Monday 23 December 2019

2020 | Here We Come!

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Sometimes in this blogging life, the words just won't come.

I have several posts on the back burner waiting for inspiration, time and for the right words to appear. In the meantime, I will fill the gaps with housekeeping posts and lists.

Once upon a time, I used to join in a ridiculous amount of reading challenges.
I'd read books with colours in the titles, from every country around the world, or all the counties in England! I read by numbers, by lottery, in large groups and small. I filled out bingo cards and joined reading challenges to decrease my TBR pile, my classics pile, my Aussie author pile and my award winning books pile.

They were all fun at the time, even as I knew I had no chance whatsoever, in following through and completing them.

Over my decade of blogging, I've finally learnt what works for me and what doesn't.

Even though all those other challenges were fun, a great way of meeting other bloggers and working through my TBR pile, they ultimately made me feel guilty, obligated and bogged down by the end of the year.

I've learnt that I love:
  • a readalong. 
  • a slow read.
  • historical fiction and classics.
  • Australian lit, Japanese lit and award winning books.
  • memoirs, history and travel books.
  • cook books and my kids books.
  • rereading.

Which brings me nicely to my 2020 plans.

I will start the year with Sheila's First Book of the Year photo challenge which will include a picture of me with my next classic for Nick's slow read chapter-a-day readalong, War and Peace.

Together we've read, Les Miserables (very successfully), Don Quixote (less successfully - I bailed halfway through), The Count of Monte Cristo (another big success) and now we have War and Peace to look forward to.

This will be a reread for me.

I first read W&P in the Antipodean summer of 2001. I had just bought my first home and I spent all of the January school holidays either ploughing my way through W&P, painting, gardening or decorating my new home.

My edition was a 1942/1970 Sandstone Publishing one, translated and abridged (yikes! how did that slip by me at the time?) by Princess Alexandra Kropotkin. I raced through the 696 pages, skim reading a lot of it. I can now barely remember a thing.

Between now and January 1st, I will hunt out an edition that has the 361 chapters, as recommended by Nick, and a better translation. The Princess AK and I did not gel at all last time round.
Your recommendations for translations are greatly appreciated.

I will then read a Gen III AWW book for Bill in the middle of January. I haven't decided which one yet, but no doubt it will be one of my slimmer options! Maybe The Pea Pickers by Eve Langley, The Dye House by Mena Calthorpe or one of my Thea Astley's.

January is also the beginning of three months of reading Japanese Literature with Meredith.

I have so many options to chose from, I'm not sure where to even start! But I've been craving Murakami recently, so I may go there and I also a number of new releases that I wouldn't mind getting to whilst they are still new!

In February I will complete my own slow read readalong of Moby-Dick.
Now that I have (finally) learnt how to schedule tweets, I feel that the next readalong I host will feature a consistent quote tweeting strategy.

Whatever book I choose for my next hosted readalong, won't be until the second half of the year. Why, I hear you ask?
The reason why should become abundantly clear as you keep scrolling down!

March through to mid April is a One Hundred Years of Solitude Readalong with Ruth and Silvia.

For the life of me I cannot remember if it's this Marquez that I've read or Love in the Time of Cholera. I guess I will find out on the 6th March!

April, of course, is always saved for Fanda and her marvellous Zoladdiction month. I'm reading my way through the Rougon-Macquart series chronologically.

In 2020 I'm due to read the fourth book, La Conquête de Plassans.

July's reading commitment is for Lisa's Indigenous Literature Week early in the month. I plan to read one from my TBR pile and a new release.

However July is also Paris in July with Tamara, when I love to pull out a Maigret or two and maybe a Balzac.

I finish the year with my very own AusReadingMonth in November.

I do enjoy reading non-stop Aussie books for a month, but I find the blogging schedule exhausting. After talking with Meredith, I've been wondering if a more relaxed three month reading challenge would be easier on me, and also easier for people joining in all around the world.

What are your thoughts on an AusReadingSeason from September through to the end of November?

Naturally, new and unexpected reading opportunities will come up throughout the year.

I may try to use Rachel's History Reading Challenge to read The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company by William Dalrymple. A specific challenge may the only way to get through this chunkster in a timely fashion.

Rachel is also hosting a Wolf Hall Trilogy Readalong for those of us wanting to reread Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies before the final book, The Mirror and the Light is published in March.

I'm very, very tempted, except that my dance card is already pretty full for January and February!

Erica has created a Reading Classic Books Challenge for 2020.

