Ugh. Confession time. I have been in a book reading shock since Dec 31. I was looking at my totals for the year, proud that I had managed to read 81 despite what happened in October. Though I barely read anything from then until Christmas, suddenly I was able to complete 3 books in the past two weeks. I was proud until I looked at what I read over last year, when to my dismay, I discovered that I had not read one single classic novel. On top of which, I read 4 fantasy and 2 SF novels. Shocking! How on earth did I miss reading any classics? And so few SF and fantasy books? Shocked is an understatement for how I have felt. How did this happen?
2014 Reading Year
8 - Poetry
34 - Mystery
7 - Fiction
4 - Fantasy
2 - SF
1 - Children's
3 - YA
4 - Biography
6 - non-fiction
5 - graphic novel
6 - horror
Then, I picked up one of my Christmas novels, The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller. I've read the first three chapters, and am enjoying this book immensely. What I love so much is that he not only reads each book, he is reflecting on it. Why is this book good? Can he relate it to his life somehow? What does he get out of reading it? Which is what I feel the classics do, it is the reason why they are classics: they are art which reflects our lives, our world, back to us, to help show us who we are. He is allowing the books into him, and this is what I want myself to do when I read a classic book. Now Andy had realized before this book that he wasn't reading anything - one book in three years. So this became his catalyst for this project. He was going to pick 50 great books, books he had either said he had already read when he hadn't, or books that he had always said he would read one day, or books he really wanted to read before he died. And he was going to read them over one year.
So with his beginning in mind, I reflected on what my last year of reading has shown me: if I'm not careful, if I don't pay attention, a year will go by without me reading any of the classics that I do want to read. And I have two shelves of them, plus more on my 'I want to get to read one day' list.
I do accept I have limitations in this. Unlike Andy Miller, I don't want to read 50 literary *(edited to add this) classic novels in one year. I don't read that many non-genre fiction books, ever, in one year. I have always read fantasy, science fiction, horror, and mystery. No matter how low the totals are! I have decided that I am going to make a list of 50 classic books to read over 2015, in different genres. I'm breaking that 50 books list down into 10 and 20 book segments. Or 5.
Because, there are classics in every area that I read in, that I haven't read. Or books that I have long wanted to read, but haven't got around to.
So my 50 books in one year list looks something like this:
Fiction (including almost classic status not there yet books): 10
Journals, biographies (of writers and poets mostly) - 5
Science Fiction: 10
I haven't made my lists so big that I don't have room for new books to add. My goal is once again to try to get to 100 books read this year. What I have learned over the years though, is that more important than the total, is to read so that I absorb the book. There are books that I think I've read 20 or 30 years ago, that I no longer recall if I have read them. Why is this? Did I read too quickly? Did they fade with time? So I might not get all these read this year. I will read as many good books as I can, classics in their field, this year. This is a lovely resolution and I am delighted making it.
Separate page for titles
If you want to know what books I am reading, I'm making a separate page for them,up under my blog header, and I will let you know here which books are on my 50 books to read list, when I review them.
Another new year promise to myself is to review more books this year. I'm a little ashamed of how little I did blog last year, and have made a promise that if I want to say something about a book, say it. And try to post every day or every few days, this year.
Good site for finding books in genres:
For finding classic books in science fiction and fantasy, one of the best sites I have discovered over the past three years is Worlds Without End site. Here you can find listings of award winners and nominees for all genre fields of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and even a few mysteries are creeping in. For someone visual like me, it's so much fun to click on Nebula winners, and see the covers posted. It's a click to mark that I have read the book, or have it on my reading list. Voilà! Suddenly I can see what I've read over the years in each season, and where I have gaps. Bram Stoker Award, Mythopoeic Award, World Fantasy, etc. They are all listed here.
So, that was my first 4 days of 2015. Madly looking at sites and lists and shelves and books, discovering what books I really want to read this year, that I don't want to miss reading.
What resolutions for books and reading have you made this year?