As I mentioned before the festive season hit, I like to wind down at the end of the year and start the year afresh. This normally means finishing off any serious or bigger reads before reading some nice comfort reads over the festive period making sure I have finished whichever book I am reading before the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. I managed the latter, though Vere Hodgson’s diaries Few Eggs and No Oranges was a close call as its much denser than you think (thoughts to follow soon) and because, rather shockingly, I hardly had any time for reading over the Christmas period making me even more Scrooge like than normal – which I didn’t think was possible. Now 2014 has started but I am yet to start a book, because I always think the first book of the year is an important year.
Part of this is superstition, as I think if you love the book that you start first in a year you are going to have a very good year of reading. Part of this is because it feels like the start of a new phase in reading with a fresh momentum. So I always choose a few options which I hope will reflect my reading mind in the months ahead before I pick a definate…
First up a classic, or modern classic, because every year I want to delve into the literary past as well into what is about ‘right now’. One such modern classic that seemed to fit the bill is Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety which I have been meaning to read for a couple of years now and unintentionally haven’t. It is also an American classic which ticks a subliminal box as I read very little of the American classic (be it modern or not) oeuvre, well less than I might intend anyway.
Then there is the modern and the new, well it is a new year after all, and Ray Robinson’s Jawbone Lake is one I have been looking forward to since I discovered it is set in my home region, the Peak District. I also loved Robinson’s Forgetting Zoe so have been meaning to read more of his books to see if he might become a fav, something I mean to do with many an author. It also starts at this time of year which could be apt.
Ali Smith is an author that I love, and I tend to pass over authors I know I love to read someone new, or newish (as above shows) and Artful ticks an important box as a possibility as it is a book which I think will be very different, and may make me think outside the box of what a book can stereotypically do from all reports, it may also be a little bit difficult which is no bad thing. Give the brain some extra work! Oh and it is my choice for the next episode of Hear… Read This! which we are due to record next week. Hmmmm.
Finally, a book from the previous year which I meant to read and didn’t! A shoulda-woulda-coulda read from 2013 if you will. Rupert Thomson’s Secrecy is a book which went a little under the radar, despite Fiction Uncovered (my favourite bookish endeavour) listing it last year. It sounds deliciously Gothic too, possibly murderous as well, which I love in a book.
Which one will I choose? Here I should say that any thoughts above are NOT reading resolutions, I am going to discuss those (and my blogging resolutions all in one) tomorrow. Back to these books, I aim to have made a decision by bedtime but whichever it is I hope it will be a sign of a brilliant reading year ahead. I might try a bit of each one or just see which my mood leads me to. I will, of course, keep you posted. In the meantime what is your first read of the year? Are you superstitious about it at all? Or am I, as many suspect, a little bit bonkers?