'How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare that after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.' No one made any reply. She then yawned again, threw aside her book, and cast her eyes round the room in quest of some amusement. — from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
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January 3, 2011

There's nothing nicer than a fresh start...

I promised myself that I wouldn't write, or even think about, any more lists of books to read until I had spent enough quality time actually reading, and here I am breaking that promise. :)   There's just so much to look forward to.

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.


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7 comments:

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I had no idea that there was an Elizabeth Gaskell Challenge - I will have to go check that one out straightaway. I have Cranford on my shelves which I've just purchased a few weeks ago, and am excited as she's an author that I've heard quite a bit of wonderful things about lately.

bookssnob said...

I'm glad you'll be joining us for Virago Reading Week! The Gaskell reading sounds wonderful, and I wish I could join in, but alas, I have my list of American classics still to plough through. Who knew Nathaniel Hawthorne was so dashing? I feel encouraged to pick up The Scarlet Letter now!!

Joan Hunter Dunn said...

I'd been planning to re read Austen this year in recognition of my grandmother who always used to re read hers every year but alas is too frail to even do that and then when I read about S&S bicentenery well that book became a definate.
I'm also looking forward to the Virago reading week.

Vintage Reading said...

Didn't know it was the S&S bicentenery. Any excuse for a re-read!

I'd go with Gaskell for the challenge, too!

Eva said...

I just started reading Gaskell in 2009, and it's been fun getting to know her! I want to read Wives and Daughters next. :)

And sometimes I think that if I spent more time reading and last time drawing up lists, I'd get through far more books. But I don't think it'd be as fun!

Bellezza said...

I'm sure you've seen that the Virago Reading Week has been set for January 24 through the 30th...I just found that out yesterday, myself. ;) Looking forward to so many good books to read, and posts from those who will be participating. Perhaps I'll need to extend my own personal Virago Reading Week well into February. The Gaskell challenge sounds great, too.

Nan said...

Wouldn't he be pleased to be thought a 'hottie' after all these years?!

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