December Reading and Writing Plans

After a few months of geographical reading, which I hugely enjoyed and which I intend to continue in 2020, I am having a ‘free-form jazz’ December. I will read whatever I please whenever I please, no plans, no judgements, perhaps no reviews?

I’ve started with Shirley Jackon’s Raising Demons, because I instantly thought of her when I finished the Euridice Gusmao book – the talented woman beset by domestic drama scenario. I will also finish Austrian writer Gerhard Jäger’s All die Nacht über uns (The Night All Around Us). I started it last week for German Literature Month but have only reached page 66 so far (I love it, but it’s a book to be savoured slowly and besides, I had a very full weekend). The only other book that I have lying on my bedside table and fully expect to pick up this month is The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuiness, because it will be 30 years this month since my generation (predominantly) brought down the Communist regime in Romania. As a side note, there’s a conference on this topic in Bucharest on the 21st of December that I’ve been invited to attend, but it’s too much of a logistical challenge. I’ll try to send a filmed contribution instead with the title: Thirty Years On: Illusory Revolutions?

Meanwhile, it’s only two weeks and a bit to go until I will be back in my beloved Genevois area, hunkering down to a lot of reading and writing, eating chocolates and fondue, and meeting some lovely old friends. I will probably buy some more books (on the French side of the border), so am travelling light on my way there, with just my Kindle, which contains a lot of goodies. For example, Will Dean’s Red Snow and Friederike Schmöe’s Drauß’ vom Walde – two crime thrillers set in snowy landscapes (Sweden and Germany respectively). I also have new books (even if they are not that new, but I simply haven’t got around to reading them yet) by authors whose career I like to follow, such as Lily King, Jenny Offill, Attica Locke, Deborah Levy, Valeria Luiselli, Yoko Ogawa… so plenty to keep me busy.

In terms of blogging, well I can’t let the end of the decade go by without at least attempting some personal literary (and perhaps film or theatre) highlights, so expect a few blog posts with ‘best of’ in their title. It’s been quite possibly the worst decade in my life, but even so there have been many happy moments and achievements. Happiness has been skiing, living in mountain country for a while and finally getting a cat, the perfect cat. And my main two achievements have been: returning to writing (after more than a decade in the wilderness) and even having some small things published here and there; and raising two intelligent, opinionated, occasionally lovable scamps.

Stock photo, taken from insurance website. Creator:yanik88
Credit:Getty Images/iStockphoto

12 thoughts on “December Reading and Writing Plans”

  1. It sounds as though you have lovely travel plans, Marina Sofia! I hope you’ll really enjoy yourself. And I think you’re being wise about making sure there’s enough room in your luggage for a couple of books… I like the idea of ‘free form’ reading, too. I’ve been doing that, myself, lately. I hope you’ll make time to tell us what you think when you’re finished.

    1. We all need to escape the constraints, even the self-imposed ones, from time to time, don’t we? Hope you are enjoying all the holidays that have just been or are about to come up…

  2. I don’t blame you in the slightest, Marina. As a regular reader (and admirer) of your blog, I’m aware you’ve been through some very difficult times but, nonetheless, you’ve defiantly continued to produce wonderful posts (for which I thank you). If it makes you feel any easier, the entirety of 2019 has been a year of “free-form jazz” reading for me. Sometimes you simply need to fill your life with unpredictable joys and cerebral pleasures – leave the complicated stuff for another time. Go girl!

    1. That is so lovely of you to say – thank you for the encouragement! I think my brain has just not coped very well with anything complicated this November, but I needn’t punish myself about it, you are absolutely right.

  3. I do hope you will give us some occasional reviews. I’ve put Julia Franck and Nino Haratischwili on my reading list thanks to you – and these are just two of the benefits of reading your blog. Wishing you all the best for the weeks ahead, and that the next decade bring you more happiness and more achievements!

    1. Well, you have a bad effect on my book buying budget as well, so we’re even! Yes, I will continue reviewing a bit. Am just starting a review of Shirley Jackson’s domestic writings now…

  4. Shame you can’t make Bucharest. I assume your video contribution will be in Romanian but wondered if you’d be able to do an English voiceover version for us monolinguals? It would be interesting to hear your perspective.

    Have a great break and don’t buy tooooooooooo many books…

  5. There is no shopping in Lyon scheduled in all this, is there?

    I hope the next decade is better, even if it’s the one when the two scamps leave home…

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