2013 was the year when I officially lost control of my TBR.  I have always kept track of it on librarything but last year for unknown reasons I didn’t do that.  So now I am surrounded by piles of books everywhere not knowing where to find anything. This does not amuse me.  Maybe I am a heretic but I’ve decided it is possible to have too many books.  I shall do something about that in 2014.  Nay I have to do something about it in 2014.  House guests will be arriving during the summer and the spare bedroom must be reclaimed for habitational purposes.  My public library has been put on notice to expect a windfall …..

2013 was also the year in which I didn’t participate in any reading challenges.  I followed my whims, joined a few communal reading events and the results tell an interesting story.

100 books or 30156 pages read.
85 novels or novellas, 2 poetry collections, 2 graphic novels, 2 short story collections, 9 works of non-fiction.
73 published in the 21st century : 46 of those published in 2013.
20 published in 20th century, 7 in the 19th.
46 books had females authors, 50 male. I read 4 anthologies.
37 Translated Titles: 16 from German, 5 from Swedish, 5 From French, 3 from Dutch, 1 each from Japanese, Polish, Finnish, Catalan, Spanish, Hebrew, Norwegian, Italian.

This should be a cause for rejoicing, surely?  But no.  I feel curiously dissatisfied. Main observation: I’m too Euro-Centric. Only 11 of the 100 books read were not from Europe and I didn’t visit South America or Africa at all last year. I don’t want that to happen in 2014 and so I’m joining the 2014 Global Reading Challenge (Medium Level) and the Aussie Authors Reading Challenge (Wallaby Level) to make my reading more diverse.

That said European fiction will still be a major factor in 2014. I’m joining the Read Scotland 2014 (because I am based there and it would be rude not to). I’m taking on the Hebridean level (12 books) and who knows, I may even go to the Hebrides for real this year! Add the 12 Simenons I need to read to stay on track with Penguin’s republishing of the Maigret series. I also want to tackle the German literature TBR, which after 3 successful German Literature Months (thank you, everybody) has suspiciously tripled, nay quadrupled, in size (thank you again). I am, therefore, challenging myself to read an A-Z of German literature this year. Sum total from this paragraph: 50 European books before I even draw breathe!

Best stop there. But no I also want to keep up with the Austen project – Val McDermid’s reworking of Northanger Abbey is one of the most eagerly anticipated titles of the year for me. As are the new books from Barry, Mitchell and Toibin …. And I still have a goodly number of 2013 chunksters to tackle (The Luminaries, The Goldfinch, A Naked Singularity …)

I’m not going to get through all this if I continue to blog in the same way.  The time has come to change the pattern. Starting from today, I intend only to write in-depth reviews for books scoring 4 stars or above. Exceptions will be made if I read a book for an on-line readalong such as January in Japan and Pushkin Press Fortnight, or some other pressing concern. Mini reviews of other reads will appear at the end of each month. I’m hoping this new strategy will buy me the time to read another 30,000 pages in 2014 and ensure that all the excellent books I encounter along the way receive the enthusiastic review they deserve.

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