Friday 4 December 2020

2021 Here We Come!


2020 was the year of many things. Some planned and expected, like the War and Peace chapter-a-day readalong. But many things unexpected and impossible to plan for as well. 

Who knew that Plague-Lit would become a thing? 

Or that I would waste one whole perfectly good reading month by feeling weird and distracted about a certain virus to the point of being unable to read or blog or focus on anything productive except for another 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle!

How can 2021 possibly compare?

2021 will still be a year dominated by Covid-19 - it's not going anywhere in a hurry folks. Any new vaccine will take time to get out there and there are no guarantees about mutations or other unknowns. I cannot see any overseas travel on our immediate horizon. Even inter-state travel is fraught with uncertainty and quickly changing border rules.

2021 is looking like another quiet, stay-close-to-home year. Which is perfect for tackling some of those reading projects I've been meaning to get to for ages.

Therefore 2021 will be Project-Read-My-Own-Books (PRMOB).

A number of possible reading challenges have already come to my attention and I am creating two of my own.

  1. The Hilary Mantel Wolf Hall Readalong: Feb - May 2021
  2. The Edith Trilogy Readalong: Oct - Dec 2021

Nick @One Catholic Life is once again hosting his now-famous chapter-a-day readalong. This year we are reading several different books to make up the 365 chapters. 

The schedule looks like this:

  • The Divine Comedy: January 1 to April 10 (100 cantos, or chapters= 100 days)
  • Quo Vadis: April 11 to June 23 (73 chapters and an epilogue = 74 days)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: June 24 to August 21 (59 chapters)
  • David Copperfield: August 22 to October 24 (64 chapters = 64 days)
  • The Three Musketeers: October 25 to December 31 (67 chapters and an epilogue = 68 days)
I only own two of these books -The Hunchback and DC. Which is perfect for filling in the gap between my two proposed reading projects! David Copperfield will be a reread, but since I last read it in 1988, I'm sure it will be like reading it anew.

Nick is also about to embark on a 4 year odyssey with lucky Jack Aubrey aboard the HMS Surprise. Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander series, or the Aubreyad, is one of my all-time favourites. I first read the series around 2003, when the movie starring Russell Crowe was released. It took me several years to complete, finishing with a huge nautical themed party hosted by my book club! (The series was not a group read, but each meeting, for about three or four years, I began with my Jack update. We all felt it was worth celebrating, with a big HUZZAH, at the end.)

I have no idea if I will be able to keep to Nick's schedule and read the other stuff I want to read, so I will pencil the books in for now and cross my fingers!

What does my reading year ahead look like?
A little like this.

December 2020:

  • Tarissa @In the Bookcase: A Literary Christmas 
    • The Tailor of Gloucester | Beatrix Potter (1902)
    • Christmas at High Rising | Angela Thirkell (2013 - a collection of stories written during the 1930's & 40's and published together for the first time by Virago)
    • Plus a few assorted Christmas cook books
  • CC Spin #25
      • My Love Must Wait | Ernestine Hill (1941)

    January 2021:


    • Wolf Hall | Hilary Mantel (2009) | reread


    • Post Captain | Patrick O'Brian (1972)
    • Bring Up the Bodies | Hilary Mantel (2012) | reread


    • Zoladdiction Month with Fanda @ClassicLit 
      • The Sin of Father Mouret | La Faute de l'Abbé Mouret (1875)
    • 1936 Club with Simon & Kaggsy, 12 - 18th April
      • All that Swagger | Miles Franklin (1936)





    • The Mauritius Command | Patrick O'Brian (1977)
    • David Copperfield | Charles Dickens (1850) | reread



    • Desolation Island | Patrick O'Brian (1978)
    • Grand Days | Frank Moorhouse (1993) | reread


    • AusReading Month
      • Dark Palace | Frank Moorhouse (2000) | reread
    • Non-Fiction November
    • Novellas in November
    • German Literature Month
    • Margaret Atwood Reading Month
      • Hagseed (2016)


    • Cold Light | Frank Moorhouse (2011)
    January 2022:
    • First Book of the Year with Sheila 
      • The Fortune of War | Patrick O'Brian (1979)

    The Hilary Mantel Wolf Hall Readalong: Feb - May 2021
    • I read Wolf Hall in 2011 and Bring Up the Bodies in 2012.
    • 2021 will make it nine years since I read the first two books. 
    • Before reading the final instalment, I want to revisit the first two, to refresh my memory and to see if I still love them as much as I did the first time. 
    • I would be delighted if anyone would like to join me on this journey back in time to Tudor England.
    • #WolfHallReadalong2021

    The Edith Trilogy Readalong
    : Oct - Dec 2021
    • I first read Grand Days and Dark Palace in my late twenties and adored them, particularly Edith and everything about her.
    • I reread GD in 2006 and sadly found that somehow Edith and I had gone our separate ways. 
    • The books ended up in the big book cull of 2007 as I prepared to move from the country to the city.
    • But then in 2011, Moorhouse published the final, long-awaited book in the trilogy and I knew straight away that I wasn't done with Edith after all.
    • This trilogy has been patiently waiting to be read complete since 2011.
    • If you have a hankering for the League of Nations or would like to read a book set in Canberra and the ACT for AusReading Month, then Cold Light is the book for you!
    • Who's in?
    • #TheEdithReadalong2021


