I was in my teens when the number of books arriving on my shelves began to outstrip the number of books I could read. I must have given away something like 30 boxes of the things over time but the bookstack keeps growing. Go figure. Sadly, since starting to work as an editor, I’ve found myself reading less and less for my own sake. That partly comes down to time management and partly because it feels like a busman’s holiday. I tried to get back into pleasure reading last year, with limited success, but the determination and effort it took was horrifying. Nevertheless, my intentions are to press on through 2023 in order to rebuild the habit and rediscover the pure joy of it.
Matthew Cavanagh recently posted a challenge on their blog to help people like me, frozen in the teetering shadows of our bookstacks, to start tackling them in a structured way, and that sounded like a damned fine idea.
Can I manage it? God knows. I still have to put time into earning money, into family time, into hobbies with my friends and whatnot. Time management, like I say. I shan’t tie myself to the ambitious stretch goals, but I’ll have a good go at the main event— and yes, I’ll write reviews of each book at The Fine-toothed Comb to help mark the journey.
So, what have we got in store, then?
January – End to end temptation: read your most recent book.
A murder mystery set during World War II, featuring a plucky female police consulting detective.
February – Short steps: read 28 short stories.
A collection of short stories by a friend, and an anthology of short stories which seek to reclaim queer villainy.
March – Fresh starts: read the first book of a series.
A highly-rated Chinese SF book which leaps from the cultural revolution into a future filled with nanotech and virtual realities.
April – Open and shut case: read a standalone book.
A slender but profound book from the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell that places us in an enigmatic and unique world.
May – Crowning glory?: read a book about revolution.
A second collection of interstitial short stories set during the epic events of the Shadows of the Apt series.
June – Longest nights: read the biggest book on the bookstack.
Collected mythological works from ancient Persia, recommended to me by my beloved sister-in-law.
July – Holidays are coming!: read a book from the author who lives farthest away.
A collection of short stories set in and around the Wellington area of New Zealand.
August – Holiday treats: read the book you most want to read.
A novel by one of my favourite people, released through one of my favourite publishers. Yoink.
September – Seven deadly tempts: read a book connected to the seven deadly sins.
Holmes meets Hellraiser. Is there anybody not gagging to read this?
October – Spooky season cometh: read a book with a spooky or dark theme.
A chilling little collection from the author of The Ritual and No One Gets Out Alive.
November – Small press, big stories: read an indie book.
A novelette of bereavement from a wonderful, sensitive and lyrical writer.
December – Don’t forget to say thank you: read a book someone gifted to you.
First of a new grimdark fantasy series by Joe Abercrombie. The Age of Madness has arrived.
What else have we got in store for the blog in 2023? I’ll be getting back to regular posts mixing up Personal stuff, Reviews, Creative pieces and Editing-related topics, but this will now be on a fortnightly basis rather than every week. There’s only so much time after all, and I have an increasing amount of work to do at the University.
That’s about it for now. Wishing you all the joy and contentment a New Year can bring.