I wasn’t going to make any reading resolutions for 2008, or at least not any major ones — what’s the point of being free from award-submission reading if I can’t go where my whims take me for a while, after all? But then I came across Larry’s post, and while not everything he says goes for me (I definitely don’t want to review at least 50 books in 2008; maybe more like 30), most of it does. Additional to those, then, I’ll add:
1. Read The Baroque Cycle. This is the sort of thing I’ll never get around to reading unless I make a project of it, not because I don’t want to read it — I badly do — but because it’s so big that I’ll want to wander off and read something shorter half-way through. But if I say, up front, that I’m going to read The Baroque Cycle this year, I might actually manage it.
2. Read A Suitable Boy. Back when I started seeing the ever-radiant Nic (yes, of Eve’s Alexandra fame), we agreed that we would each read five books that the other recommended. She’s read most of mine; I’m way behind. In my defense, this is because one of her picks is this, Vikram Seth’s 1500-page opus, forced on me in a second-hand bookshop when I dared express a preference for short books. As of May, my excuse for not reading it will expire, so if I suddenly fall silent sometime that month, you’ll know why.
3. Catch up on my YA reading. I’ve accumulated quite a little pile of YA titles over the past eighteen months or so — Octavian Nothing, The Green Glass Sea, Flora Segunda, Life As We Knew It, How I Live Now — and this seems like a good time to finally get around to reading them. Plus, they should be nice an d quick, which will balance out the Seth/Stephenson effect.
4. Read for parallax. I’ve been playing around with ideas of what books I want to write about here. I suspect most of my reviews of new sf titles will go to other places — Vector, Strange Horizons, NYRSF and Foundation. What I think I want to do here is, on the one hand, short fiction, and on the other, clusters of books that I haven’t read before but that (in theory) resonate in some way. So, for example, I might do a climate change binge including some or all of JG Ballard’s The Drowned World, George Turner’s The Sea and Summer, Mary Rosenblum’s Water Rites, Maggie Gee’s The Flood, TC Boyle’s A Friend of the Earth, and Stephen Baxter’s (forthcoming) Flood. (What’s the first climate change novel? Do we count The Kraken Wakes?)
All-in, I think I’m going to aim for about 60 books in 2008; I find that reading at the rate I’ve been doing for the past couple of years doesn’t leave enough time for thinking, let alone writing. But we’ll see how it goes.