Heading towards the New Year

cropped-booksmay14.jpgChristmas is over (the hottest Christmas Day in Melbourne since 1988) & fortunately the outlook for New Year’s Day is a lot milder. I’ve been finding it difficult to concentrate on reading over the last couple of weeks. I’ve been reading lots of short stories but can’t make a decision to start anything else.Which is probably why I’ve reread 11 books over the last couple of months (four Dorothy L Sayers, three Christine Poulsons, two Charles Dickens, Rumpole of the Bailey & Agatha Christie’s Autobiography) when I have over 1200 unread books on the tbr shelves.


I am past the halfway mark in The Mysteries of Paris by Eugène Sue, which I’m reading in instalments with my 19th century bookgroup. It divides up very conveniently into ten Books of about 150pp each. The story is full of characters with multiple aliases; noblemen masquerading as workmen, prostitutes with pure hearts, plucky seamstresses living on the edge of poverty, cruel thugs who would kill you as soon as look at you. I’m enjoying it very much but, with cliffhangers galore it would be almost impossible to review without giving something away.

persephone3I’m also pondering a few reading plans for 2017. Not Simon’s Project 24! I’ve bought hardly any books for 3 months but I know that as soon as I made a pledge like that, I’d be on a very slippery slope. Reading Persephones (I think I only read one this year) & Slightly Foxed editions (read two but they’re piling up as I have a subscription) will definitely be there. Maybe one of each per month?


I have a tottering pile of books on my desk (as you can see here with a guest appearance by Lucky) that I’ve pulled off the tbr when I’ve seen them mentioned on a blog or podcast or in my online reading group so it’s probably time I put them all back on the tbr & started again. Or, start from the bottom of the pile & read my way up?

I also idly scrolled to the bottom of my Kindle app the other day & was amazed at what’s there & how many books I’d forgotten I’d even bought. A Fine Brother : the life of Captain Flora Sandes by Louise Miller, Weeds by Jerome K Jerome, The Longest Dance by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Escape to Mulberry Cottage by Victoria Connelly, Anna by Norman Collins & Enid Bagnold by Anne Sebba – can anyone push me in the direction of one of those?

As always, when I look back at the year’s reading, I wish I’d read more Georgette Heyer, Nevil Shute,  R L Stevenson, D E Stevenson, Trollope, reread some Jane Austen for the anniversaries of the publication of her novels, started Angela Thirkell (!). I’m also pondering my Top 10 of the year. I’ll be back when the list is finalised.

I’d love to know your reading plans for 2017 if you have any. Do you like to have a plan or do you let serendipity be your guide?

17 thoughts on “Heading towards the New Year

  1. I have the broadest of reading plans. First, yes, I’ve joined Simon’s Project 24 out of desperation. I did reshelve most of the TBRSoon back in to the TBR, then turned around and pulled 26 each of fiction and non-fiction with the idea of reading two books a week, this adding up to 52 or half the year. We’ll leave the rest of the year to chance and bloggers like you sending “Best of” lists soon. Happy reading in this next year, and thank you always for this wonderful blog!


    • Thank you Sarah. I like your plans & good luck with Project 24. I’ll post my Top 10 next week, I think. I like to count the number of books read etc once the year’s over although I don’t expect anything I’m reading now to make the Top 10 list. Mysteries of Paris might be there next year as I won’t finish reading it for another 3 weeks. I hope you’re able to stick to your two books a week. I used to read 2-3 a week but the internet, blogs etc seems to take up more time every year. I try not to waste too much time but there are so many interesting articles – I try to keep the cute cat videos to a minimum!


  2. We also had record-breaking heat for Christmas Day – unlike yours though, ours was very welcome! A high for many local towns since record-keeping began. Ours was around 71 or 72 which is something like 22 degrees by your scale. Now that I’ve added to your misery – on to books!

    Those 1200 books on your TBR – are they actual books (or ebooks etc) which you own or does it also include books you would like to read but don’t have? I don’t keep track of the latter. For the former, I am pleased to say that I have less than 200 unread books in my home. My goal for 2017 is to get that number below 100.

    I haven’t read Weeds, but JKJ’s Three Men in a Boat is one of the most hilarious books I’ve ever read. The sequel On a Bummel was ok, but didn’t engage me as much.


