I have always loved books - our house is peopled by them in every room - but of late the Books to be Read pile/shelf has reached ridiculous proportions. I reckon I may have already read more than the average total of 3000 books which someone once declared a person might read in a lifetime, but even so there are always more on my wish list. And I find it almost impossible to walk past an enticing pile of books, new or second hand, without searching through for something to borrow or buy.
However, given that without a daily train commute during which I can read, and the fact that I wish my life to include other activities, like writing, running, yoga, cultural treats, social intercourse etc, I find that my consumption these days is around 40 books a year. And when I counted up my books-in-waiting recently, the total came to well over a hundred! And that's without all the new books that come out every month and the ones my local book club chooses!
Hence my goal for the year. And it's been quite relaxing. I am working my way through some of the pantry, as it were, without hoarding more goodies, and it's a satisfying discipline. I have an almost-at-the-top-of-the pile pile now which includes Gao Zingjian's Soul Mountain, Cormac McCarthy's Cities of the Plain, Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Dreams and Mario Petrucci's Flowers of Sulphur.
I was given a Kindle for Christmas, so for this year, I'm only reading anything on it which I already have on my shelf - I found David Copperfield a fantastic first reading experience on e-reader.
But on Wednesday I had a slip. I was sipping a cup of tea in a church room in North Wales for refreshment after the funeral of a much-loved elderly relative when my eye alighted on a collection of second-hand books for sale, and in particular The Himmler Brothers - A German Family History by Katrin Himmler. I have wanted to read this since its publication six years ago. Out came the purse and I bought this plus one of Lyndsey Davis's wonderful Didius Falco novels.
Oh dear! I have broken my book fast, but I shall start over again from today, and will hope to get to 2014 before buying any more!
Incidentally, for those of you who aren't currently on a book fast, our small publishing company Odd Dog Press is launching my husband MJ Johnson's second book,
Roadrage, a psychological thriller, and there's a pre-publication offer on his website which
includes a copy of his first book Niedermayer & Hart. All books will arrive in time for Father's Day presents if that appeals! Please take a look, and if you are happy to share the news in any way via social media, that would be much appreciated.