02 January 2007

The 2007 Reading Challenge

I gave up making New Year’s Resolutions early in high school, when I failed - yet again - to keep any on the list pinned to my noticeboard. I can’t break them if I don’t make them, can I?

Then the other month I read Sara Nelson’s So Many Books, So Little Time, a chronicle of her attempt to read one book a week from a set list. The book was wonderfully humorous and I loved it, but it did make me feel that my own reading selections are somewhat ... limited. A check of my lists of books read from the last few years shows a lot of crime and romance, and even more non-fiction from a handful of different sections, but not much by way of literary fiction, or critically acclaimed fiction, or prizewinning fiction, or offbeat fiction. In fact, my first thought was that my taste in books runs rather to the plebeian. (And my second thought was that if I’m tossing around words like ‘plebeian’ in ordinary mental conversation, I’ve been watching Rome too much.)

So I thought it might be fun - or at the very least interesting - to do my own book-a-week challenge. I don’t intend to set a list; if it didn’t work for Sara Nelson, it certainly won’t work for me. Instead I’ll let serendipity bring the books to me. The only criteria will be that the books be ones of perceived quality that I ordinarily wouldn’t touch. 2007 is going to be the year that I broaden my reading horizons.

Admittedly it’s not off to the best start, given that I forgot all about it until this afternoon. But reading is one thing that I will never fail to do so there is hope. And I might even enjoy it.

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Header image shows detail of A Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c. 1776