Friday 1 January 2021

Reading plans for 2021

My first post of 2021. Happy New Year to everyone who stops to read my bookish musings, may 2021 be a better year for us all. I feel it will be but not just yet, we all have to hang in there a bit longer. And I'd like to add a big thank you to all of you who have blogs and who keep me sane and cheerful with your wonderful posts about books and other sundry subjects. 'Thank you'. 

So, I've done what I did last year that I felt worked so well. I created a shelf of books I want to read in 2021. I find this incredibly useful, mainly because I'm such a ditherer when it comes to choosing what I want to read next. If I have a selection of books I know I want to get through this year available immediately then I can consider those. I don't always choose one, sometimes I head off to another part of the house and other bookcases, or I peruse the black hole that is my Kindle Fire, but very often I do choose one off this shelf and last year I got through a lot - not all - of those books. 

So here's my main shelf for this year. (Click for a bigger view.)


Thirty books in all, fifteen fiction, fifteen non-fiction, although believe it or not I didn't plan it to be half and half. I like this selection better than I like last years. Last year I put too many hefty tomes in there and was slightly intimidated by them, this year I've mixed it up a bit and I feel the mix is a bit more eclectic. 

And here's a secondary selection:


There are five classics here, all of which I suspect I won't read but I would like to try read two or three. E.F. Benson's ghost stories is a reread, they are some of the best ever written in my opinion. Next are two lovely Christmas presents, both of these people knew exactly what I like. The Jojo Moyes was meant to be in with the other selection but was forgotten, and I added Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries at the last minute because I enjoyed his Christmas Chronicles so much. I will read that through the year and hope it will supply me with some nice seasonal recipes. 

Added to this, as I said before, is the selection on my Kindle Fire. This reading device has been a revelation this year, a bit too much perhaps as I've added books willy-nilly and with gay abandon. Over the Christmas period alone five books were added:

Watery Ways by Valerie Poore

The Death Detective by Charlotte English 

The Platform Edge edited by Mike Ashley 

The Complete Ghost Stories of M.R. James 

An Ivy Hill Christmas by Julie Klasson 

It is possibly a bit ridiculous but I can't help but think it's harmless enough while there's a pandemic raging and we're being asked to stay at home. When I have books like the ones featured in this post to read then I'm happy to do that. I wish everyone was as fortunate.

Take care, stay safe and happy reading in 2021. 


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I like that shelf idea Cath. I have a hard time deciding and then the library books roll in and throw me off course LOL Happy New Year

Jeane said...

I did something similar early in 2020- rearranged all my TBR books and made one shelf particular to those I'd like to read sooner rather than later. It's helped somewhat when I just don't feel like reading. Here's a good year ahead! (hopefully)

Lark said...

Happy New Year, Cath! I love your shelf of books to read in 2021. What a good idea! Knowing you have good books on hand to read always makes things a little least for me. And hopefully everything else in life will start to get better this year, too. Happy reading! :D

Kay said...

I had fun taking a look at your 2021 possibility shelf, Cath. Looks like some good ones and great variety. As to packing your Kindle with books, well, I consider that the purpose of mine - ha! Happy New Year to you and your family! Hope 2021 is peaceful and less stressful and full of good reads!

Sam said...

Happy New Year, Cath! I enjoyed reading your blog in 2020 and look forward to what you'll have to say in 2021.

I really like the idea of a TBR shelf of your own books. I never thought about trying that idea mainly because I don't have the space to do it without spending hours of shuffling books around, but it's tempting.

Here's to another great reading year for all of us...

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

Happy New Year, Cath! I do like your idea of a 2021 possibility shelf. I need to rearrange my bookshelves as they have got out of control and I can't find anything easily, so I'm thinking of doing one too. As for the Kindle, well what a mess it is in, I no longer know what it contains - I too have been adding books willy nilly! It needs a good sort out too - my New Year is going to be busy.

Cath said...

Diane: Yes, in a normal year library books would be my downfall too but this year access has been limited so I've concentrated on my own books. *Hoping* to do the same thing again this year.

Jeanne: I actually enjoy the physical act of choosing the books and creating the shelf. Last year I found it quite reassuring to have it there even though I didn't read all of the books I'd selected.

Lark: Thanks! Yes, I'm quite pleased with the variety and themes I've chosen for this year. It'll be interesting to look at the photo at the end of next December and see which ones I read and which ones I ignored. LOL! Heck yes, I too hope things will start to improve soon.

Cath said...

Kay: I'm glad you enjoyed looking at my 'possibles'. :-) Yes, I too consider packing the Kindle with books is its purpose. When we eventually are able to travel I can go away with a library in my bag. And thank you for your good wishes.

