Happy New Year!

A new year, a new start. Though most people I know have already started smoking again, and have left chocolate bars alone for about five minutes, I’m intending to stick to my goal of having more fun this year. With a ticket for the new Tarantino film booked, I’m doing a pretty good job.

Last year was dedicated mostly to work. I made some great progress but, when I sat down to think about the year on New Year’s Eve, felt as if I had done nothing but stare at computer screens. 2016, I decided, had to be more entertaining.

Reading is obviously one of the things that get scrapped when you’re pushed for time. Though I’ve always managed to squeeze in the odd book or two, I’m neglected my serious reading habit somewhat. Though I probably won’t be able to keep up with that guy I read about in the local paper, who intends to read a mind-boggling four books a week this year, I want to add some order to the chaos.

Last year was a year of periods. There was a T.C. Boyle period, a detective period, and a science fiction period. There was a period when I finished every novel Rita Mae Brown ever wrote and was left wanting for more. This year, my wish list looks like this:

  • more contemporary literature. I rarely read anything published after 2000 and feel quite ashamed of this, as it should be my job
  • more literary classics. I have some serious catching up to do. Though I am inherently suspicious when it comes to so-called great literature, annoyed as I have been in the past by the fact that the “great” predicate kills criticism better than cyanide, one might as well get to know one’s enemies
  • more non-American and non-British authors. I’m afraid I will always verge to what I know, but I had a very enjoyable Japanese period last year, even though I read all the novels in translation

I have just started Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses and feel like my background knowledge is hopelessly inadequate. There are parts of it I simply do not understand. But my brain likes the exercise, and I find myself reading chapter after chapter, so who knows… I’m excited to find out what this year will bring.

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