    1. Oke, thanks for this quickscan of 2021 projects!
      I will take note of some of your challenges for 2021.
      I want to plan, plan, and plan some I don't fall
      into months of a reading dip (see: 2020 March-April-May)
      PS: may I copy/paste your monthly template? #JustAsking

      1. Of course you can Nancy!
        I’ve just realised I forgot to add my cc spin book for dec/jan - too late at night here now to fire up my laptop again.
        Will update tomorrow morning 😊

      2. Oke, have a good night...and I will start my day
        making reading lists for 2021!

    2. That's most impressive organisation! And glad you'll be joining us for 1936! I hope to do a lot more reading of the books I already own over the Christmas period and carry that on into 2021 - we shall see! :D

      1. I have some serious book stacks going on around my home Kaggsy that really need to be addressed! I'm hoping by actually committing to a few of them for known reading events that I will stick to it.
        I do have to read new releases for work, but the plan is they will fit in and around the schedule. Given I usually read about 7-10 a month, I should have hit upon a do-able approach :-)

    3. You're so organised! Good idea though to keep a note of all those reading months since they get me by surprise every time and then I'm scrambling to find something to read that would fit..Or I take on too many like I did in November.

      I'm curious about Paris in July with Tamara. Is she a blogger? I've not come across this themed month before but it sounds interesting

      1. Like you, I always find myself scrambling to find a book to join in my favourite book events each year. I've decided 2021 will be different!!
        I've now added the link to Tamara's final Paris in July post for this year, so you can see it too Karen. It started as an Australian blogger, in the middle of winter, pining for warmer more exotic climes. For the first few years, it was mostly Aussie bloggers, but we now boast participants all around the world, including a few French speaking and/or resident bloggers.
        It's really lovely as it's not just books, but music, movie, food, fashion, ideas, holiday memories etc. Hope you can join us next year :-)

    4. Oh my, what a great year, Brona!

      1. I figure it has to be better than this one Laurie!!

    5. I loved reading about your plans! I’m thinking of joining you for Hillary Mantel, and Nick for The Hunchback of Norte Dame, David Copperfield, and The Three Musketeers. I have been wanting read the last one, especially, and like you, I only own those three (although you said two). I’m off to see what the Anne Tyler read is about; she’s one of my favorite authors. Thanks for posting all of this (ambitious!) list.

      1. I tend to read 7-10 books a month Meredith, mostly new releases for work though. This is helping me attack my stacks by scheduling some of the books I REALLY want to read - the new releases will just have to fit in and around them now :-)

      2. We cannot let the books we REALLY want to read slide by.☺️

      3. Hi Meredith, I would love to have you join in my AT readalong, feel free to dip in and out or do the whole lot with me (wonder if anyone will). I can't wait!

    6. Shockingly organized... ;-) ...I'm going to have bookmark this post.

      I might join in for the Cromwell trilogy. We'll see! I read the first two a while back and wanted to reread them before finishing up as well. That's the time of year we like to travel, but, uh.

      I'd never heard of the Edith trilogy. Looking at Wikipedia it sounds interesting.

      1. Would love to have your company for the Mantel trilogy as well Reese :-)

    7. It's nice that you confidently put aside April for Zoladdiction month! <3 I guess you know me too well that I won't skip Zoladdiction no matter how hectic I'd be in the other 11 months. Yay for Zola!!

      1. Exactly. Yay for Zola! Now that I am committed to reading the Rougon-Macquart series in chronological order, the only way I will make it is by setting aside April every year to do so. I hate to tell you this Fanda, but you will need to host Zoladdiction for another 15 yrs :-D

      2. No pressure, indeed! :))

    8. Oke...I'll join you in the Edith Trilogy (it is THE only exception I'm making in 2021 reading voices of color!) You know I'm terrible in read-a-longs
      (...remember the #HLOTreadalong2107? I do! I was exhausted after that!)
      so I will need sb to guide me with a ster and compelling voice (you) to get me through this! But as Joseph Conrad says ( favorite motto) "Facing it, always facing it, that's the way to get through. Face it!"

      1. Need a hashtag!

      2. Ooops. I used the hashtags on the twitter post, but not here.
        Now rectified, thank you Nancy :-)

    9. Wolf Hall has been on my TBR list for a long time and a readalong may be just what I need to tackle it. I didn't realize there was a Margaret Atwood Reading month. She is a favorite of mine any month!

      1. You've just remined me Mary, that I was going to go back and put in the 2020 links for things like Marg Atwood Reading Month, so any newbies could easily find them and join in.
        Hope you can join us :-)

    10. Wow, I'm famous now! Thanks for spreading the word, Brona! Let me just add that there is a super-secret special reason to read The Three Musketeers this year which will be revealed around August or September of 2021, so I invite everyone to consider at least reading that one! :-) Also, stay tuned for another big reading challenge announcement coming on December 7, 2020! Thanks again!

