One of my goals for the year ahead is to read more, especially as I seem to be finding so many books I want to read at the moment and space on my bookcases is at a premium. I’ve therefore decided to set myself a rather ambitious target, however if I only get 3/4 of the way there, I’ll still be very happy and will have room on my bookcase for a few new tomes!
My book related target for 2013 is to read 50 books by the end of the year. I know I’m setting my sights quite high with that figure, but seeing as we’re right at the start of the year, and that works out at just under 1 book per week, I think it is achievable even so.
In addition, when going on day trips or holidays, Chris often does the driving, and as he’s not one to make conversation as much as I do, I often resort to reading on the journey. A gripping story can therefore be easy to get through, or at least make good progress with, within one holiday or day out.
We’ve also identified that when going on holidays, we can be somewhat reluctant to take the essence of a proper holiday to heart and spend too much time exploring and walking rather than taking some time to relax. Don’t get me wrong, we love seeing new places on foot, but we nearly always come back home having taken on a longer walk or two than planned and feeling like we didn’t rest at all, so by planning to use holidays to get more relaxation and resting time on board, I should also be able to plough through a few more pages.
As we’re about to start the 4th week of January, or thereabouts, I’m happy to say I have my first book under my belt. I’m planning to give a mini review of, or at least comment on, each book I finish with the hope that some people may be inspired to try out one of two, or maybe more, of the books I enjoy throughout the year so I’d love to hear your comments if you’ve either read the same book or try it based on my recommendation.
The book I finished on Wednesday was by Michelle Paver and is called The Shadow Catcher. I finished another book of hers called The Serpent’s Tongue, which I thoroughly enjoyed, over Christmas, but unfortunately it would be cheating to add that to the count. The Shadow Catcher is set in the same location as the first book I read, so I would actually recommend reading it first, and there is a third book which comes in between the two called Fever Hill, which I have my eye out for and hope I will get to read as part of the 50 books.
It tells the story of a girl named Madeleine and her younger sister Sophie who were born out of wedlock and disowned by the family as their parents has disgraced the family name. The girls’ mother died in childbirth setting them on a journey to London where another member of the family who had been cut off for marrying beneath her took them in out of obligation and you follow their story of survival and dealing with the actions of their parents.
I came across the author with a series, The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, aimed at children which followed a character called Torak. The first book was called Wolf Brother, and the main character is orphaned when his father is attacked by a bear. They had been cast out by their ‘tribe’ and were living in the forest, set in the New Stone Age when people hunted for their food and lived off the land. She has a style that draws you in to both the characters and also the place in which her books are set, and that series was very quick to read through. I also read another book of hers called ‘A Place in the Hills’ which is adult fiction, again with a historic aspect, which I would also strongly recommend.
Now you may think to have finished 1 book heading into week 4 of the year doesn’t bode well for my target, unless I have a lot of trips planned when I can read as Chris drives. I have 2 books I am partway through however (from last year but I don’t think that’s cheating too much!), and started a third when I reached the end of The Shadow Catcher. The first is called Scaredy Cat and is by Mark Billingham. It is a crime thriller but is quite graphic and a slower paced book but having started it, I don’t want to abandon it partway through. I read a little bit now and then during the day but am still a long way from the end!
The other book, which I am halfway through, is Derren Brown’s Trick of the Mind. This is fantastic and I’ve enjoyed getting halfway, despite having received the book as a birthday present from Chris around 2 years ago. That is the perfect illustration for my needing to start reading more of the books on my book shelves! This book is more involved as it has memory exercises and tips included so I need a certain level of brain power to interact fully with the book and benefit from reading it.
The new book I have begun reading is by Tim Severin and is called Viking: Odin’s Child and is his first fiction novel, having written a range of non-fiction books before this was published. I’ve barely opened the front cover yet but hope to get a fair bit of reading done tomorrow while the snow’s still on the ground, so I imagine this will become the second book out of 50 I tell you a little about and let you know whether it’s worth a read. Time to get a chapter or so in before sleep.