Sam: Thank you. My blogging friendships have helped stay sane this year I must confess.

I find the act of choosing books for the upcoming year - even though I might not read them all - very enjoyable and theraputic. I also made sure that last year when I bought physical books they were ones I 'really' wanted to read, making the choice a little easier.

Margaret: Last year I found that my 'want to read this year' shelf really helped me focus. Not all of them 'got' read but I still felt it worked very well.

Ah yes, the Kindle. I've tried to create folders but then I forget to put new books in and it is, like yours, a mess. Never mind.

Mary said...

My particular rabbit hole is access to at least three library sites where I can download an almost endless number of books. And do. Many of them have been audio-books which I tend to listen to at night (as in middle of the night when I usually wake up multiple times). I put in one earplug and listen in the dark--setting the timer for an hour, in case I fall back asleep. I've gone through 5+ books a week for months with this method. Not necessarily a healthy habit, I must say. And then there is the pile of actual books I've ordered or bought over the past year. Won't run out of reading material anytime soon. :)

Vintage Reading said...

Spotted the Josephine Tey in there! Happy New Year, Cath!

CLM said...

Lots of good books on your shelf, and Brat Farrar is such a favorite I know some bits by heart! I tried making a January list but not sure I will keep to it. I actually did some cleaning today and while vacuuming under my bed found two books that had been missing - one for months and one I had intended to give my niece for Christmas. So virtue was its own reward.

My big plan for the weekend was to make Sticky Toffee Pudding on New Year's Eve but my grocery store only had chocolate covered dates. Never having bought dates before, I didn't know if this was unusual or not. However, I have now found some elsewhere and will try to regain my enthusiasm Sunday.

TracyK said...

I do like planning ahead for the year's reading, although sometimes that backfires on me. As soon as a book is on the list, I lose interest. I started a "2021 to read" list on Goodreads after you mentioned that idea. There are some I definitely don't want to forget. I will probably be wanting to read some of these books on your shelf after you review them.

Cath said...

Mary: Oh gosh, that must be 'so' tempting! I wouldn't be able to resist either. I don't tend to wake much in the night but if I did I'm sure I would find audiobooks a great comfort, so I think that's brilliant. Likewise I will not be running out of books soon either. To be honest I think with all that we're enduring at the moment it's a good thing to have our books to turn to. And good that it must be keeping the publishing industry alive.

Nicola: Yes, I think Brat Farrar is the only Tey I have left to read. But I see myself rereading The Franchise Affair this year and To Love and Be Wise... and possibly Miss Pym Disposes.

Constance: Brat Farrar is the only Tey I haven't read. I know it's a favourite with you and with others I know, so I suspect I have a treat in store.

I laughed at you discovering lost books under your bed. That's the sort of thing that happens to me... but it's usually jigsaw pieces under chairs in the conservatory.

You know, I have never seen chocolate covered dates. That's a new one on me! Good luck with the Sticky Toffee Pudding. I don't make that very often as Peter is diabetic and we tend to limit our pudding intake. But I do love it.

Tracy: I know exactly what you mean when you say that as soon as the book is on the list you lose interest because that happens to me when I choose a pile of books for a challenge. But I'm 'hoping' (ha ha) that I've chosen such a variety that my interest won't wane too much. Well that's the plan but I'm sure you know all about 'best laid plans'.

Anca said...

Happy New Year!

I love the idea of having a dedicated book shelf for the reading challenge. That would not work for me, as I feel I need to have the books on their shelves, as in, either collections or on a specific topic. :))

Good luck with your reading challenge.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

"Happy New Year" to you both, although as you say, I don't think that 'happy' is really going to figure in many of our lives for some time to come yet!

These days, my reading is determined and scheduled by publishers, publicists and authors, as are the genres the books encompass. Up until now I have been having good fun doing things that way, however this is another strategy I have tested which still doesn't seem to be working for me long term. I am still tinkering around with random thoughts about things - so I'll keep you updated!

All of which means, I have shelves and shelves and shelves of books I would like to read, rather than just sit and look longingly at them, and that's before I even get to my groaning kindle.

I admire your resolve in separating a shelf dedicated to the books you want to read during the year and I can see some great ones there which I know I am going to enjoy reading your reviews for. I just know that if I was let loose in a library any time soon (I haven't had library tickets for more than a decade now and wouldn't know the ropes any more), that would be 'game over' completely, as I have zero control when it comes to books I don't have to pay for!

Good Luck with your "shelf challenge", but most of all, Have Fun!

Yvonne :)

Cath said...

Anca: I do have my books vaguely sorted into topics or genres but this particular section of the shelf is mixed because the plan is to read them this year. I wouldn't normally mix books up like this.

