It’s been a strange reading year so far. I always begin the year in a gently contemplative mood from which a list of goals and targets gradually coalesces. This year I’ve found myself taking a lot longer to commit to any clear direction. It feels as if what I most want is the absence of goals and targets; a kind of loose, free-flowing openness. And I wonder what I might fill my time with if I leave it deliberately unplanned.
Characterised as it is by lists, planning, deadlines and targets, my life is, on paper at least, a paragon of organisation. But all too often it is a stick with which I can beat myself. This new looseness feels like a sneaky rebellion and even more than that perhaps it feels like it could be a lot of fun.
My reading life is all bound up in this shift. Instead of tackling my TBR with renewed purpose, swollen as it is with the influx of new ‘best of year’ suggestions from the blogosphere, I listened to the whispery inner voice that was saying “but I want to re-read The Hobbit…”, a book I have read at least 8 times before. So I began my year buried in the comforting familiarity of Bilbo’s perplexity as he empties his pantries for a host of jovial dwarves.
Next, I powered through Dr Benjamin Daniels’ Confessions of a GP, which is just as compelling and unputdownable as you would imagine of a book that allows you to sit alongside people in the sanctity of their doctor’s appointment and listen in.
I’m now re-reading Wolf Hall for my book group and savouring the ambiguity of the He’s and the various Thomases and the slowness that it forces upon me, coupled with the driving force of that present tense.
I’m not sure what I’ll read next but a couple of intriguing titles from my TBR list are calling to me. I don’t have them, so it would mean a library trip rather than a root through my bookshelves. But this following my gut has decided me. This year, I will set myself no targets. I will read where it takes me. And best of all, I cannot possibly fail.