It’s that time of year where we try to set ourselves goals for the next 12 months. I have a profile on goodreads, but I’m a bit slack in updating my reading list, often I log on and find that I’ve read a few more books since I last looked at my ‘currently reading’ shelf. I then spend too much time trying to recall what I’ve read since, giving them a rating and occasionally a review.
There is on that site somewhere, a tick box where you can set yourself a target of how many books you hope to read for the year. I’ve always avoided this button, I can see trouble ahead.
I live in a house where three out of four of us want the television volume to be on an even number, if I had to choose a number of books, it would have to be a good round even number, such as 100. Now, that is a lot of books. Two a week (more or less).
If I was spending my mornings and evenings on the glorious London Underground and had a reasonably long journey, maybe, but I’m not. Taking in a holiday laying on a sunbed near a pool for a couple of weeks I could get the average up a bit, however last year didn’t do much laying around and reading. All-in-all I think I might struggle to hit my self imposed target.
And then quantity would rule quality, even if War and Peace could be counted as two books, it would be hard going to read it in a week, and so towards the end of the year I would be looking for short, easy-read books, consumed in a couple of days at the most, the prose barely registering on my brain.
Recently I downloaded a free ebook because… well it was free. What I have learned since getting a Kindle is that self-published free ebooks, almost without exception, need an editor or at the very least a proofreader, then again if they had those they wouldn't be free I know. This particular story read as if the writer had watched a lot of television detective series, took note of all the clichés, wrote out the couple of plots from Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle, tore them up and threw them up in the air and then wrote a first draft television movie script. There was something there, but it needed a lot more rewriting and, as I said, an editor. However, I read it in three tube journeys. and it would be one book ticked off my mythical list, but then does it come down to the number of pages or words? Would one Dickens equal two Ray Bradburys?
For this year I plan to finish my Anthony Price odyssey (and maybe The Iliad), re-read John le Carré’s Smiley novels (thanks to the BBC re-running Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and then hope that a couple of novels like Pure and Stoner fall into my lap like last year.
I’m not having a dry January either.