Last year I did my readings so as to ensure that I would read 50 books within the span of a single Lunar New Year, a kind of interesting challenge for the first time, pushing myself to read more and in a certain way.
Of course, I found that the fact I was doing a Lunar New Year list affected how I was reading. Not all of my choices were affected by this, of course — if I’d been maniacal about it, I wouldn’t have joined the Ezra Pound Reading Group at the Uni, because reading Pound is slow and arduous work — everything needs to get read several times over, and pondered, and researched, and reread yet more. And some of the kids’ books I read weren’t chosen because they were short, really — I’ve had an interest in reading A Series of Unfortunate Events since having seen the movie, after all, and my friend Heather loaned me Dahl’s The Twits hoping I’d read it.
And I love Seamus Heaney, yes, but I did choose to read North because it was a short collection of poems. That doesn’t take away from the fact I did read it — a couple of times through, in fact, as it was so good — but I’ve steered away from longer books, and that’s sad because there are some longer books which I have on hand and I really do want to work my way through.
So while I think an ongoing “reading project” linked to my blog is a good idea, I also think that one relating to volume is a bad idea for me. Lat’s face it, during any year in which I’m reading a certain set number of books, I’m probably not going to get to the Gormenghast trilogy, or Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy, and those are books I really ought to read, even if only to find out why I like or dislike them. (Bruce Sterling said somewhere that every SF writer needs to read the KSR books to find out for himself what’s wrong with them.)
So I think what I’ll do is a 50-50 reading endeavour, which will most definitely take me more than a year. It’ll be 50% books of my own choosing, related to a theme of my own devising, and 50% books from China Miéville’s Fifty Fantasy & Science Fiction Works That Socialists Should Read.
There are two reasons that I will do this 50/50 with some other reading project. For one thing, some of the books on Miéville’s list will probably be hard to get my hands on, and I’ll need to order some of them, for sure. The other thing is that I don’t want to limit my reading for the next couple of years so completely as to commit to this list exclusively. I figure with the 50/50 I’ll have enough swing to get in some poetry that’s been waiting a while, some graphic novels and some nonfiction that I’m really interested in getting into.
So that’s that.
Lime’s waiting; in a few moments, we’ll be out there in the Krabi night. Good winds and weather, all.