Having reflected back on 2015, it’s also time to look ahead to 2016. I’m not the kind of person who makes New Year Resolutions. The coldest, darkest time of year is not the best time for me to make plans or commitments, particularly those involving the kind of dramatic life changes that require significant amounts of effort and willpower. So all I will do on that front is continue to commit to trying new things, having adventures and living life as joyfully as I can.
The TBR bookcase
I thought it would be interesting to take a New Year look at the state of my To Be Read pile. Well, To Be Read bookcase. And the piles next to it.
That is a lot of books waiting to be read, and a lot of awesome books at that. And that’s even after I had a good weed through it last week and put aside three boxes of books to take to the charity shop. Some of that must be down to me continuing to buy the books I would like to read at a prodigious rate, despite having 3/4 of my reading in 2015 dictated by review copies and my book club.
I don’t feel weighed down by this at all. I love having choice. It means that when I finish a book I have the luxury of being able to pick the perfect one to suit my mood at that exact moment. And while I’m lucky enough to be financially comfortable enough to buy books without having to think too hard about it, I will carry on adding to the pile. The day may well come when I might be less fortunate, but at that point I’ll have a resource to draw on.
One of my reflections from last year is that there are a lot of books by authors that I love that I have chosen not to read yet. Part of that is knowing that I will only have the experience of reading them for the first time once, making me want to save and savour them for when I will really appreciate them, or want the certainty that I will not just enjoy, but will love a book and be guaranteed transcendent escapism. The pile on the left are some of those books. (Guy Gavriel Kay’s Under Heaven came out in 2010, which shows you how long I’ve been hanging on to that one.) But it seems crazy to spend my time reading books I’m a bit indifferent about while leaving ones I’d love on the shelf unread. So, this year, I’d like to make a bit of a dent in that pile.
The pile in the centre is one I will definitely read. These are books for my book club for the first part of this year. There will be a couple of additions to that pile – The Snow Queen by Joan D Vinge (ordered, and on its way) and The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. I’m particularly looking forward to getting stuck into a bit more PKD, and to re-reading Vurt, which I haven’t read since it came out.
The pile on the right are all books that I also have in ebook format, usually because they were on offer or part of a Hugo voter packet, like the Chu. It’s likeliest I’ll get to some of these on holiday.
This is the main section of the bookcase. There’s lot of good stuff in here too, and that’s just the front row that is visible. I’m particularly looking forward to carving out the time to read the Ian McDonald and Aliette de Bodard, not least as both are GOHs at this year’s EasterCon, which I might go to.
I’d be very interested to hear if there is anything there that you think I should be moving closer to the metaphorical top of the pile, to be sure to read soon.
The Ravelry Queue
Another area I’ve been reflecting on is the current state of my Ravelry queue. At 1,144 patterns there is little chance that I’ll make everything on it. I use it more as a “short”-list of patterns I like to rummage through when I have startitis. But it could do with a serious weed nonetheless, to remove the things I really have no intention of ever making.
There are a few queued items on the first page of the queue worth touching on:
This is the cardigan I bought the tweed yarn at New Lanark to make. But I want to lengthen the pattern so that the garment finishes at mid-thigh rather than on the hips. That will need a bit of thought. And some sums.
I fell in love with this colourwork octopus sweater the moment I saw it. There are some issues with the pattern (the pattern writer suggests doing the whole thing stranded, which is a very inefficient use of yarn for the design, and would make it unbearably warm) so it will also need some thought. But I have the yarn and would love to get on with making it.
It’ll be interesting to come back this time next year and see how different the To Be Read bookcase looks, and what progress I’ve managed to make towards these projects.