1 January 2013

All’s Quiet On New Year’s Day


A time for resolutions is upon us again. Give up smoking and alcohol, eat healthier, move more. Any number of things to make us better people, to live longer. But if you need to give up smoking why not choose July or September? If you want to go to the gym you could have started a month ago, why wait for January?

It would be great if libraries had an upsurge of membership in January. Queues snaking from the desk out into the street in the first week of the New Year with many of the new recruits never to be seen again. The more determined ones will put in a solid month of Fifty Shades of Grey before slowly tailing off to the occasional Conan Doyle with a little upsurge to coincide with the summer before petering out completely by autumn. Librarians up and down the country breathing a sigh of relief because they know that if everyone who signed up, turned up, there wouldn’t be enough books to go around. Only the hard core making it to the end of the year with an average of three books a fortnight.

New Year isn’t going to change my reading habits, my new work pattern might, less and more erratic commuting means less reading time, therefore, I’m going to have to find that time from elsewhere. I have a physical to-be-read pile, books that I’ve picked up along the way and left around the house, on shelves, windowsills, under the bed, a pile that never seems to get smaller. There is also a virtual pile on my Kindle, which I’ve just added Life of Pi to. And then there’s the metaphorical list, books that I keep in the back of mind, books that one-day I will read but have not got around to.

I’m still reading Anthony Price’s 1970s spy books; and in the past year I’ve read Robinson Crusoe; The Mysterious Island; Scott of the Antarctic; and South, the story of Shackleton’s doomed expedition; (I can see a theme developing. I started Scott because of the anniversary last year, having read South previously, reading those two convinced me that snow and ice are for others, not me. I picked up The Mysterious Island and parts of it reminded me of Robinson Crusoe so off I went to that island again. I was lent Victoria Coren’s autobiography and I read a new James Herbert for the first time in years. None of these would have been on a New Year’s Resolution list at this time a year ago.

Will this be the year that I read War and Peace or Lord of the Rings? If I’m in a bookshop and find a beautifully designed copy then who knows? I imagine that The Hobbit is going to be a big seller this year and as I said I’ve already downloaded a copy of Life of Pi, so maybe that’s where I’ll start and we’ll see where we go from there. 

Happy New Year.

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