A Year of Reading

When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food. Desiderius Erasmus

Wear the old coat and buy the new book. Austin Phelps

Ever since I first read Susan Hill’s account of her year-long read-a-thon in Howard’s End is on the Landing, I have yearned to do something similar. Though I rarely engage with, or commit to, New Year Resolutions, it occurred to me that perhaps 2015 might just be the perfect time to settle in to a long and comforting year of reading. And so I have devised a list of sorts, a kind of open-ended inventory of suggestions, names of novels I have been planning to read for some time now, a few of which are sitting on my bookshelf, or toppling vicariously upon night stands and wicker chairs and any other horizontal surface which might hold a book, or ten. (I try to rearrange them just before they reach the critical point of collapse – not good for the heart in the middle of the night!)

Anyway, the list that follows is nothing more than a set of ‘perhaps’ and ‘maybes’. My guiding rule for this year of reading is that I must enjoy the book, or if enjoy is too salubrious a word to describe the reading experience, then at least gain something worthwhile, something intellectually stimulating and pleasurable. Over the years I have often recalled the words of Marcel Proust admonishing his housekeeper when she told him that she read to forget, to which he replied she ought to read to remember. These words will, I hope, continue to guide my journey through the coming year. Who knows, perhaps I might even decide to re-read Proust’s In Search of Times Past.

Every reader finds himself. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument that makes it possible for the reader to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have seen in himself.  Marcel Proust

List of books to read in 2015:

[Note: As they are read a link will be attached to the review.]

We read to know we are not alone.  C.S. Lewis

  • The Persephone Book of Short Stories  ISBN-13: 978-1903155905
  • The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide, Picador, 2014 (translated by Eric Selland)
  • The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy
  • The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
  • Life of George Eliot by Nancy Henry ISBN-13: 978-1118917671
  • Private Life by Jane Smiley ISBN 13: 9780571258758
  • Sarah’s Key by Tatiana ISBN 13: 9780719524523
  • We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler ISBN13:9781781252956
  • Cat’s Eyes by Margaret Atwood ISBN 13: 9780385491020
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson ISBN 13: 9781844088805
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson ISBN 13: 9780312424404
  • Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson ISBN 13: 9780312424091
  • The Paying Guest by Sarah Waters ISBN 13: 9780349004365
  • Nora Webster by Colm Toibin ISBN 13: 9780670918140
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa ISBN 13:9780312427801
  • The Fatigue Artist by Lynne Sharon Schwartz ISBN 13: 9780684824680
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova ISBN 13: 9781849838429
  • The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls ISBN-13: 978-1844081820
  • When Women were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams
  • A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf
  • Eva Gore-Booth by Sonja Tiernan ISBN-13:978-0719082320
  • Eva Gore-Booth and Esther Roper by Gifford Lewis ISBN-13:978-0863581595
  • Elizabeth and her German Garden by Elizabeth Von Arnim
  • The Brontes by Juliet Barker
  • Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton
  • Precious Bane by Mary Webb
  • The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald ISBN-13:978-0006550198
  • Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life by Hermione Lee ISBN-13: 978-0099546597
  • To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  • Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  • Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life by Juliet Briggs ISBN-13:978-0713996630
  • Life Drawing by Robin Black
  • Eyrie by Tim Winton
  • Orkney by Amy Sackville
  • The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
  • The Still Point by Amy Sackville


Read, read, read.  William Faulkner

2 thoughts on “A Year of Reading”

  1. Great list. Good luck with getting them all read in 2015. 🙂

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