Now that we are well into the new year I thought I would take some time to speculate on what I hope to read over the whole year. For the past two years I have indulged myself with various official Reading Challenges, though I only sign up for one or two. I just use them as ideas for books. This year I will only try and follow one of these Reading Challenges – the Australian Women Writers Challenge. I started this last year and enjoyed all three books I read. This year I hope to read at least three more books, preferably by writers new to me. I do not intend to sign up for this challenge, but merely use it as a guide for choosing some books.
Other than this the rest of my reading challenges will be self selected. The main one is to read more non fiction. I am an avid follower of politics and current affairs and have a life-long interest in history, so I am a bit surprised that I haven’t read more in these fields. In part I can excuse myself in that I do read a lot online and in magazines about politics and current affairs. But that is no real excuse. So this year I intend to read a minimum of one non fiction book per month. Does not sound very ambitious, but it is a minimum, and non fiction books do tend to be quite long and often require more thoughtful reading than fiction. Still, a start is a start.
As regards the world of fiction, I read a lot of crime novels, as the ones I read tend to be much more than simple who-dunnits. So, I will probably still read more crime novels than any other genre, but even here I intend to spread my wings a bit and explore crime writers from other parts of the world. I have already read one by a Hungarian writer and have on my shelf books from Kenya and Malaysia. So a start has been made. However I do want to extend my reading horizons a bit by reading some more non crime fiction. This year may be the year to start revisiting some of the classics from the past.
The other specific challenge I have set myself is to read one book per month in Spanish. I have already read my quota for this month, so again a good start has been made. The difficulty with Spanish books is getting the damned things. Bookshops in Dundee are not known for their wide selection of books in other languages. The Library does have a small Spanish language section, but very few of them have really tempted me. Buying books in Spanish can be rather expensive, even with Amazon. I also will need to start keeping up to date with developments in novel writing in Spanish to help me choose which books to read. Otherwise I may end up only reading crime novels in Spanish.
An important part of my reading experience over the last few years has been via audio books. I am a great fan of this medium. But, a bit like books in other languages, there is a distinct lack of supply. The main library has but one shelving area devoted to audio books, compared to the hundreds devoted to the printed word. So, I find I am getting pretty close to having read all the audio books in the library that interest me. And the expense of buying audio books is even greater than buying a book in Spanish! So, I will be keeping a close eye on how many audio books I manage to read this year. Good reading and listening to everyone.