Same time last year, after reading a book called ‘The Year of Reading Dangerously’ by Andrew Miller (in which the author takes the challenge to go through all the books he owned that he never read but had been pretending to), I decided to take a challenge of my own: to read one classic book every month this year. Classic books I had never got around to read because a) no time, b) too many new books to read, c) completely forgot about them.
Today I evaluated my challenge and realised with disappointment that somehow, with the house move and the wedding, I have only completed 55% of it, by having managed to read the following books:
1) Lost Horizon – by James Hilton
2) Anna Karenina – by Leo Tolstoy
3) Far From The Madding Crowd – by Thomas Hardy
4) Lolita – by Vladimir Nabokov
5) The Sun Also Rises – by Ernest Hemingway
6) To Kill a Mocking Bird – by Harper Lee
7) Love In The Time Of Cholera – by Gabriel Garcia Marques
On top of those, I have also read:
1) Wild – by Cheryl Strayed (again!)
2) Snowdrops – by A.D Miller (for my local book club)
3) An Italian Affair – by Laura Fraser (a memoir about finding freedom and pleasure after a painful divorce, whilst at the writing retreat)
I am in the middle of:
1) The Year Of Magical Thinking – by Joan Didion (a memoir about bereavement and grief)
2) Tout Sweet – by Karen Wheeler (a memoir about moving to France)
1) 1884 – by George Orwell (found it rather childish, and maybe it is now considering how much of it has already become reality, but I may come back to it eventually as a challenge – please don’t dare me!)
I can’t recall reading any other book but even so, I barely managed one book a month so far. Obviously, I will have to pursue my challenge a little harder next time. What I realised worked at the beginning of the year was to actually make a reading list and tick off items off the list as soon as I had finished reading them. I have the lame excuse of having lost that list in the moving process and kind of abandoning my classics reading challenge half way through the year. But a new year is upon us and I have a new reading list to make.
How about you? What did you read this year? What books do you have gathering dust on your shelf that you have been avoiding for years? What reading challenge can you take next year?
PS: If you’d like to know what I think about Ana Karenina and Bathsheba Everdeen and what they teach us about love, click here.