This time last year, inspired by Andy Miller’s excellent ‘My Year of Reading Dangerously’, I wrote this – http://www.bernardokeeffe.com/?p=738 .
The idea was to spend 2015 reading a bit more than I usually do. History suggested that this New Year’s Resolution was likely to go the way of all previous ones, the early January flame of enthusiasm extinguished by the wet drizzle of apathy in…well in mid-January if previous resolutions to do with exercising more, being nicer to everyone, learning a language or writing a thousand words a day were anything to go by.
To my great surprise I managed to keep some kind of flame burning throughout the whole of 2015. According to Goodreads ( and as I was entering each completed book on there as part of the deal, it cannot possibly be lying) I have read 52 books this year which, as the mathematically gifted amongst you will have already worked out, comes in at a book a week. Smarty-pants speed-readers may already be curling a literary lip in disdainful dismissal of such a paltry number, but, believe me, 52 is a number that has mightily impressed me and set the bar ridiculously high for 2016 – so high that, were it not for the fact that I have really enjoyed rediscovering my reading muscle, I might be tempted to sink back into my lazy pre- 2015 habits.
So here they are – the 52 books – http://bit.ly/1NXnvAg.
You can see from this that I didn’t, in an attempt to increase the tally, shirk the big ones. I managed these two monsters – Purity by Jonathan Franzen, and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.
OK, I didn’t particularly enjoy either and there is no doubt thateach is far, far too long but the fact is I finished them. There was a time when I wouldn’t have bothered – see The Literary Thwack! –http://www.bernardokeeffe.com/?p=171. 2016 may see a return to this ‘don’t like it,don’t finish it’ approach, but I am trying to resist it.
I’ll admit, though, that I did consciously seek out books of less daunting length, which explains the Muriel Spark, Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh
Highlights were –
Meg Wolitzer’s ‘The Interestings’ and ‘The Uncoupling’
Surprise discoveries were Shirley Hazzard’s Bay of Venus and Justin Cartwright’s Other People’s Money
So how did I do it?
1) I watched less televised football. Being a QPR season ticket holder was, I decided, enough of a commitment to the beautiful game
2) I read in the bath
3) I read on the bus