A whole new year of book reading! What shall I do with it?
When I thought about what my book resolutions would be for 2020, I thought I should first be honest about how well I did with my resolutions for 2019. Last year I said I would resolve to 1) finally read some Ellen Glasgow, Edna Ferber, and Rumer Godden, 2) broaden my geographic horizons by reading books that took place in locations outside of New York, California, and England, and 3) read all the fictional works of Zora Neale Hurston.
Welp. On the on hand, you could say I did poorly at my resolutions, or on the other, you could say I did better at my book resolutions than most people do at their regular New Year’s Resolutions, which is true enough! While I did finally read Ellen Glasgow (and was disarmed by how much I admired her writing), I still haven’t gotten round to reading Ferber or Godden (and I bought ANOTHER Ferber – a first edition of her short stories – last year).
I will say that I did a pretty good job of broadening my geographic horizons – within the confines of the United States. I read books taking place in South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Vermont, Kentucky, and North Carolina.
And as for Hurston, I did a pretty good job – I had read her complete short stories and, of course, Their Eyes Were Watching God (it’s the law) already. In 2019 I ready Jonah’s Gourd Vine and Moses, Man of the Mountain, but I did not finish Seraph on the Suwanee, which would have finished off all of her fiction. (Now, to be really complete and read all her nonfiction as well, I’d need to add Dust Tracks on a Road, Mules and Men, Tell My Horse, and Barracoon). Jonah and Moses both gave me a lot to think about, so it was a worthy exercise indeed!
For this year, I think I’d like to resolve to read more books by older writers. I noticed that I read a LOT of debut books and books written when the authors were quite young last year, which was exciting, but I’d like to balance the scales a bit with writers on the other side of their career.
I’d also like to focus on reading more 20th century novels by women writing outside of the U.S. and England. Obviously it makes sense that most of my library pulls from those two countries, but I’d like to try to read more books in translation this year. I have several I’ve already bought that have been winking at me from my shelves…
My last new resolution for 2020 is to read more genre fiction – particularly mysteries and science fiction. Why not?!
And, as a holdover from last year…I really am going to read some Edna Ferber and Rumer Godden this year. Like people who promise to quit smoking every year – THIS YEAR I MEAN IT! The year of Ferber and Godden. Saratoga Trunk, here’s looking at you!