Reading Resolutions

Happy New Year!

That’s 2015 done and dusted, here’s to 2016 and let’s hope it’s filled with love and laughter, friends and fun, books and cake. And really, that’s about as far as my resolutions go but I do have a few projects in mind for the coming year and beyond.

This year there are two anniversaries I want to celebrate. The first is the two hundredth anniversary of Charlotte Bronte’s birth on 21st April.

Jane Eyre is one of my most favourite stories of all and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read it over the years. I’ll be re-reading it yet again come April, but before then I plan to read the other three novels Charlotte wrote starting with Shirley this month. I’m quite keen to read the new Claire Harman biography of Charlotte Bronte too at some point.

The other anniversary is that of Shakespeare’s death 400 years ago on 23rd April. I’ve finally admitted to myself that reading the same half dozen plays over and over isn’t the same as having read all the plays. This year I will endeavour to add some new ones to my list, although I’m still probably going to start with The Winter’s Tale as a warm up exercise… 
I’ve also vowed to read more Alexandre Dumas this year because his stories thrill me now as ever. The rush of excitement from a mixture of historical setting, intrigue, swashbuckling heroes and bloody brilliant female characters is so very often what I want and what Dumas so often provides. I also want to read the biography of his father that came out not that long ago, The Black Count by Tom Reiss. A decent biography of Dumas himself would be welcome, if anyone knows of one.

More general reading aims are to be more aware of who I’m reading. The Diverse December campaign has grown into Read Diverse 2016. Naomi at The Writes of Women and Dan at From Inside the Dog are continuing their campaign to get people to be more thoughtful and wide-ranging in choosing the books they read, and highlighting the work of BAME and LGBT authors. I read far more women than men, but the overwhelming majority are white women. Reading is what I do for pleasure, even if I do it compulsively – therefore I will only read what I want. But what I want are stories that engage and absorb me, that wrap me in their magic and live inside me and I don’t want to miss out on stories I might love because I forget to look around a little harder. Seeking out new authors to adore is fun; this year I want to do it with more awareness of whose voices I’m hearing.

More than anything, this year I will read because I love reading. I need to cram stories into my head and my heart no less now than I did as a child. Reading isn’t something I do as a worthy exercise or to improve myself. I consume stories because I don’t know how not to and have no interest in finding out. And now I’m off to read a book!

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