Reading Plan: March 2014

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Burmese Days by George Orwell book cover
I’m still feeling my way into the year, but with a few reviews under my belt things seem a little more settled than they did at the end of 2013. What probably helps is that I’ve realised I may be doing a little too much, and might need to re-focus a little. After thinking about it for a little bit, I pretty much decided that writing was the thing I couldn’t do without, and so, rather than letting other things trample over my writing time, I would have to put writing as my top priority. I’m tempted to say, “And so begins my ‘writing years’ ” but knowing me I’ll have changed my mind next month and be thinking about something completely different. Hopefully the new focus means I’ll be able to finish a decent draft of my first novel this year and get stuck into reviewing more regularly, which I’ve realised I miss quite a great deal.

So, enough boring waffle about my life, what about books? What’s the happening this month? Well, while I’m still clearing out time for writing things might be a bit slow, but my main read this month is going to be Orwell’s Burmese Days. I’ve been reading Orwell on and off recently, and this is one of his most talked about novels, so I think I’ll give it a whirl. Set in Burma, it deals with the British Empire, and what it was to be a dissenting voice in colonies, ostracised from an already isolated group.

I’ve also had to read Sense and Sensibility for my course, so I may well jot down some thoughts on that if time allows. I must admit, it was the third time I’d tried to read the book and I’m glad I had the spur of educational necessity to get me through it, because I enjoyed it more than I’d expected (i.e. it’s not just a load of people whining about stuff, as it turns out!) I’d actually like to fill the gaps in my Austen knowledge as the discussions around both Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility for my course were really interesting, so I’m feeling inspired to work through the novels I haven’t yet read.

What else? Well, I’m reading Nabokov’s Transparent Things at the moment, so I might write something about that, but it’s a strange little book, and it might take me a while to get my head around it. I may also be re-reading The Picture of Dorian Gray for my book club, and I’d be delighted at the opportunity to bang on to all of you about one of my favourite books.

I think that’s a fair summary of what I’ve got on my bedside table at the moment – doubtless other things will crop up, but hopefully I will get out at least a couple of reviews this month.

One final note, congratulations to Katherine Ivan, who won last month's competition to win a copy of the Library of Unrequited Love. Thanks to everyone who entered.

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