    • My 1200 are actual, physical books. I also have a lot of eBooks unread but can’t see them so they don’t bother me so much! I’m glad you had a mild Christmas Day, 22C would have been perfect. We had a cool change yesterday which brought a little rain but today it’s humid & getting warmer again. The weekend looks cooler so I’m holding out for that. I’m back at work Weds-Fri so the weather bothers me less when I’m in the office. I loved both the Three men books (Boat more than Bummel). This is one of the Victorian Secrets reprints so I’m keen to read it as all their choices are intriguing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow! Even when I moved from the house in which I lived for over two decades, I didn’t approach that number. More like 600-800. If I was younger, I’d be envious! 🙂


      • I’m lucky to have so much choice but sometimes I feel so paralysed I can’t decide what to read next so end up rereading. Thank goodness for our 19th century reads, always something to sink my teeth into there. Just hope I live long enough to read them all…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. While I haven’t read the title you mentioned, I’ve read several of Harrod-Eagles’ mysteries and found them enjoyable. I haven’t read any of the others, so I can’t comment on them.

    I belong to a number of discussion groups, so part of my reading schedule is fixed. As usual, I’m trying to reduce my own TBR mountain, so I limit my bookbuying to the absolute minimum and go to the library for books scheduled by the discussion groups. I’ve also found that InterLIbraryLoan has been very helpful in keeping down the increase to the TBR growth, somewhat. I’m trying a genre scheme now–each month I try to read several books from my TBR mountain by genre. Jan. will be an SF month, so I will grab SF books from the mountain and read those. Maybe that will work–maybe not.


    • I love Harrod-Eagles’ mysteries but this is a stand alone novel. I can’t even remember what it’s about. Apart from my 19th centuiry group, I try to steer clear of challenges as I’m so bad at sticking to them. I so want to read more from my tbr & stop buying books. I’ve made a start on that already. I’m also lucky to work at a library & buy the books so I really have no excuse to keep buying so many for myself. The genre idea is intriguing, I hope it works.


  4. I make plans (but never follow them very well…) — and now I like the sound of all of yours, esp. the Thirkells and the Persephones and the Heyers and Jane Austen and Trollope. 🙂 I just read a wonderful article about Pride and Prejudice as comfort reading and then thought I would re-read all six novels in observance of the 200th anniversary of her death. Also, JoAnn (of Lakeside Musing) and I are going to at least start Trollope’s Palliser novels this winter … would you like to join us at all? We’d love it. Anyway, happy new year!


    • I wouldn’t mind rereading the Pallisers, the early ones, anyway. I finally read the last two a couple of years ago when I watched
      the 1970s TV series. I used to reread Austen regularly, especially Persuasion, but there just seem to be so many new books to read
      that rereading only seems to happen when I’m feeling overwhelmed or in need of comfort reading or incapable of making a decision. I
      do think I’ll clear away that pile on my desk though which will leave me with just a few books on the table beside my reading chair that I’ve
      actually started. I won’t finish them by New year but I don’t mind that. The Sympathizer was for The Readers podcast readalong so that may stay.
      It’s not a book I would usually pick up but sounds intriguing. Happy New Year, Audrey!


  5. Since 2010, I’ve kept a detailed reading journal plus a spreadsheet for analysis. (Why yes, I am obsessive about tracking what I have read.) I generally read just over 100 books each year. Rereads invariably work out to about 1/3 of my books read. Exactly 33% over the past 7 years.

    My reading plans for 2017 are pretty much the same as they are each New Year’s: Read more from the Waiting to be Read stacks (yes, physical books in my house) and fewer rereads.

    I suspect, however, nothing will change. And that’s not bad.


    • I also read about 100 books a year. I used to read a lot more & I still read every day but I’m reading more journals, magazines & articles on the internet these days. I think I’ve reread more this year than usual. Blogging makes me reluctant to reread as I feel some (self-imposed) pressure to post a couple of times a week & I can’t review Persuasion or DLS every time I reread them! I have to keep reminding myself that blogging is a hobby & that no one will be devastated if I don’t blog for a couple of weeks because I have nothing to say. I’m looking forward to analysing my reading for the year (I’ve been keeping lists since 1979) & I started a spreadsheet too, transcribing my handwritten lists. I must get back to it, I have many years to go.


  6. We are starting monthly author reads in the LibraryThing Virago group next year and you would be very welcome there. There’s no commitment, just join in when you want to. That’s my only ‘project’ next year apart from the TBR Dare and my ongoing plan to read more of the books that are accumulating on my own shelves.


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