Jan 2014 bWell, I’ve been a busy lady and have had to save this state of the TBR post for the second day of the month, as I spent yesterday talking about my Top Reads of 2013 and my planned book challenge for 2014 and beyond.

I’ve also renamed this blog as I feel it’s more about the reading and writing and less about reports from the front line of self-employment, so reflects the blog better. AND I’ve added a blogroll in the right-hand column which pulls together the best book review blogs that I read on a regular basis. I was looking at everyone else’s blogrolls, thinking this blog wasn’t on them, thinking this blog didn’t have a very suitable name to be on such lists, and thinking that I should do my own list … and it all came together into a bit of housekeeping!

Dec 2013 3Here’s the TBR as it is now (above), with my Christmas books added. Not too bad, actually! Only one of the Christmas books went into A Month of Re-Reading in January, but I’d done sterling work getting through some good reads in December, so plenty of room. If you can’t see it clearly, the Virago to the right of the tall grey book is the last one on the front row.

Of course, not only did I add Christmas acquisitions from the BookCrossing Christmas meal and Christmas Day itself; I also received an extra book on 31st December – a gift from one of my Russian clients, sent via Amazon. And such a good book, which I hadn’t heard about before but which would definitely be on my wish list if I had. Hooray!

A Month of Re-Reading in January

Reread Jan 2014 aAs has become customary, since July 2012, I’ve been doing a Month of Re-Reading every July and January. I’ve really, really enjoyed revisiting some old friends, checking that I want to keep the authors and genres that I’ve been keeping all these years, and seeing whether my opinion of books changes over the years (I have paper reading journals going back to 1997 and can remember what I thought about a lot of my favourites earlier than that). I feel it’s a valid and worthwhile thing for me to do, stepping off the conveyor belt of the To Be Read pile and enjoying some different reads from around my shelves.

Although I teased my Facebook friends with my first Project 365 photo of the year (pictured left), I did intend to reveal my choices, and can do so now …

Reread Jan 2014So, from top to bottom, we have …

Winifred Holtby – “The Crowded Street” – received for Christmas in the Persephone edition but I know that I’ve read it before so off the TBR and onto the January pile!

Simon Elmes – “Talking for Britain” – a survey of British regional language, received and read around 2006. This sits on the English Lang & Lit shelf outside the bathroom and was a late addition when I spotted it after making the pile shown above left.

Jane Austen – “Mansfield Park” – I’ve done an Austen in each Month of Re-Reading, and as I have “Murder at Mansfield Park” coming up on the TBR, it seemed appropriate to take this one to read this time.

Thomas Hardy – “Jude the Obscure” – handily this is the Hardy Project read for Jan/Feb, so reading this achieves two aims. At the beginning of the Hardy project, I wasn’t keen on re-tackling this one, but I’ve read all the books so far and got back into Hardy’s way of looking at things, so really quite looking forward to it now.

Jane Smiley – “Moo” – I was reminded of this marvellous campus novel when discussing “The Art of Fielding“. Smiley famously writes in different genres and I’ve read most of her books, but haven’t re-read this one since I originally read it back in 1997, it seems. I’ve started this one today.

Wendy Perriam – “Born of Woman” – I used to love this writer back in the 90s, with the heady mix of women’s freedom, religion and taboo-breaking. She sits with Marilyn French and Erica Jong in my memory. Anyway, I’ve got a lot of them, all quite substantial, so this is one of my tests to see if I want to keep her books or pass them along …

Molly Moynahan – “Living in Arcadia” – this is another ‘woman breaks free’ road-trip novel. I selected it for last July but never got to it, so re-added it for this month. If I fail to read it again, I think that’s telling me something and it will have to go!

Brian Hinton – “South by South-West: A Road Map to Alternative Country” – bought and read a while ago, I probably know more of the bands he talks about now.

Tim Moore – “Frost on My Moustache” – his first travel book, where he travels to Iceland. I’m going there this year, so want to up my reading on the country.

Anthony Powell – “To Keep the Ball Rolling” – his memoirs. As we read “Dance to the Music of Time” last year, this seemed appropriate!

Vera Brittain – “Testament of Youth” – this will be my third read of this heartbreaking narrative of the effect of the First World War on the families and women at home. I remember sobbing over it last re-read, in my flat in Brockley. This is a beautiful edition gleaned from a set of books my friends Julie and Barry left behind with me for BookCrossing etc. when they returned home to Australia, and is being read to honour the 100th anniversary of the start of the War.


Anyone else doing any re-reading this month? It’s not a proper challenge and you don’t need to do more than one, but I do recommend a hearty re-read! And do let me know what you think about the new blog title and shuffle around of the side menus … Happy reading!