Reading Books: Past, Present & Future

I have to do this from time to time. I have to celebrate the books I’ve read, organise the books I’m reading, and think about what might come next.

Past present and future …

The past …..

R.I.P VIII ended at Halloween and, though I didn’t read many of the books I lined up at the start of the season, I was very pleased with the eight books I did read.

RIP8main1My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart
The Misbegotten by Katherine Webb
Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield
Treveryan by Angela Du Maurier
Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll
The Unforgiving by Charlotte Cory
Hell! Said the Duchess by Michael Arlen
The Blackheath Séance Parlour by Alan Williams

I’ve nearly finished Burial Rites by Hannah Kent too, and I’ve made a start on Deborah Harkness’s Shadow of Night.

Two of my RIP books – Treveryan and The Unforgiving slotted into my Century of Books, and I passed the 80% mark in the middle of last month.

The present …..

I have a few books in progress.

I spotted a beautiful 30th anniversary edition of The Sunne in Splendor in the library a few weeks ago, and that made up my mind to re-read it for my Century of Books. I loved it years ago, I love it now, and I’m into the final act.

winters-night-jpgI was warmly recommended Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller to fill a difficult year – 1979 in my century of books – I was intrigued, I ordered a copy from the library, and then I discovered a readalong. Clearly I was meant to read this book, I started to read last night, and I am already smitten.

I’m re-reading Angel by Elizabeth Taylor too, in a lovely new hardback edition. It won’t fit into my century, but it was too lovely to resist and I have books that will fit lined up. Books like And Then You Came by Ann Bridge for 1948, A Little Love, A Little Learning by Nina Bawden for 1965, High Rising by Angela Thirkell for 1933 ….

I had a few books to choose from for 1933, but when I learned that Christmas at High Rising was on the was my mind was made up.

AusReading Month badge1901, on the other hand, was a tricky year. In the end I decided to re-read My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin, and again it seemed to be meant, because I discovered that this was Australian Reading Month.  A survey of my shelves found books by Eleanor Dark, Kathleen Susannah Pritchard and Henry Handel Richardson that I’d love to read. Or I could re-read Oscar and Lucinda or The Thorn Birds, either of which I could slot into my Century of Books ….

More books than I could hope to read, but it’s good to have choices!

The future …

I can’t think much beyond finishing my century at the moment. I’m clearing the decks as much as I can to get that done – no more book-buying and no more library reservations this year, because I need to focus on the books I have already.

But I bought The Luminaries and The Goldfinch, before the I put those restrictions in place, and they are going the first books of  my new project – of a year of reading the books that call me …

8 responses

  1. I’m going to re-read My Brilliant Career for Australian reading month 🙂 and have just finished The Luminaries a few days ago. I am getting The Goldfinch for Christmas 🙂

    • I’ve read the first couple of chapters of My Brilliant Career and I love the voice. I wish I could read The Luminaries and The Goldfinch now, but I want to get my century done and I think I’ll do better when I have more reading time over the holiday period.

  2. You did so well with RIP! I signed on, but didn’t get to anything1 The Luminaries is waiting for me at the library, and it’s another multi-hundred pager. And Christmas at High Rising will be available here! SO excited. Maybe that means the rest of the new Thirkell editions will come our way, too. Happy reading!

    • I didn’t read the books I’d planned, but I had a good few books calling that fitted the theme. I don’t think Virago have worldwide rights for all of the Thirkells, but I’m so please you’ll be getting the short stories.

  3. That is such a cool project. Are you trying to finish the century before the end of the year? I’ve had to put restrictions like that on myself, too — no more library checkouts, things like that. It’s crazy how easy it becomes to stray from our own collections! Like little kittens distracted by dangling keys or something.

    Anyway, good luck! All of your choices sound fantastic. 🙂

    • Some people did their centuries in a year, some are going on for as long as it takes, but I gave myself two years so I could read other things in between project books without it hanging over me forever. I’m glad I’m doing it, but I’m not sure I’ll ever do it again.

      I can do short term restrictions, but nothing too long. It’s easier now than it was when I passed the library on my way to and from work!

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