I’ll be finishing my last re-read (Ann-Marie Macdonald’s Fall on Your Knees) of the five choices for Canada Reads very shortly and the program airs March 8th through the 12th; for international readers, you can follow it via podcast if your bookishness knows no bounds.
I’ll also be reading the last of the five choices for Canada Reads Independently (Martha Ostenso’s Wild Geese) in the next few days. In other Canlit reading I’m looking in Ethel Wilson’s direction once more. And I’ll be exploring two more Women Unbound writers as well (Kristjana Gunnars and Di Brandt).
Overall I’ve been steadily reading for most of the reading challenges I’ve joined for this reading year (touching nine of twelve challenges with February’s reads: 12…that’s not too many, right?), and even managed two of twelve of the books on my own Must-Read list (although, admittedly, I didn’t pick up War and Peace once this month).
January held just one Virago Modern Classic, but February held 4, and this month I’m really excited about the intersection of two longstanding reading projects: the place where VMCs and the Orange Prize meet. As such, I’m having a Pat Barker mini-read for March.
I’ll finally make time for the two volumes that follow the outstanding Regeneration (The Ghost Road, third in the series, was nominated for the Orange Prize) and at least one of her other VMC titles. I’ve already read Blow the House Down (which is so gripping and vibrant that it’s hard to believe it’s such an early work of hers) so I’m eyeing Liza’s England as this month’s green-spined Pat Barker selection.
There are a couple of other overlaps between Green and Orange (really a much more brilliant colour literarily than the muddy tones implied by the combination in a fine arts medium) but I’ll save those authors for future years. (I know, I know: you’re wracking your bookish brains now, trying to suss out which women appear on both lists.)
Anyhow, I’d say that every month is a green-spined month, but I am especially keen on reading in Orange in March because the Orange Prize longlist is going to be announced on March 18th. I think the most number of titles I’ve managed in previous years, between longlist-shortlist-award, is 10 out of 20, and I’m hoping to tie with that in 2010.
It’ll be tough because I haven’t done very much reading in contemporary fiction of late, so I’ll be surprised if the longlist contains more than a title or two that I’ve already read, or have already got on my stack.
And it’ll be challenging, too, because I have an unwieldy stack of Shelf-Discovery-inspired reads ahead of me for March as well. I’m looking back at some historical favourites of my growing years and some old favourite fantasy reads. If I weren’t having so much fun with these, I’d be wondering at the absence of genre reads for this year so far.
And, speaking of gaps in my reading: two things I want to improve upon in March?
I want to finish more of the library books I’ve been dragging home, especially more of the non-renewable ones with long queues, and the follow-up reads by favourite authors that I know I’ll enjoy if I can only make time for them. (Yes, I’m looking at you: Kate Atkinson, Pat Capponi.)
And the other? I didn’t read a single short story in February. ‘Nuf said.
How about you: what stands out about your reading in February and what are you looking forward to in March’s pages?