10th January 2012 - Laura Crosby
This year, Laura Crosby from our Bristol, Cabot Circus branch has put herself on a strict regimen of books outside her usual areas of interest, including some non-fiction, and she's looking for suggestions.
To welcome 2012 with open arms, (and open books) I've decided to set myself a reading challenge. Now, I'm definitely not the first, nor the last to do this; I actually got the idea from a bookseller in another independent shop nearby. It's a chance to open my mind to all of the reading possibilities, and become more knowledgeable of the gifts that authors constantly give us. It's also a chance for people to throw recommends at me, and to get reviewing more titles.
Now, the 36 books in a year, is pretty much what it says on the tin. I will be reading that amount of books, in that amount of time, which adds up to 3 books per month. It doesn't sound like a lot, but I wanted to be reasonable and to set an achievable goal.
These three books a month should cover most genres, and be outside of my usual reading box. The majority of books in that box is currently fiction. Not just any old fiction, but wonderfully weird fiction: Andrew Kaufman, Douglas Coupland and Bret Easton Ellis. I like something with a bit of a twist, a bit unusual, a bit quirky. This year, however, my horizon will be considerably broadened, as I get given lots of other types of fiction (I've never read a crime novel in my life) and much non-fiction (which I'm usually scared of, as I can't easily drown myself in non-fiction). And so, I bring this challenge from my curious mind, and through cyberspace, to yours.
Now, I didn't just want to read random books in the hope of liking them, or disliking them enough to give them a review. I wanted the books to somehow be related to my life at the time of reading, or for them to somehow influence my life at time of reading. My plan is to read at least one non-fiction title per month (I didn't want to scare myself too much, so one should suffice).
I have asked my fellow booksellers to recommend some titles to me, but in the meantime I have already started on my first (fiction) book of the year.
My first book for 2012 is Caroline Smailes' Like Bees to Honey. I was sent this book by The Friday Project, and previous to that I kept hearing about it, and seeing it all over the place. This novel was waiting for me to read it, and I'm all too glad to do so. I won't give anything away about it yet, but I can assure you that finishing it will be a sad moment for me.
I'm only about a quarter of the way through, but I intend to have finished it by the 12th of January, so I can review it and pick my next book. As it's my birthday this month (direct all of your presents and cards to Bristol Foyles please...), I have decided to read Murakami's 'Birthday Stories'. So that covers fiction for this month, now I need a non-fiction choice.
I've already begun my plea on Twitter for recommends. If anyone wants to help me out, I'm @ontheceiling, or you can comment on Foyles' Facebook page. I am willing to read about literally anything! I'll read three books a month and blog about all three at the end of the month. Welcome 2012; let's see what you've got.
Bret Easton Ellis