Back in the summer, I was planning my reading list for this year’s International Festival of Authors in Toronto. It always seems like it will be possible to read all the books which are calling to me from the schedule of events and list of participants.
And maybe it would be, were it not for the other calls from the stacks and shelves, for I cannot ignore the pleas from the Giller longlisted books and the new releases with other bookish events attached (like Jonathan Safran Foer’s promotion for Here I Am).
So here are my original festival reading plans, In My Notebook , and here’s a list of the reviews related to some of those books:
- Auđur Ava Ólafsdóttir’s Butterflies in November
- Rowan Hisayo Buchanan’s Harmless Like You
- Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s The Spawning Grounds
- Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed
- Laurence Scott’s Four-Dimensional Human
- Susan Perly’s Death Valley and Anosh Irani’s The Parcel
- Olive Senior’s The Pain Tree
- David Bergen’s Stranger, Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door and Iain Reid’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things
- Luisge Martin’s The Same City
- Gary Barwin’s Yiddish for Pirates
- Darren Greer’s Advocate
- Steven Price’s By Gaslight
But the pages in my notebook are now preoccupied with various reading projects which I have begun this year.
Now, like my IFOA reading, I’m in the dreaming phase of this planning. List-making and re-making, winnowing and gathering.
What reading will yet unfold in the coming weeks, before the 2016 stacks transform into the 2017 stacks?
Is it really possible for me to finish all the Oz books this year (it’s taken me all year to read 9, and 5 remain)?
Even though I planned to finish all Toni Morrison’s and David Mitchell’s books this year, now I’m working to fit just book from each of their oeuvres into the next month (having only read one of each author’s earlier this year).
My idea of finishing more series than I begin could be thwarted by the fact that I was able to borrow My Brilliant Friend from my brilliant friend, and thus began reading another series, and yet I haven’t yet read on with that series. If I do the math, will I have improved upon my habit of favouring beginnings over endings this year? Would reading the remaining Neopolitan novels help? (I stumbled on a nice new library copy of the second novel: is it a ‘sign’?)
What about all those multi-start-but-never-complete single volumes that haunt my stacks: have I turned a corner towards completion there? (It feels like it’s been months since one of these nestled into my stack. Surely that’s not because I finished them all at last.)
Do my stacks match my intentions, particularly when it comes to discovering and reading more indigenous authors along with other oft-silenced voices? (Or perhaps I am relying upon having bought them as being-nearly-as-good-as-reading.)
Have I reignited my enthusiasm for long-standing reading projects, or is it time to consider filing some of them (as having belonged to a younger reading me)?
And my list of must-reads: is it just as long because I am still consistently favouring the new and shiny books, or have I made a dent (or, at least, begun to make progress)?
But what of the fact that I might not be adding to that list anymore but, in fact, I have a running list in my mind which is tugging at my attention as much as any fresh promotions or publications? (And it’s this list which comes to mind first, when browsing at the library or in a bookstore.)
Even if the rest of life ground to a halt, and I could read a book on each day which remains in 2016, would I still be preoccupied by the idea of all that I did not read this year? Or perhaps I would be content, feeling that I have read my best, even if I read only a few more books this year.
Well, you know how it is. When the stacks and lists seem to be neverending. What’s in your reading plan for the rest of 2016?
Are you squeezing a few more books into your year to satisfy some earlier readolutions, or are you easing into the next season and taking some time to plan?
Squeezing? Or, easing?