Reading Plans for First Third of 2021

While it is true that I didn’t get to read as much as I planned in the September-December time-frame, I found that having a bit of a plan for the final quarter of the year (or third, to be precise) did give me additional motivation. 2021 doesn’t look like it will be any less busy, but I will repeat this reading planning model for January-April. Of course, I keep it fairly flexible, allowing myself to add random books that capture my fancy, or offer me the thrill of transgression without being too constrained by the rules. Most of these books are on my shelves already, so that gets rid of my ‘far too many unread books’ concerns.

January = January in Japan

I have already read Tokyo Ueno Station but intend to reread parts of it for reviewing. I also plan two further rereads: two of my favourite Japanese books of all time – Dazai Osamu’s Ningen Shikkaku in a new translation and Mishima Yukio’s The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (it was the first novel that I read in the original Japanese all the way through back in my student days). I also intend to read some more by Tshushima Yuko (Dazai’s daughter). The Shooting Gallery is a collection of her short stories. I’ll also read short stories by Higuchi Ichiyo, one of the first professional women writers of Japan, who described the plight of the working classes.

February = Canada

In Canada it will still be lovely and wintry weather in February – real winter, with pure white snow and skiing. Perhaps nicer to read about than to live through it. So I have a nice selection of Canadian authors to hand. Dorian Stuber has been trying to get all his bookish Twitter friends to read Marian Engel’s Bear, so I’ll finally do him the favour! Carol Shields’ Mary Swann is about a latter-day Emily Dickinson who is killed soon after handing her manuscripts over to an editor – and becomes a bit of a posthumous sensation. I love Anne Carson as a poet and look forward to reading some of her essays as well in Plainwater. Inger Ash Wolfe is the crime writing pseudonym of author Michael Redhill, in case I feel the need for a bit of lighter reading. Last but not least, the only French language writer I seem to have from Canada on my shelves is Mathieu Boutin L’Oreille absolue, about two violonists, one young and ambitious, the other midlle-aged and depressed.

March = Drama All the Way

Scene from a production of The Holiday Game at the Maria Filotti Theatre in Braila, Sebastian’s home town.

This month will pave the ground for the next month, so I will be reading plays. Something I very rarely do nowadays, although I was very keen on reading (and performing) plays back in my late teens. I will reread The Holiday Game by Mihail Sebastian (which I am hoping to translate at some point if a friendly publisher decides it’s worth pursuing), as well as two Austrian favourites Arthur Schnitzler and Ödön von Horvath. Last but not least, something by Noel Coward, who also falls roughly into that time period. Which time period, you ask? Why, the one that I will be immersed in for April… If there is time, I might revisit Oscar Wilde’s plays, all of which I adored as a teenager, even Salome, which is less well-known.

April = #1936Club

The reading club dedicated to one specific year of publishing only lasts a week, but I intend to extend my reading to the whole month. The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted that Mihail Sebastian’s play was written that year (although not performed until 1938 – very briefly), and that Horvath also had two plays that appeared that year. Additionally, I also intend to read Max Blecher’s Occurence in the Immediate Unreality, Karel Capek’s War with the Newts and Mircea Eliade’s Miss Cristina, all published in 1936 and all East European. If I have time, I’d also like to read a book about Mihail Sebastian (a novel rather than a biography) by Gelu Diaconu, entitled simply Sebastian.

15 thoughts on “Reading Plans for First Third of 2021”

    1. There’s no escaping that mad bear. Actually, I had that and a couple of other books by Marian Engel on my shelves before Dorian started preaching. I found them cheap second-hand outside the big Waterstones on Gower Street and I’d heard about her feminist work, so thought I might like her.

  1. I really like the way you’ve put your plan together, Marina Sofia! It’s nicely planned, but still allows you to adapt as you wish. I also like that each month has a focus. I think that helps to keep one on target. I’ll be looking forward to your reviews.

    1. I do quite like having a bit of a theme each month. It makes me notice connections, common themes, almost as if the books are in conversation with each other.

  2. I’ve not done very well each time I try to plan what I’m going to read next – maybe I’ll try again this year with just a few books and allowing for flexibility and spur of the moment choices. It might work …

    I must read Mary Swann – I’ve loved the other books by Carol Shields that I’ve read – too long ago, well before I began blogging.

  3. I don’t do planning for my reading, but appreciate that others are more organised. I particularly look forward to reading about your Japanese choices.

  4. What an interesting list and a couple have definitely caught my eye! I might avoid ‘Bear’ though as just read this review… 😂

    2.0 out of 5 stars It’s kinda abusive to bears, innit?
    Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 January 2018
    Verified Purchase
    I can’t look at bears the same way since. Or librarians.
    2 people found this helpful

    1. Of course – and I know I had another volume of his plays, but for some reason cannot find it on my shelves. Maybe I’ve shelved it wrong – not with the Austrians/Germans?

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