In 2007, I plan to do the following:
1. Begin my Virginia Woolf project in earnest: For more than a year now I have been plotting to read Julia Briggs’ Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life and to read (or reread) Woolf’s novels, short stories, and essays chronologically alongside it. Briggs' book focuses squarely on the work, with each chapter devoted to the genesis, writing process, and reception of one or a group of Woolf’s books, so it’s the perfect framing device for my reading project. Over the past year I have filled most of the gaps in my Woolf library and I’m ready to begin.
2. Make good on my plan to institute a monthly “Small Press Spotlight” feature: At the end of June, I announced that I was launching a new feature called “Small Press Spotlight” on this blog. This is how I described the endeavour: “At least once per month, I’ll shine the spotlight on a different small/indie press whose books I think deserve your attention. I’ll tell you a bit about the history of the press and, where editors are willing to talk to me, its editorial vision. Then I’ll highlight three or four recent titles that have convinced me that any book the press publishes is worth a look.” Alas, I did not follow through in 2006, but I will do so in 2007.
3. Keep a more detailed reading journal: This blog is my most detailed reading journal as far as my response to individual books goes, but its scope is limited. I don’t document everything that I read here and I don’t want to. My comprehensive list of books read originally took the form of a hand-written reading journal. Last year, I abandoned that in favour of keeping a virtual list on LibraryThing. The latter is very convenient, particularly when it comes to generating year end stats. But I think that I lost more than I gained in the switch as I stopped keeping track even of the dates that I started and finished books. Thus I have no record of the ebb and flow of my reading in 2006 nor of the books that I started but didn’t finish. This year, I’m going to resurrect my hand-written reading journal and to increase the detail of it, recording not just dates started and finished but also what led me to pick up each book in the first place, where it came from and so on. I’m inspired in this by Carl V. who wrote in his New Year’s post of being “very interested in how mood, time of year, outside influences, blog book reviews, challenges, etc. effects what [he] read[s]” and of his intention to explore these things by keeping a more detailed reading record. I share his interest in these facets of the reading life and I plan explore them in similar fashion.
4. Read books from a broader range of countries and which originate in a broader range of languages than in previous years: For the last two years, more than 95% of the books that I’ve read were originally written in English by authors from Canada, the U.S. or the UK. It’s time to expand my reading horizons. I’m plotting a reading challenge to address this which I will outline in my next post.
5. Become more diligent about making blog comments and responding to them: This isn’t a reading resolution, but it’s entirely blog-related so it belongs here all the same. My reading life is enriched enormously by reading other people’s blogs and by the comments that readers of this blog make in response to my posts. Often, however, when I’m feeling stressed out and pressed for time, I don’t manage to post the comments that occur to me in response to the many insightful and though-provoking blog entries that I read elsewhere. Nor do I manage to respond regularly to the very interesting comments that readers generously leave here. I will endeavour to change that this year. I agree with Litlove and Cam and others who have written recently about the enormous value not just of litblogs themselves but of the exchanges and discussions that emanate from them. I want to participate more fully in those exchanges and discussions than I have in the past and to thereby become a better blog citizen. My deepest thanks to all of you for adding so much to my reading life. Happy New Year!