Sunday Salon: A whole new year

The Sunday SalonIt’s the time of year for reflecting on things done or not done and planning how to do the next year…better, somehow. I haven’t quite started my Christmas holiday yet but work is very much wound down and really it’s all about this Friday. (Which I am not at all ready for. I haven’t got the last few presents, let alone wrapped and labelled them all. Gonna be a busy Christmas Eve!) But I love Christmas – all that tinsel and the sparkling lights and the hearty foods – even if the weird broken weather is making it feel more like May outside.

I’ll save my end-of-year reading stats for the actual end of the year but this is as good a time as any to reflect on my top books read in 2015, which were:

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

Esperanza Street by Niyati Keni

Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest

Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton

So once again, a pretty varied bunch. There’s poetry, a children’s book and great stories spanning Australia, the Philippines and the Falkland Islands. It’s definitely the stories that were gripping, emotionally complex and beautifully told that have stuck with me. And all fairly recent books too (the oldest was published in 2013). I’m not sure what that means – that I should weed out all those old classics I’ve been clinging onto? I do need a bit of a sort out but what would that mean for Classics Club?

Which brings me to my reading plans for next year. I would like to keep up with my aim to read 50 classics in five years, but I might have to amend my list a bit to acknowledge that I just don’t want to dust off those copies of Dickens et al. I think it’s about time I took a good look at the TBR and discard anything that’s sat there more than 10 years. It’s a surprising number of them. The pile is too big and too dreary. I want to be excited about the books waiting for me. And if I change my mind in future I can always borrow the old classics from the library. (I’m trusting we’ll still have libraries, which may be a dangerous assumption.)

My preferred classics are definitely the 20th century ones, from Modernism (my favourite module at university) to feminism (how have I still not read The Female Eunuch?). And I’d like to explore more of those books from outside the US and UK. Any recommendations?

I think I’d like to keep 2016 simple on the goals front so I’ll leave it at that: 10 (modern) classics and a thorough sort out of the TBR. It would be nice if I can keep up a nice mix of genres and works in translation, but hopefully that’s now become habit and I don’t need to make a challenge out of it.

What are your reflections on your 2015 reading? Any plans made yet for next year?