Forward to the Future

So, this post has come about a month after I had wanted to actually publish it, but never mind! The last year of reading was very fulfilling, and though at times I was quite stressed by the looming deadline, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, primarily because it actually made me sit down and read books, rather than spending most of my time on other less worthwhile pursuits.

That said, this was also a downside. I’ve mentioned the stress of the deadline, (and while it was my own fault for taking a three-month or so break from actually reading), the pressure of trying to finish 100 books meant that as well as not doing unproductive things, I also felt loathe to spend time doing productive things other than reading. For example, (apart from the ill-advised attempt at NaNoWriMo last year and a contribution to a short-story anthology coming out soon) I’ve barely written any fiction in over a year. I’ve also not written anywhere near as much non-review based blog-posts as I’d hoped when I first set out.  On top of that, there’s a whole world of other things away from literature that I’d hoped to do which I’ve not managed to find time to do, including language learning and some independent historical research I’ve wanted to do since about Christmas.

So what does that mean for the future of the blog? Well, I’m taking until the end of the year off from any prescribed reading. Although a lack of distractions in my new flat means that’s basically all I’ve been doing since the end of September anyway! I’m not going to review every single book I read now though, because some of the things I’ll be reading will be re-reads, or because there’s only so many interesting things I can say about works by one author (You may remember my reviews of Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska are fairly similar), but there will be reviews.

After January? Well, I’m definitely committed to doing another “challenge” as it were next year, though it will be less strenuous than a hundred books in 365 days, and blogging about it as well. The exact nature of what I’ll be however is something that I’ve  been swithering over for some time. For a while I was convinced that I was going to complete the Nobel Laureate’s list, but that was possibly even more daunting than last year. Then I was going to read the BBC’s Big Read list, which I completely failed to whittle down a bit last year. For a while I was going to read more of the ‘Classics’, and then I was only going to read self-published works from the Kindle store. My final idea was to emulate the wonderful Ann over at A Year of Reading the World and try to read one book from as many countries as I could.

This final idea, though appealing, actually evolved into something else after I read The Lost Books of the Odyssey. I know a fair amount about certain national mythologies, but the barely anything about a majority of them, something that I think I should work to rectify. However,  to try to cover the whole world is a challenge of a lifetime, definitely not for a single year, so I’m going to narrow the playing field a bit for 2014, my “Year of Mythologies”! (Note to self: Think up a snappier title! Suggestions in the comments appreciated.)

Rather than giving myself a set target of reading X number of mythological works during the year, I’m going to set aside two months to reading stories from a particular culture or group of cultures. Not exclusively, I’m still going to be reading other books alongside the myths, particularly any books I find that are linked closely to the idea of mythologies (Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is a good example of what I mean by this, though it’s unlikely to feature as I have already read it twice)

My vague plan at the moment is this:

  • Jan-Feb: Greco-Roman
  • Mar-Apr: Far East
  • May-Jun: ‘The British Isles’
  • Jul-Aug: Ancient Near East
  • Sep-Oct: Scandinavia
  • Nov-Dec:  TBD

I do have some texts in mind for each of these, though I’ll probably post my reading list in the weeks approaching the onset of each grouping. Any suggestions for texts are of course welcomed, as are ideas for the final culture. My inclination leans towards the rather broad spectrum of ‘Native Americans’, particularly the northern First Nations tribes, but that’s not set in stone. I’ve not looked around to see what books are out there, so it might turn out changing quite drastically.

So, that’s the plan. I’m looking forward to the change of pace, and hopefully it’ll be a very educational year!

(Apologies for the cheesiness of the title. It’s intentional, and is a reference to one of Terry Pratchett’s childrens’ novels)

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