All of last week I’ve been catching up with reviews of books that I read in December and over the holidays, but what are my reading plans going forward?
Initially, I was going to take it easy in 2017. I dropped my Goodreads challenge to 120. [Yes, it sounds like a lot, but I’ve been reading between 155-180 for the last few years.]
The physical and electronic TBR piles are intimidating – almost a health hazard! So I’ve joined the TBR Double Dare Challenge of reading only from the books I already own for the first 3 months of the year. After single-handedly subsidising the publishing industry for the past 4 years, I resolve to buy no new ones for several months. Of course, that doesn’t include books I receive for review on Crime Fiction Lover and other sites, but no more novelties or even ARCs on my own blog.
I’ve already cheated slightly, following the death of John Berger. I remembered how much I enjoyed his Pig Earth when it was on my reading list for anthropology, but I didn’t own it, so… Well, it’s not my fault that he died just after the 1st of January, is it?
So those were my only plans, on the vague side of the spectrum. But then some ambition woke up in me. The year that Britain triggers Article 51 would be a good year to read a book from every member country of the EU, I decided. Especially following the resignation of the UK’s ambassador to the EU amidst the frankly frightening cries of ‘traitor! pessimist! how dare you tell us that it might be complicated?’ (I’ve heard it all before in another country, but I never thought I would hear it here.)
27 sounds manageable, right? I’m excluding the UK, because obviously I’ll be reading plenty of home-grown authors anyway. A few of these books are sitting on my bookshelves already, while others will require a bit of research. Here is what I have to date, with gaps where I have nought. Also, some suggestions in italics and with question marks, in the hope I might be able to track them down in libraries and keep costs down.
Austria Arthur Schnitzler: Später Ruhm
Belgium Patrick Delperdange: Si tous les dieux nous abandonnent
Bulgaria Ilija Trojanow: Macht und Widerstand
Croatia Miljenko Jergovic: The Walnut Mansion
Czechia [sic?] Ivan Klima: Lovers for a Day
Denmark Inger Christensen: Poetry?
Estonia Sofi Oksanen – she is officially Finnish, but has an Estonian mother and writes about Estonian history?
Finland Kati Hiekkapelto: The Exiled
France Romain Gary: La vie devant soi – or can I get away with claiming that he is Lithuanian (born in Vilnius)?
Germany Sascha Arango: The Truth and Other Lies
Greece Nikos Kazantzakis: The Last Temptation (reread, unless I find something new)
Hungary Miklós Bánffy: They Were Counted
Ireland Davy Byrnes Story Awards 2009
Italy Andrea Camilleri: Rounding the Mark
Latvia Inga Abele sounds interesting, not sure if she’s been translated?
Luxembourg Jean Portante?
The Netherlands Gerard Reve: The Evenings?
Poland Andrzej Stasiuk: On the Road to Babadag
Portugal Fernando Pessoa: The Book of Disquiet
Romania Ileana Vulpescu: Arta compromisului
Slovenia Goran Vojnovic: Yugoslavia, My Fatherland
Spain Javier Marias: Dance and Dream (Your Face Tomorrow Vol. 2)
Sweden Liza Marklund: Last Will
Any suggestions would be gratefully received! And if you want to join in (with your own selection of books, of course, these are just the ones I happen to have to hand), please let me know in the comments below. If there are enough of us who want to do it, I might set up a separate linky. We have all year to do it, so that’s a leisurely book a fortnight. Or, even better: I see no reason why we might not meander over into 2018, very much like the EU disentanglement process itself.