In 2016 I had this big goal of re-reading 25 books.
This, of course, was a follow up to my successful year of exploring new (to me) literature in 2015. I had been feeling a little glum about my lack of quality time with my books and my abundance of attention to that glowing sheet of glass in my living room, and so I decided to dive headlong into a focused, goal-based reading effort.
I read 25 books of varying quality over twelve months. That may sound minor to some folks who read two or three times that many, but (a) I don’t actually have an abundance of spare time in my life at the moment and (b) some of those books were actually hellu-big books: Moby Dick, Anna Karenina, etc.
It worked out really well. I read a lot more. I found a few new favourites. And I got some inspiration for new kinds of reading I’ve since pursued.
So, y’know… I thought I’d do that again in 2016… but with a twist, because why not mess with something that’s working, right? I decided to spend 2016 RE-reading books I’d read in my past. Going back to novels I knew and remembered loving for one reason or another. Re-reading them and seeing if I could uncover anything new or exciting about them. Reviewing. Indulging in past pleasures. Sipping from old memories.
The short version of that story: it flopped… because re-reading the crap I read ten years ago turned out to be boring and predictable and uninspiring for the continued effort it demanded. Zzzzzzz…. So I stopped. Phhhftt!
This year plugged on, me reading –or not really actually nearly as much– and while I’ve been picking my way through a random collection of other books, haphazardly, unfocused, sadly, since dropping the effort of trying to hit that 25-mark goal, I’ve since only finished about three novels.
Distraction, and lack of focus, mostly are to blame. Whatever… it’s just reading. Books. Life goes on, right?
But now that 2017 is on the horizon, well, I thought I’d try again: jump back in… try to find some of that focus that seemed to work so well in 2015. So, starting today, December 1 (not as weird as you might think) I’m kicking off another year of reading. My Big Book Queue: twenty-five (yet to be determined) novels to read over the course of 2017.
3. 2. 1… go!… go? Uh…
Wait. Right. Rules! The rules?
Nope. Damn the rules. That worked out so well in 2016.
Actually there’s just one this time: it can’t be a book I’ve read, or tried to read, or listened to, or seen the movie of, or whatever. It’s just gotta be something new. It can be by the same author. It can be a sequel to another book I just read. I might even triple up and read a trilogy. It’s just gotta be a book I’ve never cracked before now.
That leaves a lot of wiggle room.
I’m also going to spare you the post-game over-analysis (that no one really read anyhow) so I’ll be writing approximately one post about each: not two or three like last time…. just a single mini-review when I finish each to let you know what I thought, and a note about the next book in my queue.
Read along if you want. Now you can say it: GO!
To kick things off I’ve chosen an older novel.
This is what I know: It’s a book about middle age and the disconnect between one man and his place in his world. It’s an English translation of a German novel. It is a novel that has been often re-interpreted, often misinterpreted, and was the inspiration for a few other modern classics as well as some music and a whole actual band name in the 70s. It’s called Steppenwolf: A Novel by Hermann Hesse and it’s book number one in my Big Book Queue for 2017.