~~So, this is the end. 2013 will soon be over, along with the end of the challenge I’d set myself, almost 365 days ago. I’d made myself a long list of books to read: they ranged from Roald Dahl to George Orwell, Charles Dickens to Sylvia Plath, and I went about reading this as I could, in the hope it would make 2013 more… memorable? As good as 2012, maybe? Oh, I don’t know. I don’t think I really ever knew. It was just a silly little challenge with which to occupy myself, originally. I didn’t want to make much of it-it was about reading, and sharing with the community and hopefully educating myself, in a way, with these classics and not so-classics. And I did this, I think (or at least I feel as if I did!)
But, the thing is, this silly little challenge turned out to be more than I’d bargained for, and more than I’d hoped for. The original version of the List continued to expand and evolve and adapt to what I was feeling, and whatever appealed to me at the time. Though it seems stupid, my reading tastes seem to flow with the zeitgeist of 2013: when the royal baby was born, ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ sat on my lap; after Margaret Thatcher died, I picked up her autobiography; once Christmas arrived, I clutched ‘A Christmas Carol’. And, truly, it did seem to make 2013 more memorable. By connecting these books with the events, I remember them vividly: all the words and sentences and pages turned, enjoyed and savoured and appreciated and understood. 2013 did seem to be steeped in this wonderful glow of reading and rifling through books and discovering authors and information and styles I’d never even known before. 2013 really was a year of discovery, and so much more. In this sense, 2013 was a good year.
“It could all go well. It could all go badly. The only way to find out is to try.” It was a year ago I wrote those words, and relished that sentiment, but now it all seems so long ago. 2013 was a busy year, and a strange year, not necessarily a momentous year but one that mattered all the same. Maybe 2014 will be so as well. I’ve published the List(s) now for all to use, for all to read their way through just as I did; well, maybe in a more effective and successful way than I did, after all. So, if you’re feeling brave, or prepared in some small way, or avid for some new books, I would honestly recommend you try these classics for yourselves. You might enjoy them all, you might find some insufferable, but I can almost guarantee the experience will be one you’ll appreciate in time to come. Even if these are books to read before you die, there’s no time like the present, and nothing to stop countless re-readings.
So, in conclusion, 2013 has been, for me, devoted to books and reading, but on this New Year’s Eve it’s important to look to the future. The future is coming, after all, and there are new books to be read and adored and dog-eared. So, now 2013 is over and ‘Auld Lang Syne’ rings out into the night, we can raise our glasses and toast the New Year with the knowledge of books past, present and future. Maybe by this time next year, you too will have read through the List, or not, but all the same I hope 2014 is a good year.
I hope you’ll enjoy it. I hope I will too. Happy reading :-)