I did not keep a record of what I read in 2011 – a decision that arose mostly out of laziness. I regret this now. I’d decided at the beginning of the year that I would Read the Russians, and in the event utterly failed to do so. I’m choosing not to see this as a personal failure because my reading habits opted of their own accord to make books about readers the theme for the year. It meant some great books, so I’m in no position to complain.

I did set myself more minor goals: to read/reread my way through Mervyn Peake and Flann O’Brien’s works because it was their birth centenary. I managed this, though in both cases I failed to blog about most of it. I also set myself to reading Samuel Delany’s The Jewel-Hinged Jaw, and again failed to blog about it. I began a series of posts on Antonia Forest’s Marlow series, and am about four books in. This will continue into the new year.

In 2012 I plan to finish my Antonia Forest reread. I’ll also (since his new book is rumoured to be coming out this year) be rereading my way through the works of Alan Garner with these fine people. I’m also planning to read my way through Gramsci’s prison notebooks. I’ve only read exerpts before, and those were excellent.

By now it is probably clear that I’m not doing a best books of 2011 list. But I’ve been thinking about it, and am reasonably sure that were I to write such a list, Karen Russell’s Swamplandia! would top it.

5 Comments to “Irresolutions”

  1. Are people allowed to storm in here and *demand* a best books of 2011 list? Will it help if we chant “the people demand a list”? :)

    I hope you’ll be blogging your way through the Prison Notebooks and the Alan Garner books. Have only read the excerpts of PN myself, and am hoping to get off my ass and actually read the whole thing. And with Garner — I just reread The Owl Service, and I’m amazed by how much more I got out of it this time. I didn’t know he may have a new book coming out in 2012; this feels like a present inside a present since I haven’t even read all of his books as yet. Yay!

  2. I’ve got a paragraph or so on the better sff I’ve read over the year in Strange Horizons’ upcoming year in review piece. Will that do? Otherwise I don’t think it’s been a brilliant year in books. I was in a bookshop recently and there was a display of 12 ‘recent’ titles behind the counter. I realised that I’d reviewed three of them, and all negatively.

    New Garner is exciting! Apparently it’s a sequel of sorts to The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath. If you haven’t read those yet, consider this an order.

    I certainly plan to blog my way through Garner and Gramsci; plus I’ve been wanting for some time now to break up a reading of The Owl Service by episode on the TV series and read and watch them alongside one another.

  3. So you’re resolving to be irregular in 2012, Aisha? :P Sorry, couldn’t resist. I think 2011 release-wise was a bit better than how you feel about them (might be me being biased about two books that I cannot list in my year-end best of list without a conflict of interest), but I do hope you’ll try that particular book I mentioned to you on Twitter. I really want to see how others react to it.

    • Why not? It’s worked so far. ;)

      Which are the two you can’t list? If one of them is The Weird, I am yet to start reading it, but it’s a gorgeous thing. And I know there have been some fantastic books – one that I haven’t really talked about online (and I think I’ll want to read it again before I do) is Teju Cole’s Open City; have you read it? Subashini, who commented above, had a great piece on it here:

      I’ve already ordered a copy of the book you mentioned. Soon!

      • That and Odd?, which contains my translation of Leopoldo Lugones’ “El escuerzo.” Although I’ve had both for months in e-book formats, I can’t wait until 2012 when I finally get print editions of them to hold and show off. But yes, can’t claim those as “the best,” although I will mention them in my planned retrospective reading essay.

        Good to know you’ve already ordered that particular book :D

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