I am committed, folks, to making it all the way to April this time round. Of course, last year I found The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction on the New Books Shelves at the library in late January and mentally said the hell with any silly dares that might require me not to start such a book immediately, but this year, this year I have a strategy: I will not take casual strolls through the New Book Shelves, or at least not on a daily basis, and particularly not when I'm bored.
Plus, I have caveats: Book club choices, anything to do with Iceland and Scotland that I might need to absorb before traveling there midyear, anything already preordered from a library or a store that has yet to make its way into my hands. That means I get to read the new George Saunders, the new Liz Jensen, and possibly, the new Kate Atkinson, if the universe decides to play nice for a change and send my autographed copy early, which I doubt it will, knowing the universe like I do.
Otherwise, all reading between now and April falls under the dictates of the TBR Double Dog Dare and my Eschew the New! guiding principles. I'm reading what's already in the stockpile and ignoring the rest.
I spent New Year's Day rereading Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions (a high school favorite) and started Anthony Trollope's The Eustace Diamonds over the weekend. (I should have read Phineas Finn first, I know, but I'll have to loop back for it.)
I have some book club commitments after that, but then its on to Brazzaville Beach, a book I've wanted to read ever since I read a local review for it back in 1990. Back in those days, I was too poor to buy but a scant few of the books desired and online library holds didn't exist; this book and I never crossed paths. And now I've had a stockpiled copy for eight years. Time to read it.
On New Year's Day I was still trying a psychic mind trick on the universe that would grant me a mulligan for the entire month of November, which I'm still harboring a few issues over missing, but now that that's obviously failed, I'm willing to move on. Forward!
2013! Nothing against you personally, but I'm going to do my best to ignore most of what you have to offer me until 2014, because I really need a catch-up year where my reading is concerned. It's going to be Eschew the New until the cows come home on December 31, 2013.
I'm also horrified by how little nonfiction I read last year and would love to read at least 15 from the list below: Payback. Margaret Atwood The Way the World Works. Nicholson Baker How to Live, or A Life of Montaigne. Sarah Bakewell The Passage of Power. Robert A. Caro At Day's Close: Night in Times Past. A. Roger Ekirch Debt: The First 5,000 Years, David Graeber The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. Stephen Greenblatt Why Orwell Matters. Christopher Hitchens Votes for Women. The Virago Book of Suffragettes. Joyce Marlow, ed. Destiny of the Republic. Candice Millard The Return of the Chaos Monsters - And Other Backstories of the Bible. Gregory Mobley The Map of My Dead Pilots. Colleen Mondor A Collection of Essays. George Orwell Nixonland. Rick Perlstein Monster of God. David Quammen The Song of the Dodo. David Quammen Spillover. David Quammen Iceland: Land of the Sagas. David Roberts Hallucinations. Oliver Sacks The Braindead Megaphone. George Saunders Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded. John Scalzi The Life of Elizabeth I. Alison Weir The Essential Rebecca West. The New Meaning of Treason. Rebecca West A Train of Powder. Rebecca West The Essays of Virginia Woolf, v. 6