Sunday Salon: On the Horizon

sundaysalonThis is the time of year when everyone seems to be making plans for next year. I’m seeing mention of reading challenges, lists, and resolutions. My own plan is mostly to continue with not having much of a plan. I’m going to try to read the 31 books I’ve had on my shelf since 2009, and I’ll read whatever five books Jenny chooses for me in our annual book exchange. I’m also going to keep plugging away at the Patrick O’Brian and Margery Allingham books. Inspired by Annabel, who’s hosting a Game of Kings readalong, Jenny and I are talking about rereading Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond books.

And because I like the idea of group reads for the way they promote discussion, I’m hoping to join in on a Slaves of Golconda discussion or two and perhaps something from the Literature and War readalong. Wait! I thought I said I wasn’t making many plans.

Uh oh. This is starting to look like a lot of plans. I think what I really mean is that most of these are things I’m going to keep in mind and do if my mood and the timing are right. That, to me, is the key to being a happy reader. A vague plan to keep in mind but no firm commitments.

There are also a couple of events coming up that I have joined or may join. Perhaps you’d like to as well?

Double dog dareThe TBR Double Dog Dare from CB James and his dog Dakota is a pledge to read only books on your TBR pile (as in already purchased or on hold at the library) between January 1 and April 1. You may make exceptions as needed for book clubs and such. My plan is to read only books I have in hand or on the library hold list, and I’m not, repeat not, going to build a hold list stockpile. Two years ago, I made it all the way to the end of the dare. Last year, I lasted maybe a week. But I had fun both years, which is what matters.

LAR Button FinalAna and Iris have decided to make January Long-Awaited Reads month. This ties in nicely with the Double Dog Dare, although library books and new purchases are allowed. There’s no official sign-up for this, and I personally have a couple of books I intend to read in January that I found out about fairly recently. But I may fill the gaps with some Thomas Hardy and some Brontë novels I’ve been meaning to get to for ages.

classics-club-readathon-january-2013And speaking of Hardy and the Brontës, the Classics Club is hosting a readathon on January 5. I missed the October readathon entirely, but I’m hoping to join in on this one for part of the day, although I have some commitments that will keep from participating full the full day. The format will be just like Dewey’s Readathon, and since I’m one of those odd ducks who likes reading classics for readathons, this seems like a perfect event.

Another fun readathon comes from Jenn at The Picky Girl who’s hosting a New Year’s Eve readathon. The idea is just to read on New Year’s Eve until the ball drops. As someone who tends not to enjoy the NYE party scene, this sounds like just the thing. I’m not sure to what degree I’ll be joining in because I’ll be working all day and may decide when I get home that it’s more important to watch When Harry Met Sally (because New Year’s Eve!) and go to bed before the turning of the calendar. Late nights have, alas, become almost impossible for me. But I do like this idea a lot, so I’m hoping to join in for at least a few hours if not all my after-work hours.

OK. Yes, this is a lot of plans, but again, I’m keeping it vague and making no firm commitments. I shall read as my whimsy takes me.

What reading plans do you have brewing for the new year?

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41 Responses to Sunday Salon: On the Horizon

  1. sakura says:

    I have been thinking about whether I should or shouldn’t make plans for next year as I enjoyed the loose trajectory of my reading this year. However, I may have joined the TBR Double Dog Dare just because the number of unread books I have is getting out of control. Good luck to the both of us!

  2. Thanks for the mention, Teresa! Other than the January event with Iris, I pretty much have no plans for next year. After so many years of trying to achieve reading goals I think it’s time to take a break and just see where my reading takes me.

    • Teresa says:

      I like having some goals, but I keep them pretty vague. I have thought of abandoning my TBR list entirely (as in deleting it from my computer!) but I like having a pool of reading ideas, even if I don’t follow it.

  3. Tony says:

    I’m hosting ‘January in Japan’, a J-Lit event to kick off 2013, so you’re more than welcome to join that too ;)

    I think that over the past year or so I’ve become more interested in shorter events rather than the traditional year-long challenges. A month is a good time to focus on a particular area, allowing you to put aside a few books and read them, all while commenting on other bloggers’ choices. I don’t think I’ll bother with any year-long challenges in 2013…

    • Teresa says:

      I agree about shorter events. I like those much better–they require less planning, and I can join in or not as I feel inclined when the time comes.

