Because my whims wax and wane with the moon (or the next literary longlist, book festival programme, social reading opportunity, etc), I am in the habit of purchasing material for that whim, then moving onto the next thing, leaving an unread stack behind. Over the years this has resulted in an ever-increasing TBR.

This year *** will *** be different and hopefully the following strategy will make it so.

1) Purchases. There will be no book-buying ban, but purchases will need to be read promptly. The stack of unread 2019 purchases may not exceed 3 at any given time (except during August, Edinburgh Book Festival time when all bets are off!) So I fully expect the new releases featured below to join the stacks in the next 3 months, and, more importantly, most of them to have been read!


2) I will approach the existing TBR by means of a monthly prompt, which will be chosen when I wrap-up the previous month. The aim is to read 3-5 associated books, all of which must have been on the TBR at 31.12.2018. January’s prompt is Starting in Scandinavia. Thanks to Danielle for this idea.

3) I shall continue my ongoing reading projects, i.e Walter Scott Award Winners, translated German Book Prize Winners, the 3 remaining chapters and associated Krimis for my (much delayed) Crime Writing in German Project and as many books as it takes to complete my second circuit of Around the World with Pushkin Press. I may even complete one or two of these this year!

4) 2019 is the centenary of the Weimar Bauhaus and the perfect time to kick off my Weimar Republic Reading Project. I’ve obviously had this in mind and been stockpiling for a while.


History and reportage, contemporaneous German novels , historical novels set in the period.  No doubt I’ll be adding to these stacks throughout the year. I am particularly looking forward to the first English translation of Gabriele Tergit’s Käsebier Takes Berlin.  I hope to read 10 books for this project during the year.  I might even complete my re-read of The Magic Mountain! I’m still sitting on the bench at the half-way point.

5) I’ve joined the Reading Through the Ages  Goodreads group.  It has a bingo card with 25 categories. I’m not attempting to complete the whole card. 10 categories will suffice. Who knows, I may complete a line or column along the way.

6) I’d like to reread 4-6 pre-blog favourites, starting with Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose.  Apologies to Annabel – I haven’t started the read yet, but it is on January’s TBR.

7) I’m reducing the total number of books I want to read this year from 100 to 80. I need to make time to read at least 3 books in German and the 3 chunksters, pictured below.


And finally,

8) No target TBR reduction.  I worked hard to achieve a measly reduction of 26 last year.  This year, by controlling my purchases and reading the books I already own, I hoping a better result will simply materialise of its own accord. (Though I realise I may be playing with fire …)