I have a small stack of library books all due next weekend, so my immediate plan is to finish as many of them as I can. I did start Salley Vickers' Dancing Backwards, about a widowed poet (middle-aged? older? we're not yet sure) who is traveling to New York on a cruise ship to reconnect with an old friend (lover?) I read (and remember greatly enjoying) three of her earlier novels -- Miss Garnet's Angel, Instances of the Number 3, and The Other Side of You. This one didn't hold me at first, but I still think she's a wonderful writer and the story -- especially the relationship between Violet and Edwin -- is growing on me.
There are two January reading events that I'm hoping to join in on -- a Virago reading week, to be hosted at BookSnob and A Few of My Favorite Books sometime soon, and a group read of Penelope Fitzgerald's The Bookshop at Cornflower Books. As for the Viragos, I'm old enough to remember when they were new, and I see about 10 or 12 of those distinctive green spines on my bookshelves, some not yet read. (The wonderful new and used book warehouse two towns over even used to have a dedicated Virago section on the used-book side; that's where many of mine came from.) As for The Bookshop, that's (sigh) another unread book on my shelves. So thank you for the push to read them!
The other thing I've been looking forward to is starting a new author project (now that I've finished Jane Austen). (I do have to re-read Sense and Sensibility this spring, for only the third or fourth time, to celebrate its 200th anniversary.) Three or four years ago, I decided that I wanted to read more deeply in certain classic or favorite authors, and came up with a rough plan to focus on one at a time and read his/her major novels and a biography or two, watch film or TV adaptations, and possibly even visit a home or haunt. I wasn't very focused with JA, but hopefully I'll do better with my second author. I made a list, chronologically by birth year, and Nathaniel Hawthorne should be next. But I've wavering over whether to read Elizabeth Gaskell next, because last year was her bicentennial, and because reading Gaskell feels like a present and reading Hawthorne feels like school. Seeing that there's an Elizabeth Gaskell reading challenge on the new Gaskell blog gives me a perfect excuse, and a timeframe to work in, so that's that. I'm only cheating by six years, birth year wise, and I'll put this picture here to remind myself that NH is not only worth reading, and a return to my love of American literature, but also a hottie.
. . . . . . . . . . . .