Reading Goals for 2015

2014 was a pretty good year for my reading life. Despite being my first year of PhD life, I found that I had more time for leisure reading than I’d had in my five years of undergraduate studies. Unbelievably, what they say about doing a PhD is quite true – it really is easier than undergrad and honours! Whether this is due to the lack of course work, the single project focus, or the fact that after so many years of study it now comes to naturally to you that it ceases to seem overwhelmingly difficult, I do not know. Probably a combination of the three. Anyhoo, my point is that last year in between PhD-ing and working and getting used to life in a new city, I managed to read 14 books for leisure (I do not want to think about how many I read in relation to my studies). As someone who reads painfully slowly, and has a particularly strong penchant for bludging out in front of the television, this number of books in the span of a year was quite an achievement for me. There were so many wonderful reading experiences over the year that I struggle to pin down which one was my favourite for 2014.

The books I managed to get through last year were (in order, thanks to the ever-helpful Goodreads):

  1. Dust, Patricia Cornwell
  2. Tampa, Alissa Nutting
  3. Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys
  4. Pardon Me for Mentioning…: Unpublished Letters to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, eds. Kaplan, Lewis, & Munro
  5. The Light Between Oceans, M. L. Stedman
  6. The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion
  7. The Innocence of Father Brown, G. K. Chesterton
  8. Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls, Alissa Nutting
  9. Lost: Illegal Abortion Stories, ed. Jo Wainer
  10. 1984, George Orwell
  11. Twilight, Stephenie Meyer
  12. New Moon, Stephenie Meyer
  13. Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer
  14. Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer

As you can see, I did a pretty good job of attempting diversity in my reading selections. I threw myself into contemporary fiction for the first time (after spending much of my undergrad years attempting to ‘catch up’ on the classics), threw in some classics and some non-fiction, a mixture of novels and short story collections. I also backed down after years of resistance and read the Twilight series after a recommendation from my thesis supervisor, which I have blogged about previously. You might also notice that Alissa Nutting got a double mention…. this is because she’s a friggin’ genius. No arguments. I love how her mind works, she is a fantastic and engaging speaker, if you’re lucky enough to meet her in person as I was she is lovely, and reading her work is truly the most amazing, challenging, and entertaining experience. Go read her stuff. Now. Do it.

For this year I’ve decided, for the first time, to make a to-read list based on a reading challenge brought to my attention through the wonderful Book of Face. The challenge featured a list of categories from which to select books to read in 2015, such as ‘a book with a red cover’, ‘a book you read as a teenager’, and ‘a book from a best of 2014 list’. Based on these categories, my selections will largely see me reading books from 2014 rather than anything that is published this year. Alas, ‘catching up’ seems to be a theme in my reading life, so why mess with what works. The books I’m going to aim to read (or re-read) over the next twelve months are (in no particular order) *drumroll*… :

  1. Yes Please, Amy Poehler
  2. Strangers on a Train, Patricia Highsmith
  3. The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, Hilary Mantel
  4. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
  5. All the Birds, Singing, Evie Wyld
  6. The Fictional Woman, Tara Moss
  7. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
  8. Rosemary’s Baby, Ira Levin
  9. Revolution, Russell Brand
  10. This House of Grief, Helen Garner
  11. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn (giving this another go after last year’s failed attempt)
  12. My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, ed. Kate Bernheimer
  13. The Enchanted, Rene Denfeld
  14. The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan
  15. Burial Rites, Hannah Kent
  16. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, Eimear McBride
  17. Zealot, Reza Aslan
  18. The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

I have no idea how many of these I will be able to achieve, but I’m happy with this list as a goal. I’m also pleased to see how many of these are written by women – unintentional but pleasing! First up is Wuthering Heights, which has been sitting in my to-read pile for 6 years now (I know, book buying is a problematic addiction of mine…). Let’s see how this goes!

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