  • Reading War and Peace will give me a classic over 500 pages and a book in translation. 
  • The Zola will be a classic that takes place in a country other than where you live.
  • My Gen III AWW book will count as a classic written by a woman. 
  • And no doubt my 2020 CC Spins will help me fill out a few more slots on her list.

Finally, my real life book group.
Our Jan/Feb read will be Marcus Zusak's Bridge of Clay and our March read is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

It's just as well I don't really join in reading challenges anymore!!


  1. What a fun and festive post. It brought a big smile to my face. I'm elated to see some read alongs we will do together. And both Marquez books I have read, but they are a bit mixed up in my head. This new read should be fabulous because we are seasoned readers and we'll compliment each other.

  2. I just can't resist a good challenge! You have some great stuff here. When I read W&P it was the Pevear/Volokhovsky translation, and I enjoyed it a lot. Even though I am not sure I love P/V. Now I really need to get on to writing a post about what I'm planning...

  3. Well that's a well planned year! I'm glad you'll be with us for AWW Gen 3 Week. The Pea Pickers is one of my favourite books of all time, but it won't be a quick read.

    I've just read W&P again, as an audiobook. I look forward to your reports.

    I don't usually do challenges though I've offered to participate in a Brothers Karamazov readalong with Melanie at GTL in the US.

    Your Aussie November caught me at just the right time this year and I had a great time filling in my card.

    All the best for the new year!

  4. Brona, I'm so glad you decided to join Reading Classic Books Challenge. If you haven't already don't forget to join the Goodreads group, so you can stay up to date

  5. You have carefully planned out your year. I am thinking...and thinking...and thinking...about War and Peace. I have not read it, on the plus side. I tried once, on the negative. I wonder if I could read a chapter a day next year.

    1. It truly is a great way to get through a challenging chunky book, although it failed to help me get all the through Don Quixote!

  6. Tossing and turning in my chair since I read this post.
    I've been having trouble getting into the reading mode after
    weeks of audio books and watching TV. My eyes are now firing from both cylinders
    and I'm ready to plan 2020.
    W&P...well I just listened to 61 hours 16 minutes of it, oops!
    #AUSReadingMonth 2020 Sept-Nov suits me just fine!
    I'm planning to read even MORE non-fiction next year and will
    join Rachel's Social Injustice and History Non-fiction Reading Challenge.
    These are new ones on my list. But wait, am I missing smth in your planning?
    Austen in August??? I hope to have my 2020 Challenges uploaded after Xmas.
    Have a wonderful Christmas Eve tonight!

    1. I miss Adam's Austen in August and thought I would just read an Austen regardless, but I do enjoy the camaraderie of a good readalong with like-minded souls to get me started and keep me going.

  7. Wow, what a lot of plans - they all sound good, especially the One Hundred Years of Solitude readalong (one of my favorite from university). I'm trying to avoid too many commitments myself this year, but your post does list a lot of temptations! Enjoy!

  8. Me, too (Amanda). I want to avoid too many commitments. But I am going to take a look at the Reading Classics Book Challenge. And I am committed to One Hundred Years...which I have to be. Excited to see you are interested, Brona.

  9. The War and Peace Readalong is tempting, though I am already working through Wolf Hall, so I can't join in. :(

    1. I'm still trying to work out how to fit in a reread of WH and BUTB before March, but I recall that my first read of WH was quite intense and took time and concentration to get into the rhythm....

  10. Ah, the War and Peace read-along is so tempting but I've read it before and I've been re-reading so much lately that it's preventing me from reading classics that I haven't read yet. Sigh! What to do?

    Here I've been saying that there are so few read-alongs compared to what used to be, but your post might have proven me wrong. Even One Hundred Years is tempting me and I usually don't go for such modern books.

    I still haven't decided exactly what I'm going to do. Another fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants year for me, I think!

    Wishing you all the best in 2020!

    1. A chapter a day for W&P makes it very easy to read other stuff around it. I've also been known to catch up on my weekly chapters in one binge reading session on Sunday morning. Nick is very relaxed about the whole thing, but manages to tweet quote every single day, to keep is inspired.

  11. After my experience with Anna Karenina last year, I knew I wanted to read W&P and when I saw your mention of the year-long readalong I was thrilled, so thanks!. And I have caught up to Moby Dick and I have you to thank for finally getting me to read it. I am also excited for Zoladdiction and One Hundred Years of Solitude. So I'll see you in the Internets a lot in 2020!

    1. That's fabulous news Laurie. Nick is VERY good at posting a tweet quote for his readalong every single day (not like me!!)


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