2012 – Plans and Challenges

A new year is like a blank canvas for bloggers; we are able to forget about the constraints of the last few months and embark on a new reading direction.  Sadly, being the people we are, we tend to make elaborate plans and fill up that canvas pretty quickly, leaving ourselves just as hemmed in for space by the end of the year as was the case twelve months earlier…  Still, January is a great time for readers, and I always enjoy launching into a new year and wondering what the next twelve months will bring 🙂

Last year, I only took part in a few challenges, all of which I comfortably completed, and that’s the way I like it!  To start off 2012, I’ll be putting my name down for a few Australian-themed ones, encouraging me to read more local fare.  For the third time, I’ll be taking part in the Aussie Author Challenge, and I’ll also be trying the Australian Women Writers Challenge – if I add the Reading Matters January Australian Literature Month, that’ll be three birds with one stone 🙂

I’m also reserving a little reading space for events which may be coming up later this year.  The fifth Japanese Literature Challenge wraps up at the end of January, and given my love of J-Lit, this is another challenge I’ll be signing up for when it returns later in the year.  I’m also hoping that after the huge success of German Literature Month last November, Lizzy and Caroline will be up for repeating the event at some point in 2012!

That’s more than enough to be going on with for the moment as I don’t want to fill up my particular canvas in the first week of the new year!  However, January is already looking pretty scheduled – I have decided to get the year off to a flying start by reading only books by female writers…
I have already set aside a few books from each of my specialist areas: from J-Lit I have Banana Yoshmoto’s The Lake and Yoko Ogawa’s Hotel Iris; in the German language I can choose from Herta Müller’s Herztier, Christa Wolf’s Nachdenken über Christa T. and Jenny Erpenbeck’s Heimsuchung (Visitation); for Oz-Lit I have put a hold on Miles Franklin’s My Brilliant Career and Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria at the local library; I also have a couple of Victorian classics up my sleeve in the shape of Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey and George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss.  And if that little lot doesn’t take up the whole month, I’m sure I’ll be able to find another couple somewhere on my shelves…
That’s quite enough planning for one post – I’m off to do some reading…  So, what are you all planning to do with 2012?


Post-Script – Although I have no plans to read any more of Haruki Murakami’s fiction in 2012 (as I’ve read it all over the past couple of years!), my arm has been gently twisted, and I will be taking part in Tanabata’s Murakami Challenge again this year 🙂

How, you may ask?  Well, I’ve had a copy of Jay Rubin’s Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words sitting on my shelves for a while now, so it’s about time it got read.  I’m also planning to purchase a couple of his non-fiction titles this year – Underground & What I Talk About When I Talk About Running -, and I may even get around to the anthology of short stories he selected, Birthday Stories.

But that’s definitely it…


22 thoughts on “2012 – Plans and Challenges

  1. I'm working on the three birds with one stone thing too. I plan on getting the challenges out of the way early on (famous last words!) and then just reading whatever.

    I want to read The Lake and Hotel Iris, but as I'm supposed be to reading only my own books this year I'm either going to have to cheat or buy them. Have been looking forward to The Lake for ages, but it has had some fairly ordinary reviews so far.


  2. Your ongoing support of the Aussie Author Challenge (particularly the shout-outs on a few blog posts recently) is very much appreciated Tony!

    As a devoted Steven Carroll fan, just wondering whether you'd read his title 'The Lost Life'? I spied it in the library catalogue the other day in audio and thought I should give Carroll a go.


  3. Violet – Yes, it's a good way to knock off some challenges 🙂 I read twenty Australian books last year, so I'll probably be around that mark again this time.

    I'm a little more positive about 'The Lake' – review out in a few days 🙂

    Jo – No worries; very glad to spread the word 🙂

    I actually read 'The Lost Life' last year and would definitely recommend it. Different to the Glenroy stuff in some ways, but the style is the same once you get into it. I'm hoping to read his first few books this year (as long as the library has them!).


  4. I'm also participating in Austrialian Lit Month and given that, I'm thinking about doing the Aussie Author Challenge. I've signed a number of challenges this year. I want to heat up my reading and having some fun doing so. Happy New Year, Tony and enjoy your reading.


  5. My plan is to have no plan for 2012, except reading Guy's gifts and finish In Search of Lost Time.

    So I admire very much that you've already decided to participate to so many challenges. I'll follow your literary adventures and you may make me start reading Australian literature, who knows? (well in addition to the two Max Barry I have on the shelves)


  6. Kinna – Always glad to hear that people are planning to read some Oz-Lit – although it makes me feel guity that I still haven't read any African books 😦

    Caroline – I am sure it will be quite odd! It's one that I'd been thinking about buying for a while; then my wife saw it for $5, so that was it 😉

    Emma – No plan is a good plan 🙂 The key to successful challenges is to agree to read stuff you know you're going to read anyway 😉


  7. I've promised Gummie (Whispering Gums) to read some Aussie books this year, so that's on the goal list. More Balzac, more Trollope, more Simenon. I'd also like to get into David Goodis and Chandler this year.


  8. I forgot to say I will sign up for the Australian Literature challenge as well. I already showed Lisa my list and she approved. 🙂
    I did oversee my own name… Hmm … Are we, are we not doing it again …or maybe with a nice twist?


  9. Guy – Sounds like a good list 🙂 I'm very tempted to get some of my close blogging friends to give me some recommendations too (although that would make my schedule even more crowded!)

    Caroline – I hope that it will be back in some form in 2012!


  10. Joining the 6th edition of the Japanese challenge is also something I will not let pass. So is the German should there be another one. Sadly Australia is underrepresented in my shelf (for now).


  11. Rise – Always time to change that 🙂 Watch this space for plenty of Oz-Lit reviews this year!

    Shellyrae – I'm quietly confident that I'll end up reading more than enough to complete the challenges (probably enough for three separate challenges!).


  12. Tony: Book Around the Corner and I will open up the Virtual Gift Giving next Dec. But we'll have to tweak it as if ten people participate, you can't have 4 books to read from all ten people. Anyway we have a year to think about it.


  13. Hi Tony

    I'm finally making my way round to the blogs of people who have signed on for the Australian Women Writers challenge. Have you posted a reading list yet?

    I'm not sure of your preference, but there are plenty of great recommendations in all genres on the AWW website (via the tabs).

    I hope you'll ping @auswomenwriters on Twitter when you post your reviews. I look forward to seeing them.


  14. I'll be making it up as I go along! However, I do have three books out from the library, which I'll be reading and reviewing over the next month or so 🙂

    And of course I'll be posting the links on Twitter with the @auswomenwriters tag 😉


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