My Reading Plan 2014

My reading plan for 2014 is this: I shall read whatever I like, depending on my mood, with no premeditation or forethought and following no pattern. I shall endeavour to read these books badly, often pausing in the middle of them from a sense of inertia and greener pastures elsewhere. I shall lose the thread and miss all the points the author intended. I shall write reviews of these books on this blog, usually a few weeks after I have finished them, by which time I will hopefully have forgotten most of what I wanted to say.

I will find myself generally losing interest in the novel form, and concentrate far more on non-fiction and plays. (Who knows, I might even start reading poetry?)

One plan I actually do have is this: I shall concentrate on reading the books at the back of my shelves. I’ve been living here now for 10 years, and 99% of the books I possess were bought in that time; but there’s still probably plenty of books from 8, 9, 10 years ago which I’ve never got round to reading, and which have become obscured over time at the bottom of piles of books hidden behind piles of other books. So the other day, I went through all my books and dug a selection of these out and put them in the vanguard of the great morass of unread books.

It’ll tend towards big books and the classics (since these are what I tend to put off to another day), things like Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, Hermann Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game, TE Lawrence’s The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls; books I’ve started and really enjoyed but somehow never gone on with, like Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet (in fact, anything by Durrell) and Walter Pater’s Marius the Epicurean – maybe even I’ll have another go at Sartor Resartus, and I guess I could always think about Proust; other books I’ve now possessed but not read in at least two different editions, like Budd Schulberg’s The Disenchanted and João Ubaldo Ribeiro’s An Invincible Memory; along with many more obscure things.

One book I shall finally read is Melville’s Moby Dick, which I’ve decided will be my January holiday book.


11 thoughts on “My Reading Plan 2014

  1. Ha, I’m all for reading badly. Good plan! Seriously, hope you enjoy your 2014 reading and good lucking getting to those ancient members of the TBR army (almost all of which sound like good “recruits”). I “need” to do something similar myself, but it’s actually way more fun thinking about what I need to do than actually doing it usually. Anyway, thanks for another fun year of posts on your blog–one of my favorites.

  2. A similar plan to mine, especially focusing on what I already own. And there are plenty of big books to read. And some of yours listed, too, such as the TE Lawrence and Pater. Enjoy the Melville!

  3. For Whom the Bell Tolls is lovely. I remember having Moby Dick back in our ancestral home but never reading it too.

  4. Thanks all, and a merry Christmas.

    I came across a copy of Pierre in a secondhand shop yesterday and took it out and looked at it, as I always do, even though I have my own copy, and it said on the back that Pierre was Melville’s attempt to write a more commercial novel after the failure of Moby Dick. Well, if Pierre’s Melville’s idea of what commercial is…

    TE Lawrence shall be accompanied no doubt with Aldington’s vicious biography of the same; and I always feel I should read Doughty’s Arabia Deserta first. Which is making it already sound like a project in itself. (And I’m already setting out on the trail of more African explorers – Stanley, Brazza).

    I haven’t read a word of Hemingway for at least 15 years, so it will be interesting to see what I think of him.

    The same with Dickens actually, though only 10 years – not since that time I read Little Dorrit and David Copperfield back to back in a few weeks – but the other day I finally picked up a copy of Bleak House.

    Moby Dick is certainly for me also one of the books I’ve possessed longest without reading.

    Svevo’s Confessions of Zeno, I should have also mentioned, in the started but for some reason never finished category (the giving up smoking episode at the beginning is so good); though I have, since then, read the rest of Svevo.

    Oh, and since it’s World Cup year, there was in my mind the idea to read more Brazilian literature (but I don’t know if this will amount to any more than the usual amount of Brazilian literature I get through in a year).

  5. Too late for Merry Christmas, so Happy New Year. Durrell’s poetry is worthwhile, if you’re thinking of getting into Durrell and poetry.

  6. Happy New Year, Pykk. – I know nothing about Durrell’s poetry; though his prose appeals to me immensely, with its meandering overly ornate sentences. I may seek some out. I seem to remember Durrell particularly liked Shakespeare’s sonnets, and recommended them to Henry Miller, who agreed they were quite good. (A fascinating literary anecdote).

  7. Happy new year, Obooki.

    A commendable manifesto. I’m sure Moby Dick will bore and enthrall in equal measure – I look forward to some dispatches from that reading experience.

    I must confess I have “rediscovered” Hem in the last couple of years, and formed quite an affection for the big slob – although I feel a twinge of shame saying that in polite company.

  8. Moby Dick is indeed proving as you say. Nealrly halfway through, a few things to write about perhaps. Hem will be interesting, I haven’t as much patience with his simple sentences these days.

  9. Re Lawrence and Arabia generally, have you read Wilfred Thesinger? I’ve had his book for years but never read it.

    I found Seven Pillars of Wisdom quite hard going, and eventually gave up. Am unaware of the Aldington book, I muct investigate.

  10. No, I haven’t read Thesinger; I will look out for him in my wanderings.

    A reviewer writes of the back of Aldington’s book that he appears to have written it “as if he had a personal grudge against TE Lawrence”. I’ve read some of it before, and it’s certainly contemptuous.

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