First and foremost, I am a reader. A lifelong bookworm.
I also write. This outlet is meant to help me keep track of my obsessions as I sound the depths of different topics and subject areas for my writing and my curiosity.
I read widely and yet, of course, I have gaps. This year I plan to fill in some of those gaps with books I feel are egregious omissions from my reading life and also with books in genres I have not yet delved into very deeply.
I am a great lover of lists and look with fascination every January at all the reading challenges that pop up among book bloggers. I never do them because my reading is either desultory, with one book leading to another in kind of an organic way. Or else my reading is determined and planned, and I’m in a deep dive into a topic that sparkles in front of me as I chase it down a twisting path. I am not good at reading books assigned for a book club or following up on recommended reading from other people right away. I am grateful for books given to me, but they may sit awhile until they fit into my reading schedule of the moment.
Still, I am drawn to the idea of working one’s way methodically through a list, a program, a book, a course, a challenge, etc. I once set out to read all of the Pulitzer Prize winners for Fiction/Novel since that award’s inception in 1918. I got up to 1938-The Late George Apley by John Phillips Marquand. I stopped, but I plan to pick that up again sometime. I have a purple Trapper Keeper folder that I have been keeping book lists in since high school. It comprises clippings from newspapers and magazines, lists printed from websites, photocopied bibliographies of books, and handwritten compilations of my own devising.
Here I plan to see some of my goals and desires come to fruition. I’m tired of planning, setting goals and intentions and then watching them recede off into the distance, forgotten and left behind. So this year, 2019, I set off with some goals in mind.
- To fill in the gaps of my reading by using Jane Smiley’s book 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel and trying to keep up with one of the book challenges out there. All the while, I need to be reading as much as possible the books I already own that I haven’t read yet and that fit the criteria for the book challenge, whichever one that turns out to be. As of now I’m interested in Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge and the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge.
- I would like to visit every state park in Virginia this year.
- I have folders, piles, and 3-ring binders full of recipes that I have compiled over the years from magazines, newspapers, and the internet. I would like to cook through those as much as possible this year before turning to my cookbooks or internet searches. Then I can recycle the ones I’ll never make again, and be left with only the core favorites and much more organization.
- To watch all of the Studio Ghibli movies.
- To dive deeper into the works of Terrence Malick. I have seen A New World and Tree of Life.
- Restart and finish Classical Music 101 which I have had for 14 years. I used to go out to the car and listen to the music during my son’s nap. Now he’s in 9th grade. I also have Jazz 101 and Opera 101. Would like to do those, too.