      I have an e-galley of Kiku’s Prayer by Shusaku Endo that I want to read soon, so I may very well join in on January in Japan.

  4. Samantha says:

    All of these plans sound really fun! I haven’t ever participated in a challenge, but am wondering if it’s perhaps time to start. I like to keep my options open, so I can read as the mood strikes me, so sometimes I read seasonally or according to my mood or tasks when I’m selecting my next book. How much do challenges impede this kind of free selection? Or are they useful in that they help to structure your choices so that you have a wider variety of authors/nationalities/genres?

    • Teresa says:

      There’s a whole blog called “A Novel Challenge” (http://novelchallenges.blogspot.com/) dedicated to reading challenges, and I signed up for a lot of them when I started blogging. They seemed to me like a fun way of pushing myself to read more new authors or translations or whatever, but I found that they did end up stressing me out unless I ignored them totally, which kind of defeats the purpose of signing up! So these days, I see more appeal in short-term themed months or group reads. They don’t really impede my desire for free choice because I only join if I feel like it when the time comes. The nice thing, too, about shorter-term events is that they tend to generate more conversation among participants. The yearlong challenges, in my experience, don’t do that.

      • Samantha says:

        Thanks for the link – I will certainly check out all the challenges listed there! And I wholeheartedly agree with you that conversation is among the best outcomes of any reading challenge. Will you be hosting one anytime soon?

      • Teresa says:

        I find I’m much too lazy to organize any sort of big challenge. These days, I can’t even firmly commit to others’ challenges and readalongs!

  5. I don’t have goals for the new year, but I do have goals for my winter break—namely, watch the entire Bond canon and just read.

  6. It nice that many of your challenges overlap. I am sticking to two. The TBR Double Dog Dare and trying to finish A Century of Books (which I was supposed to finish this year).

    • Teresa says:

      The Century of Books does tempt me, but I know I’d end up either stressing about it, which isn’t fun, or ignoring it, which defeats the purpose. It would be interesting to see how long it would take to meet that challenge without really trying.

  7. Unlike you ;-), my plans are pretty simple: only a few challenges and mostly reading whatever I want.

  8. vanbraman says:

    I have been thinking about my goals for next year. 1001 Books to Read Before You Die books are on my list, but I also have many other lists going as well. Your blog has introduced me to several new authors that I am reading through. I also started picking up the Patrick O’Brian – Aubrey/Maturin books and plan to start reading them. Another challenge I may start working on next year is the Newberry Medal and Honor books. I have only read 16 of them, so have a long way to go.

    • Teresa says:

      I’ve read some great stuff from the 1001 Books–there used to be a challenge for it, in fact, and someone on LibraryThing put together an awesome spreadsheet for tracking.

      I’m delighted that you’re going to read the Aubrey/Maturin books!

  9. Helen says:

    I’m trying to avoid making too many commitments for next year, but I’m planning to take part in the Long-Awaited Reads month and the Classics Club readathon. I’m also hoping to do some rereading in 2013 – I used to love revisiting my favourite books but since I started blogging I just don’t seem to have had time for rereads and that’s something I would like to change next year.

  10. CJ says:

    I didn’t have any reading plans for the coming year when I started reading this post, but I’ve got a few brewing now. I’m especially intrigued by the Classics Club…not so much the readathon because I’m lucky to get even a 2- to 3-hour chunk to read, but more the five-year classics plan outlined on the site. Although it’s definitely possible that a long-term challenge like that would be entirely too easy for me to ignore. I might need to pepper it with some shorter-term challenges, just to keep me on top of things.

    • Teresa says:

      The Classics Club is a neat idea. I’ve not officially joined but I’ve thought about it and may get to it one of these days. I just know I’d end up either ignoring or resenting my list, although the organizers do say the list can be a living list that you change as interests change, which is helpful. I think they have done some mini-challenges and group reads to keep members on track.

  11. Belle says:

    Teresa,
    Like you, I am not making too many plans but am hoping to include short stories, plays, and at least one of The Russians.

    Here are my ideas on reading in 2013:
    http://bellebookandcandle.blogspot.com/2012/12/setting-target.html

    I am looking forward to a book-filled year.

    • Teresa says:

      I started making a point to read more short stories a couple of years ago, and I’ve enjoyed that. I had let them fall off my radar entirely for several years.

