2011 Preview

I’m not the resolution-making type; I don’t enjoy failure enough to actively set myself up for it. But I did enjoy the way participating in reading challenges helped shape and direct my reading this past year, so I’m setting a few goals for 2011.

I’m going to renew the Science Books challenge. I’ve got plenty to choose from already on my shelves, I like a good, solid shot of non-fiction every now and then, and it’s easy to work in three over the course of a year. It’s a no-brainer!

I will, of course, participate in Readers Imbibing Peril again; it’s always the highlight of my reading year. If I were ever to decide to stop blogging, I’d still keep the lights on at Bookish Dark, so I could participate in RIP every fall. It’s such a rewarding challenge: I get lots of good leads on books to read, I always discover new blogs to add to my feeds, and I just love to devote to two whole months to the mysterious and terrifying. I went full-bore in 2010, completing the highest level of reading challenge plus weekly movie reviews. I’ll be cutting back in 2011, due to a personal challenge that I’ll be working on at the same time.

I have decided that 2011 is the year I re-conquer Mt. Stephenson, i.e., the Baroque Cycle, likely with a Cryptonomicon chaser (which will be my fourth time through that particular doorstop of a book.) When they were published in 2003-04, I ran to the bookstore on the day each of the books in the trilogy was released and read them immediately–possibly the last time I’ll do such a thing, given how ebooks and online retailers have changed bookselling. I had a mixed, but ultimately great, experience with the Baroque Cycle, and at 2700+ pages, I felt a real sense of accomplishment when I finished it. I also knew, immediately, that I would someday go back and read it all again; I finally felt the urge to take it on a few weeks ago. When I announced my intentions, my good friend Corvus asked if I would hold off on the Stephenson expedition until the second half of the year, when his own reading commitments would allow him to join in. Of all my friends, Corvus is the one I’d most like to attack the Baroque Cycle with, given certain complementalities in our bookish mindsets, so that was an easy yes. We’re going to make a proper real life book club out of it! I’m toying with the idea of exploring the Stephensonian foothills before we set out up the mountain–Snow Crash, Diamond Age, etc.–but I’m not sure about that; it may be there’s such thing as too much Neal Stephenson, even for me, and I wouldn’t want to tire myself before we even reach base camp.

Besides, I have some perfectly lovely Persephone books awaiting my attention, and I think a winter season spent in early- to mid-20th century Britain sounds lovely. It’s high time I work up The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society for the blog–another book so close to my heart, I’ve had a hard time writing about it. This will be my third time reading it, and this time, darn it, I will NOT get lost in the story and forget to take notes! I WILL read it with a critical eye and review it for the blog. (Or, you know, I’ll just let Juliet Ashton and her sweet, wacky friends sweep me off my feet, AGAIN. I really can’t lose with this one.)

Finally, I’m going to work my To-Read list over on Goodreads; that’s where I’ve been parking all the interesting-sounding titles that flitter past in my feeds and on challenge pages. I was thinking one book per month, but I’ve just re-read this entry so far, and realize that I am way over-booking (hah!) 2011 already. So I’m going to aim for one To Read book, from the library, per quarter. That’s four books. I can totally do that. And if I can’t, well, that’s okay–if it’s not one book, it’ll be another!

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