Yvonne: No, hardly 'happy' after tonight's news. I expected it though and it won't make a lot of difference to us as we've been in partial lockdown since last March.

It must be a little bit trying for you not to have time to read all the books on your shelves. That's really why I don't do Blogtours and such, I feel that if I've spent money on buying books I ought to read a few of them to justify the cost. LOL

Libraries are another matter however and it's down to their inaccessibility that I've actually read my own books this year.

Susan said...

I like the idea of having a shelf designated for your "want to read soon" books. That would be helpful! I kind of do the same thing, just with a library cart that sits next to my desk. I'm a "ditherer" too, so it helps :)

Good luck with all your 2021 reading plans!

Rosemary said...

I love seeing your shelves Cath, and as you know I totally agree about having some sort of focus to my own reading, otherwise I am all over the place.

I haven't read too many of these books, though now of course I want to!

I do love Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries - they come into the category of cookery books one can just read for pleasure, but (unlike many of today's food blogs, which drive me round the bend with all their waffle and videos on how to peel an onion...) the actual recipe and ingredients are clearly set out, so you can just skip to those if you want to. Because we are incurably nosy, my elder daughter and I are always drawn in by Nigel's coy introductions - 'we are two tonight' :-) When I am stuck, as I frequently am, for something to make for dinner I hve a look at NIgel's suggestion for that date. I don't often find something I can actually make (haven't got the ingredients, someone won't like it, etc etc) I always enjoy reading it.

I've read The Diary of a Provincial lady, loved it. I read Travels with Charley when I was at school and remember enjoying it very much, and thinking 'this isn't what I thought Steinbeck was about!'

I do love an Angela Thirkell and in fact read Pomfret Towers quite recently. And as you know Rose Macaulay's Towers of Trebizond is one of my favourites (though it's one of those Marmite books I think, so I wonder if you will like it?) I still haven't read any Kate Atkinson, though I have several - would you recommend her?

Today I collected from the library Martin Edwards The Golden Age of Murder. I ordered it on your recommendation, and it looks great! I'll probably end up having to buy myself a copy. Thanks so much for writing about it. Our library has now started offering click and collect - you can either reserve a specific book, or ask for 5 books in your preferred genre. It's not as much fun as browsing, but it's certainly a lot better than nothing. Not all of the branches are open, but luckily our little local one is, so collecting is simple.

I hope you are offered the vaccine soon. My 93 year old mother has not yet had any notification, but I read that East Lothian is starting a big community campaign this week so hopefully she will get done before long.

Thanks so much for your interesting blog and your friendship, and here's to another year of great reading!

Cath said...

Susan: Thank you! Nice to know that other readers dither a lot too. Too much choice is probably my problem, I want to read this... and that... oh and there's 'this'! I'm a lost cause.

Cath said...

Rosemary: I'm having to exercise a bit of restraint with Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries. It's so gorgeous that I just want to keep on reading. I thought I would read it through the year, month by month kind of thing, but I honestly don't know if I'll be able to hold back. I think he's probably my favourite TV cook, I love his obvious love of ingredients and the way in which he's so casual, if you don't like something, don't put it in, sort of thing. And that lovely voice! I'm nosy too and couldn't help noticing that he dedicated his Christmas Chronicles to 'James' and that James was mentioned quite a few times throughout the book so I jumped to conclusions there, possibly mistakenly, but I hope not.

Yes, I've read The Diary of a Provincial Lady too, this version has four Provincial Lady books in it and I've just got the one left. 'Wartime' I think it is. I've liked them all but fancy that the first one has the edge.

I've read quite a few Thirkells but Pomfret Towers got left out for some mysterious reason, hopefully I will read that this year. I have a feeling I will like Towers of Trebizond, so fear not... I think we have quite similar tastes. I can't recommend any of Kate Atkinson's books as I haven't read any. LOL. Life After Life will be my first, it was recommended by Richard Osman on the BBC's book programme before Christmas so I thought I'd give it a go. Something different to violent murders! At least I hope so.....

I do hope you enjoy The Golden Age of Murder. I found it endlessly fascinating, reading about those authors, but impossible to review as I didn't take notes as I read. Never mind.

We're pretty sure Peter will be vaccinated before me. He's 70 (I'm 67) with underlying health issues etc. He's checked and thinks it will be mid-February but I wouldn't be surprised if he got in sooner. I do hope your mother gets in soon. I assume you and your husband will be the same time as me or close. Although we've been fine in lockdown I honestly can't wait for this to be over, or at least under control. Thank goodness for books... and knitting and cooking and the garden!

Thank you for your kind words, it's been lovely 'meeting' you via book blogging and I'm so looking forward to more posts from you this year. Eager to see how you get on with your new challenge etc.