Am really thankful to Ana and Iris for launching Long-Awaited Reads Month again for this year—because there’s nothing like kicking off the year burdened with glorious bibliophilic purpose. I’m enamored by the whole point of the project—to read that book you’ve always told yourself you’d read, that book you’ve always wondered about, or that book that’s been on your shelves forever. It’s a great push, too, and there’s an added weight—a kind of optimism—attached to every #LARMonth read under your belt. Last year’s project, for example, had me finally beginning Stephen King’s Dark Tower series—and I spent the rest of the year reading all seven fat books, and my 2013-in-reading was all the better for it. I’m looking forward to much of the same this year.
No pressure, of course, Sasha. None at all.
There’s an obvious bent to the books above, taken collectively: They’re classics—established or contemporary—that I’ve always felt were up my alley, but just never got around to reading. Other books happened, I guess. But the book stack above are among those I will read this January. Other books can continue to happen, but these books are going to be right there with them. [Although, crap, I’m just seeing it: I’ve read The Picture of Dorian Gray a very, very long time ago—and count it as among my favorite books. I’ve always wanted to reread it, and this annotated edition is absolutely gorgeous, but what in baby ducks’ name is it doing in the #LARMonth stack?] [Edit: Links to posts added.]
- D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover is something my perverted self should have read long ago—and I did start it on my last year in college, but that obviously didn’t work out so well. Chatterley is something I’ve always felt should have been part of my canon—alongside, yes, Dorian Gray, and Jane Eyre. (I felt this way about Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials: When I finally came to it, it was with the conviction that I should have read it the moment I’d taken a breather after the Harry Potter series. The Pullmans are now firmly in my personal canon, and now I’m hoping the same will happen with Lawrence.)
- There’s less of that fervent hope with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but the curiosity has been present for the longest time. Gothic literature intrigues me, especially its watershed works, and for #LARMonth I had a choice between Dracula and Frankenstein—but the latter won out because it has the prettier cover, haha. (I get my motivations where I can.) (Am I ambitious enough to keep Stoker’s novel near at hand this January? Of course I am.)
- Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s Batman: Year One will ensure that 2014 is The Year of Loving Batman More Than I Already Do. I’ve been holding back devouring all the Batman comics I’ve amassed, and finally reading this—Batman’s origin story, the most sensible way to fan my madness for the Caoped Crusader—will give me leave to do so. I’ve waited so long, guys.
- My corner of the bibliophilic internet has long been abuzz about Jude Morgan’s The Taste of Sorrow—by far the best, it’s been said, novelization of the life of the Brontë sisters. I sat in a daze for a full minute after I unearthed this one in a Booksale, and I’m very excited to finally settle down and read it. (I plan on reading more of the Brontës this year, too, so why not let this be a push?)
- A few minutes into the new year, I cozied up to Marcel Proust’s Days of Reading—which I’ve wanted to read for almost as long as this blog has been in existence, and which I rather unexpectedly stumbled onto whilst Christmas shopping. Ah, Days of Reading—it was a very contrived way to start the reading year, sure, but I’m going to wish, as I’ve never wished before, that book titles were prophetic. (I guiltily recall that this time last year, I was feverish with starting Swann’s Way. Proust talks about that book in an essay included here, so we could all just look at this as me coming full circle, okay?)
Five books set for Long-Awaited Read Month, then. (Oh, and I thought of reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, because it’s really something I should have read at, say, ten years old—but have you guys seen how thick that solid block of a book is?) (I also thought of dedicating the whole of January to read nothing but books I’ve wanted to read for ages—but you know how skilled I am at flaking out of things I set for myself.)
On a less glib note. I read 150 books in 2013, and I fought tooth and nail to read every one of those books. I stayed up late, I procrastinated with Real Life duties, I got jostled in train rides because my hands were occupied cradling a book, my back tormented me because of all the cumbersome books I carried around with me, I skipped meals, I ignored people, I stayed in my room during house parties, I fled to cafés and locked myself in my room, I toiled. I worked to read those books in 2013, and this 2014 I am looking forward to doing pretty much the same thing. I know my priorities, after all: Books are one of the few things that have kept me going—some days, I wake up precisely to finish reading a book I’d slept on—and I know this, and I’m willing to do everything I can to keep on doing so. Please, 2014, and thank you.