  12. Amy @ My Friend Amy says:

    lol i know what you mean about thinking you don’t have many plans until you start writing them out. I always love making plans at the end of the year, but I rarely stick by them!

  13. cbjames says:

    Thanks for plugging our little dare here. I think I’m actually reading less than usual right now in part because I’m waiting for the Double Dog Dare to start. I may end up beginning it a little early.

    A few of the others you listed look like fun, too. And i do have several Japanese novels in my TBR pile…..

    • Teresa says:

      I love the Double Dog Dare. I would LOVE to get through my 31 long-term TBRs in the first half of the year, and sticking to the dare would get me a long way toward it.

  14. Jenny says:

    I always rebel against my own reading plans as if I am my own disciplinarian parent. I have given up on reading plans. Maybe forever! Or at least until I forget how rebellious I get when forced to follow a reading plan. My only firm plan for next year is to do the Harry Potter reread with Alice & them, and that’s one I know will be fine because I reread those books every year anyway.

  15. Caroline says:

    Thanks for mentioning my readalong. I’m very glad you are considering to join for a few books.

  16. Stefanie says:

    It would be so awesome if you could join in on a Slaves read or two or three or … :) I had great success with making a list of books and authors I wanted to try and read for 2012 so I am going to do it again for 2013. No challenges though except RIP in the fall. Arti is doing a Swann’s Way read along in the spring but I’ve read it twice already. I have, however, been stuck in the middle of Guermantes Way (book 3) for a few years so I might read that book instead since at this point I will have to start again on page one! Good luck with all your plans!

    • Teresa says:

      I’ve been meaning to join a Slaves conversation for ages–so many of my first blogging friends are part of that group. And I do have a copy of Doctor Glas, so this might be the time.

  17. Danielle says:

    Your reading plans (or lack of them…) sound much like my own. Actually I have had you in mind as I think of what I want to do reading-wise next year. I think I’ll be reading along or joining challenges without actually joining in most of them–if that makes sense. Often the moment I sign myself up something else comes along to distract me, so I think I will have my own reading projects and read along in spirit or be inspired by what other readers are doing. I agree with Stefanie–yay–so glad you might read along with the Slaves (if you want to post on the Slaves blog let me know and I can send you an invite). And Caroline’s list for next year’s Literature and War Readalong is a good one–I’ve already ordered a number of the books. This year I’ll have read all but one of the books she chose, so I guess I can stick it out sometimes. I also want to read more from my stacks and want to get back to some authors I’ve neglected–like Cynthia Harrod-Eagles–I admire that you read through an author’s work with so much dedication! I am going to try hard to emulate it. I’ve been thinking of my own plans and will have to start sharing some of them. Thanks for the links–must take a closer look at them.

    • Teresa says:

      If I end up reading Doctor Glas–and I do have a copy–I’ll let you know, so you can send me an invite. I will put the book on my January pile, so it’s just a question of whether I get distracted. And it’s your enthusiasm for the Literature and War readalong over the past couple of years that got me thinking about it.

      Your comment about my reading through an author’s work made me laugh because my monthly or bimonthly approach is really a way to stop myself from posting on nothing put one series. My usual impulse with any series is to barrel through, and then all the books run together, and I can’t even talk about them sensibly.

  18. I love all of your plans. I forgot about the TBR challenge, but I always like that one. I’m not sure if I can 100 percent participate, but perhaps I can just try not to buy new books for the first part of the year… if that’s possible :) I’ve grown to like read-a-longs, even if I’m not always very good at participating in them. Bleak House is STARING at me still…

  19. Mona says:

    I love your no-plan plans! :) Looks like you have a great year of reading ahead of you.

    In past years, I’ve been a major planner, but not this time. My plan for next year is no plans. I have a major exam at the end of February and so should really spend the two months before not reading for fun at all. I might try the reading journal offline again, as I really liked having a record of my thoughts, but I’m not going to be thinking about it until March. I know I want to read a good mix of books – contemporary, classic, American/British, translations, etc. – but I don’t want a plan beyond that.

    • Teresa says:

      I like having a mix too, although sometimes I’ll get a craving for a particular kind of book and end up just reading that genre or period for a while. Over the course of a year, though, I seem to end up with a lot of different kinds of books.

  20. Pingback: Cavalcade of Classics Kick-off « Imperfect Happiness

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