From studying Bengali to blogging regularly, I struggled to find the time for many things I wanted to do more of last year.
But reading was one I did manage to keep up with, even meeting my annual Goodreads challenge to myself of finishing 35 books in the year.
Certainly there were some judicious choices made along the way to help keep the target within reach, but -for the first time since 2011 (during much of which I had a long train commute to work) – I did it. Continue reading
In the evening we went to the cinema. The film was a gruesome music comedy set amongst almond blossom in Kashmir.
I’m enjoying reading Eric Newby’s Slowly Down The Ganges, an account of the 1,200 mile journey he and his wife made in the early 1960s, but the line quoted above did make me wonder how many Bollywood films would qualify as gruesome music comedies.
Last year many things, my Bengali study among them, were thrown slightly off course, largely due to my job hunting.
Although this was ultimately more successful than I could have imagined, it still consumed much of my attention over the summer and autumn, that thankfully not everything suffered. Continue reading
Once upon a time I read a lot, positively devouring fiction.
As a result I have a residual memory that tries to tell me I’m still a big reader, even these days, when there’s no denying that – between work, home, family and blogging (!!) – it’s harder to find time to read than it used to be.
I’ve just updated my Reading page and, totting up the books I read last year, see 2010’s final score comes to 19. Continue reading
For perhaps too long now I’ve been choosing to read self-consciously challenging books. Ulysses, War and Peace and Don Quixote among others, always stopping now and then to gulp down a shorter, more straightforward book before ploughing on with the ‘big read’. I always get something out of them, but my reading habits of late have been seriously weighted in favour of big hitters.
This is compounded by a bad habit of mine. I can’t give up on a book. Doesn’t matter what it is, if I start a book then I’m going to finish it, no matter how hard or poorly written I think it is. Even if it’s among the worst books I’ve read – say something by Martin Amis or Saul Bellow.
Currently I’m somewhat bogged down in Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves. This is far from an Amis or a Bellow, in fact it’s mind-blowingly brilliant. But it also requires a substantial investment of time and is just too weighty to come on the train to work with me, so I can only give a little attention at a time. Continue reading