Alex In Leeds

(Book Reviews and Adventures…)

2014 Plans and Adventures


Book Worm Bot by Jenn and Tony Bot

Book Worm Bot by Jenn and Tony Bot

Now that 2013 is all nicely wrapped up and filed away in the archives it’s time to share my plans for the rest of the new reading year with you.

I originally had some fairly grand plans for 2014 (both bookish and otherwise) but after more thought I’ve decided to concentrate on a few simpler goals and allow more space and energy for serendipity and relaxation. The only goals I am setting myself are:

19th Century of Books
20th Century of Books

Bookish Centuries
You might have seen the tracking posts go up for these concurrent goals already over the weekend. Essentially I plan to read one book for every year between 1800-1900 and 1901-2000 over the next two years. I’m happy to count fiction, non-fiction, poetry or even plays and (since someone did ask) I’m reading the books in whatever order I fancy rather than chronologically. I’ve decided to focus on British works for these challenges – I’m looking to fill in specific reading gaps, enjoy spotting connections and rivalries and deepen my understanding. I’m geekily excited about digging deeper into some authors’ work, hunting out books for tricky years which seem to have been blighted by a publishing lull and re-attempting authors I’ve previously struggled with. *cough* Elizabeth Gaskell *cough*

I’m aiming to write something about each book read for the centuries but might include the odd mini-review or even some comparison reviews so that other, non-challenge books can be covered here as well.

How To Make A Book Jar

The Book Jar
I’m going to commit to using my book jar once a month in 2014. I love the way it focuses my attention away from new shiny things in the library and tweets from book publicists back to the books I’ve been curious about for far longer. I love the unsophisticated pleasure of plunging my hand into that collection of candy-coloured cardboard slips and drawing out something at random.

I’ll be drawing January’s title or author out of it this week. In 2013 it offered up Henry James, Stefan Zweig, Aphra Behn and Arthur C Clarke and all four led to interesting conversations so I’m excited to see what I’ll be starting 2014 with.

Book Hearts

Buy The Books I Love, From Bookshops I Love
Of the books I read and loved in 2012 and 2013, I own copies of approximately half of them. This is down to the fact that I use my libraries a lot. When I love a borrowed book it tends to go on my wishlist and then I buy a copy as and when I spot one secondhand somewhere. It’s haphazard and I’d like to get to a point where my bookshelves have a more accurate balance between old favourites, new favourites and books still to be read. I also want to help keep both the Waterstones and Blackwell chain bookshops in Leeds and support the two indie bookshops I occasionally catch a train to go and explore – Grove Books in Ilkley and Saltaire Bookshop in Saltaire. So in 2014 I’m going to be making a quiet but determined effort to buy more copies of books I know I love but don’t own – even if it means passing up a few unknown shiny new ones.

That’s it. Just three very flexible goals and plenty of scope for bookish adventures and discoveries. I hope you’ll enjoy joining me for the journey…

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Author: Alex in Leeds

Book reviewer, blogger, photographer and adventuress who completed 101 goals in 1001 days once and is now gleefully doing it again. I can be found on Twitter as @AlexInLeeds.

21 thoughts on “2014 Plans and Adventures

  1. A great reading goal – so creative! After my studies are done (if they ever are) I’d like to do something similar! Good luck and I can’t wait to read about it!

  2. Not a publishing lull – a canonical lull.

  3. Cool! I like flexible goals with room to maneuver. Looking forward to your choices and reviews, especially the 19th Century. Happy Reading :)

  4. I’m especially looking forward to the treasures that the C19th challenge will bring – it really is a century where I feel I need a fair bit of guidance or I will be too intimidated by Big Old Books to taste what’s on offer.

    • Excellent. I’m just a very faint shade more excited by the 19th century challenge than the 20th since it feels longer since I dug into that section of my book collection. I’m planning on mixing in some old standards – Trollope, Dickens, the Brontes, Eliot, Austen – but will be dabbling with others that are less widely read – Braddon, Oliphant, Meredith and Disraeli for example. I’m also going to be trying Scott for the first time which should be interesting…

  5. Some great plans there alex all the best for the new year

  6. This little lot should keep you busy. For your twentieth century list take a look at the collection held by Sheffield uni. Might help you fill in some years.

  7. What lovely fluid plans Alex – hopefully you should be able to please yourself with your reading and still fit in with your challenges!! Good luck!

  8. These are good plans and I hope you succeed in fulfilling them. I too am taking it easy this year: I have had bad experiences in past years with over-ambitious reading challenges, but now I am just going to set myself some general goals, with the only solid one being to read 60 books from my overgrown TBR stack.

  9. I love the book jar; I think I should make my own!!
    Good luck with your resolutions!

  10. I love the physical manifestation of a TBR list in your book jar. I just use and my digital bookshelf list.

  11. Great idea to support bookshops – I’m trying hard to reduce my use of Amazon this year. But please keep using libraries as well – that’s the only way we’ll stay open!

  12. P.S. What’s wrong with the wonderful Elizabeth Gaskell?!


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