      1. Ohhhh now you've got me intrigued Nick!
        I think I have The Three Muskateers on my ipad reader, but the back end of my reading year is pretty hectic already, so didn't want to commit just in case. Which isn't a definite 'no' either :-)

    11. Blogger hates my phone. I've commented a couple of times and Blogger has refused my email address (to which it sends notifications) and refused my comment. So I've had to break out the laptop.
      I look forward to My Love Must Wait. I'll be reviewing The Timeless Land for AWW Gen 3/II Week. Really looking forward to The Pea Pickers, my favourite novel. Let me know when it's ready so I can simultaneously re-post it.

      1. Yes most (i)phones, use Safari as the default browser. Blogger, being a Google product prefers it when you use the chrome or google app to open blogs. Although I have trouble on my phone with all blogs. I prefer to leave comments when I'm on my laptop, especially if I want to write more than one line.
        I've just started My Love Must Wait with the Intro by Debra Adelaide and the Prologue. I plan to finish the Flanagan today (day off) so I can get stuck into the Hill properly tonight.

    12. Ooh, exciting to see my challenge in there and lovely to know I'll have at least one person joining me for a few of the books - hooray! A lovely plan, too.

      My plan was to get my TBR to one shelf this year then I could do a lot of re-reading next year. It's not there, so I will continue getting it down then start doing more re-reading when it does. Happy 2021 reading!

      1. A couple of comments above suggest you may have more than just me reading some Tyler's with you :-)
        I also have Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, but I only read it a few years ago & not sure I can fit in a reread just now.

        I tend to think of the TBR as a magic pudding. As soon as you start to make a dent on it, it magically replenishes itself to its original level :-)

    13. You have it all planned out, I'm impressed ! Also very interested in your Wolf hall readalong, I'll probably join in :)

      1. Would love to have your company. I'm very keen to get back into it :-)

    14. Wow, I love that you have a plan for 2021 already, including for Bill's and Lisa's weeks. Impressive. BUT look at November? So many challenges ... and in a month where things start to go just a little bit crazy. I'd love to take part in the chapter a day projects but many days, at the moment, I only read a chapter so that would not work at all. Wah!

      Anyhow, I enjoyed this post and am most impressed in particulate by your 2021 plans. (Now, if your plans would only include swapping over to WordPress I'd be a really happy camper. Not to mention a cheeky one, too, I know!!)

      1. I confess I do not read a chapter-a-day for my big book. I usually sit down one day on the weekend and read 7-8 chapters in a row instead. I found it was a better way to tackle War & Peace in particular. Many of the chapters are quite short and it gives me a better flow of story, character etc.

        Every year I think I will read such and such a book for various challenges, but then forget or leave it too late to read it in time. I'm hoping the schedule will help me remember and to start the book in time to review it for the actual challenge. The week long challenges in particular have often left me scraping around at the last minute, trying to find the slimmest book possible to join in (or children's picture books!!)

    15. I think many of us agree with you about blogging and reviewing this year. I thought I would do much more when having all this time in my life. It seems many of us have difficulties focusing on things. Maybe it will be easier in 2021? Although realising that next year will be a quiet, stay at home year as well, at least there is hope in the tunnel. And, to like reading has been a good feature this year.

      I have read the two first books by Hilary Mantel and will read the third one next year. Loved the first two, so think I will not be disappointed in the third.

      I finished The Divine Comedy this year and it still feel quite fresh and readable. I think I preferred Purgatory, since there were sharp comments on people who had failed in life. A strange mixture of people as well... Decamerone is next on the list.

      I love Anne Tyler and will look into that challenge.

      Thank you for some enjoyable posts lately. You are really organised for 2021. Maybe I should try that out as well. My main aim next year is to read more books from my shelves. I will have around 180 books unread at the end of this year. Not a lot compared to many of you, but I am happy about the number, because it seems feasible to go through. If I could lower it to 100 at the end of next year, I would be really happy.

      Wish you all the best for the new reading year!

      1. Thank you for the lovely response Lisbeth. Every year I aim to read more books from my TBR pile, but I don't. I forget my good intentions as all the new releases come in at work! I'm hoping by having a schedule that I will pin to my featured post spot, it will keep me on track and be the prompt I need.

        Good luck with lowering the pile :-)

      2. Lisbeth, it would be lovely to have you join me for the challenge. No pressure, but I love finding new people to talk to about my favourite authors!

      3. Hello Liz, I have joined your Anne Tyler re-read. Here is my post.
        I could not find a way to comment on your post or add the link there. Hope this is ok.
        Looking forward exchanging views on Anne Tyler. I cannot promise to read them all but will try a few at least.

      4. Oh fabulous! I have a page up at the moment for it and wonder if that's why commenting won't work - will try to tweak that. Meanwhile I'll go and find your post and follow it. I will do blog posts as I go which you will be able to interact with.


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