Friday, 2 January 2015

50 books in 2014: How Did I Do?

Happy 2015!

I love making lists and planning and looking forward so, hardly surprisingly, I'm also a big lover of making new year resolutions. But, while I'm great at looking forward, I'm not so good at looking back and celebrating (i.e. remembering) what I've achieved (i.e. done) over the course of a year.

Although it wasn't my biggest achievement of 2014, I'm very pleased I completed my resolution to read 50 books over the year. You can see the full list of books I read here. I would have liked to have written some thoughts about each one, but it didn't really work out that way - hey ho. What the whole exercise really taught me was the importance of habit. Over the summer, when I was working from home, I got into the routine of reading for an hour between finishing my work and making food for the evening - just look how many books I got through in June and June! Then my schedule changed and I simply fell out of the habit of reading books until I got my act together again at the end of October.

Looking back over the list, what really struck me was how many of my favourites were memoirs: A Testament of Youth, Love, Nina, Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys and Love Lessons. A another highlight, Her Brilliant Career, was also based on biography. Perhaps then it's hardly surprising that the novel I enjoyed most this year, Mrs Hemingway by Naomi Wood, is fictionalised biography.

But the fiction wasn't entirely a wash-out. I'm really pleased I picked up Of Human Bondage as well as reading my first Dorothy Whipple and Angela Thirkell books, both of which I'm looking forward to coming back to. 2015 started with a great day for my reading too, as I was able to get through all of Alice Hoffman's marvellous Seventh Heaven in an afternoon. That's the first book on my 2015 list. I've also upped my numbers and am aiming to read 51 books this year - these new year resolutions are all about improving, right?

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