Middlemarch and Other Goals for 2017

middlemarchI haven’t written much about my reading goals for 2017. I never much considered having reading goals until I started blogging and following bloggers who are an enthusiastic and goal-oriented bunch. Slowly, my own ideas for bookish accomplishments have taken shape in my mind. Here are some for 2017 and beyond:

  1. Read Middlemarch. Finally. Damn it. I started Middlemarch in October 2011 and I think I finished book one. I took it with me to France in November and it just wasn’t the book to travel with. I put it down and lost the thread. Inspired by others who’ve read this at a planned pace (looking at you, Laila at Big Reading Life), I am going to aim to read a book a month. That means I should finish the eight books of Middlemarch in August this year. This slo-mo approach appeals to me because Eliot is wise and clever, but her narrative passages can be dense and only grasped with close reading, which is slow.  If I try to read the whole thing at once, I may rush and miss much. I am already behind on this goal–still working on book one here on February 2, but that’s okay. I am already really enjoying it (again) and, happily, feeling less annoyed at the prospect of Dorothy marrying Casaubon than I did last time because I already know she is silly enough to actually do it. Anyway, I am finding all sorts of other entertainment in book one now that I am not annoyed (the pleasure of rereading). Stay tuned for more thoughts on Middlemarch.
  2. Read all the Pulitzer prize winners in literature (but not in one year.) This goal is inspired by a friend of mine who is not a blogger, but he is a big reader (looking at you, PJK). We often have book chat emails and follow each other on Goodreads. I had recently finished All the King’s Men (winner 1947), which blew my socks off, when he mentioned the idea of reading all the Pulitzers. After looking at the entire list of winners, I realized that I’ve read quite a few and have rarely been disappointed, which I cannot say about some of the other book prizes. So I’m stealing his thunder and making this a goal. I’ve got nine winners on my TBR shelves already, and reading those this year would be a good start. PJK, if you want to join me and guest post now and then, let me know!
  3. Read 50 books. I know this is small potatoes compared with the incredible number of books some bloggers read, but it is whopping for me. Besides, I have other interests that I love just as much as reading and which will not get pursued if I am always nose in book.
  4. Read more closely and therefore more slowly. One of the great hazards of a quantity reading goals is that I am tempted to read too quickly. I don’t stop to jot down a quote I like or reread passages just to think about them. I don’t know how this is going to work with #3 but I’m going to try to be better about savoring and reflecting.
  5. Listen to more audiobooks. I count audiobooks as “reading.” In fact, sometimes I catch the nuances of a book better when I listen because a skilled reader can really influence my perception of a book. Way back in 1992 or 1993 when I was living in Tokyo, I found a super cheap audiobook (cassette) of Possession by A. S. Byatt in a bargain bin. I had tried reading Possession previously, but gave up–it seemed so stuffy. But in Japan in those days,  all English books–and certainly audiobooks–were expensive, the selection was limited (no Kindle or internet), and required effort to track down. I never had enough books around in those years, so I snapped up that audiobook from the bin. The reader (I don’t remember who now) was so good that many parts of the book I’d thought were stuffy I found to be funny. I remember being amazed at how differently I understood the book from listening. These days, when I can download audiobooks from the library or Audible and so on, there hardly seems to be any excuse. And best for me: I can “read” while I paint or sew…or cook and clean.
  6. Read more graphic novels. I love art and I love books, so I am not sure why I haven’t read more graphic novels. Going to change this in 2017.

It’s taken me until February, but my goals are out there. Let’s see how I do.


4 thoughts on “Middlemarch and Other Goals for 2017

  1. Laila@BigReadingLife says:

    Awesome goals! I’m thrilled to read that I’ve inspired you to pick up Middlemarch again. The slow pace is the way to go on that one, I think. I may try to use that idea when I tackle my “classic that’s always intimidated me” (I think it’s going to be The Count of Monte Cristo.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. PJK says:

    Hey, I’m down with the Pulitzer thing… just started “All The King’s Men”, though I admit I’ve been diverted by some completely escapist sci-fi crap this last week…

    Liked by 2 people

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