Plans for my reading in 2011

I’m not one for resolutions as I find it most trying and difficult to stick to them. So there won’t be any reading resolutions for me in 2011. I do, however, have a number of reading projects that I want to start this year. Some may take a few months to complete, others may take a year or two to finish. I like these reading projects because invariably I have to put together a list for each one and I do like making and working my way through a list.

Here are the plans and possible reading projects for 2011:

  • African literature  will account for 40-60% of my reading.  This year, I want to read more Southern African, francophone and lusophone books.  I also want to find and read obscure and out-of-print books.
  • European fiction, especially translated fiction by women writers.  I also enjoy Eastern European fiction so I want to broaden my knowledge of the region’s literary traditions.  I’m looking for books from Estonia, Albania and Belarus.
  • Australian and New Zealand – This is going to be a two-year project.  My knowledge of Aussie fiction is limited to Malouf and White.  My interest in the region’s literature has increased greatly since discovering Aussie bloggers.  I’m quite excited about this project.
  • American literature – I want to concentrate on a select number of literary writers.  I’m particularly keen on reading women writers that I have overlooked.
  • Caribbean literature – I love Caribbean literature and, for many years, books from the region were a staple part of my reading.  Not so these past couple of years.  I want to rediscover island literature. Wondering what I’ve missed.
  • The Classics – There are gaps in my knowledge of the classics that I want to fill.
  • Experimental fiction – The idea here is to challenge myself with some “difficult” experimental fiction.  I did a similar project years back and I discovered Italo Calvino, one of my favorite authors.
  • Rereads of some of my favorite books.
  • Short stories – I will continue with my 100 short stories/year project.
  • Seconds, Thirds and Fourths – To read more books by authors that I’ve recently discovered.  This list includes Hilary Mantel and Colm Toibin.
  • Eassys – I read very little non-fiction. I want to remedy this with essays in 2011.
  • A reading of Derek Walcott’s Omeros
  • It goes without saying but I plan to read more translated fiction.

Those are the plans for now.  It is subject of change as other fancies strike.   I will participate in a number of challenges this year.  There will be more on those later in the coming weeks.

Do my plans look interesting?  Any suggestions?

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40 comments

  1. I love to read about reading plans and projects. Yours are very inspiring! I’m also concentrating on African literature this year–I know very little about it, so I’m excited to have discovered your blog and look forward to reading through the archives–and Australian fiction, along with much else. May I recommend my two most favorite Australian novels, Peter Carey’s OSCAR AND LUCINDA and Murray Bail’s EUCALYPTUS?

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    • Thanks for the visit and for the comment. I love reading plans and project. I will add the two books you suggested to my Aussie reading project.

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  2. That is quite a list of projects! I think I would feel overwhelmed with so many, but they are all so excellent. I’ll be interested to hear what you select to read, as most of those areas are ones in which I am deficient in my reading. Enjoy!

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    • Well, it will not be overwhelming as I don’t plan on finishing all the projects this year. Some may even take two years :). All the best, Kinna

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  3. I can’t wait to see the African, Caribbean, and Australian/New Zealand books you decide to read! 🙂 And I want to read more European lit this year too; have you read The Siege? I have it out right now, so I thought of it when I saw Albania. And I see Purge has already been suggested. No ideas for Belarus I’m afraid!

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  4. I second the blogger who suggested you read Purge. Oksanen is Finnish-Estonian and writes in Finnish. The book is simply amazing. Difficult subject matter as in all (3, Purge is this far the only one available in English) of her novels, but her writing is absolutely fabulous.

    About Albania: Many of Ismail Kadare’s novels are available in English.

    Greetings,
    Tiina

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    • Thanks for reminding me about Kadare. I think my list for Eastern European reading is shaping up nicely. I will post the list in about a week or two. All the Best, Kinna.

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    • Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler is one of my favorite books. I love his experimental style. Do check him out. His other work, The Baron in the Trees, is also really good.

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  5. I really like your blog – filled with good reading suggestions
    have you read zadie smith’s essays? they are on my list for this year!

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  6. I wasn’t going to make any goals for myself, but I keep seeing other’s goals posts and thinking, yes, that too. I look forward to reading your thoughts on whatever you read next. I don’t know anything about Australian/New Zealand literature, nor about Eastern Europe. I have so much to read!!

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  7. Kinna, you’re my hero. I love readers who take on groups of literature, as in geographical, because it means they will more clearly understand the specific culture whence the writing arises. And as a publisher of innovative American literature I doubly laud you for tackling experimental fiction. For this, I’m happy to send you one the books from our current list: Unfinished: stories finished by Lily Hoang, with art finished by Anne Austin Pearce. Hoang asked writers she respected (predominantly innovative) for their story fragments and then proceeded to finish them in the style in which they were begun. Contact me through our website and I’ll send you the book. And keep reading!

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    • Thanks for your kinds words and also for dropping by. Yes, I like to focus my reading around geographical and linguistic groups. It gives me a sense of who the people are and the issues that they are grappling with. Thanks for the offer.

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  8. Wonderful plans Kinna … and I guess some can overlap each other, eg experimental fiction from one of the nationalities you want to cover.

    If you need help with the Australian end – idea, locating books – just let me know.

    And, out of interest, what women writers are you thinking of for your American group?

    Anyhow, good luck with it all…

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    • Yes, I’m actually relying on overlap so that I can contain the lists that I come up with. I don’t want to get overwhelmed. I was thinking of the following women writers for my American group: Cynthia Ozick, Marilynne Robinson, Annie Proulx, Bobbie Ann Mason, Gish Jen etc. I’m very familiar with the works of African-American women writers but find that I’ve been neglecting white and Jewish women writers. And I need to remedy that.

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  9. I like that your projects are ongoing – which is nice and you can revisit each one as the mood takes you more than having a set timeframe. Good luck with them and Happy New Year.

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    • Jillian, your reading journey inspires to try and read more and to be selective and focused with what I choose. Your journey is quite ambitious too 🙂

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  10. Fantastic plans Kinna! I can’t wait to see what you end up reading and reviewing here. A ton that will end up on my wish list I’m sure. I’m especially interested to see the Lusophone and Francophone African lit that you read.

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  11. I like your goals — challenging but achievable. I’d love to re-read some old favorites as well this year, I just have to fight off the urge to read the newest book immediately upon its release.

    For your Eastern European project, I’d recommend Purge by Sofi Oksanen. It’s actually translated from Finnish but the story itself is set in Estonia.

    Good luck and happy reading

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    • Thanks for recommending Purge. I’ve added it to my list. I’m really looking forward to rereading some old favorites. You could join me with a list of your own?

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  12. Wonderful plans kinna ,I m trying for some more African fiction this year ,I ve a book out from library at moment suit you its a collection of female eastern European writers will tweet you title as it escapes me at moment .I ve few Australian. Books lined up for next year .all the best for 2011

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  13. I’ll follow you on the Australian reads, which I know nothing about. I read Peter Carey who was shortlisted for Booker but I wasn’t thrilled.

    Every year I try to read more African literature during the month of February in observance of the Black History Month in the US. I’d like to see what you’ve got up for this sub-genre.

    I don’t have a plan but I do want to include a book or two from 20th century literature every month. I’m very spontaneous and follow my whims. 🙂

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    • This year’s Black History Month coincides with Toni Morrison’s 80th Birthday. I’ll probably do a retrospective of her works. I do like and follow your reading. BTW, I share your intense appreciation for Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita.

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