didn't know Anita Silvey, so thanks for that - shall link here. The 1001 Children's Books is, of course, on my wishlist, but hasn't progressed beyond that yet.

    Jenny, she's enormously pleased that you thought she might be a greyhound, but she's actually a whippet lurcher - not nearly as elegant as either a purebred whippet or a greyhound. But we think she's beautiful, of course. Next general post I do I'll include a greyhound pic to make you swoon... (and The Bolter will sulk).