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Your Top Five Planned Reads for 2013

I am not totally sure what this forum is for, but assume it is to take up Apple's idea.  I could have started a different thread for this, but I think it will suit.  Today I took books out of boxes to put on the shelves.  Most of my books have to remain in the boxes but I have two shelves to place the ones that I most want to read.  I have about fifty books out  and they include Pickwick Papers, Pepys' Diaries, Tom Jones, The Alexandria Quartet, various NZ novels, some non-fiction, a couple of Trollopes and Hardys, etc.

But the five I most have in mind for next year are:  Siegfried Sassoon's Memoirs of a Infantry Officer, Great Expectations, Middlemarch, Wolf Hall and The Forsyte Saga.  But lots of those are rather large books and probably won't be the first to reach my hands when I look for something to travel with.  

Among all the ones I have put on the shelves I think I will consider I have done well if I manage three or four of them over the year, but perhaps having them sitting there will be an incentive.  

Anyway, what are the top five books you are planning to read in 2013?
Joe McWilliams

I have no idea what I'll be reading, Caro, and that's part of what makes it so exciting!

As we are going through a quiet time on the Board I would be happy to read both personal choices and group reads as a way of making us all feel involved with each other at the Café de Bigreader! So in that spirit I plan to read a Proust and a James while for group reads I am happy to try an Ibsen play – as already suggested – plus writers from say the South American and the Indian sub-continent.

Caro, thanks for this - I did indeed set it up as a response to Apple's post, and meant to come and start something off, and in my usual disorganised way (a better word than lazy!!) I have failed to do so.  But it's intended as a forum where people can start discussions on top five anythings - Apple had suggested favourite novels (and least favourites!), but there is scope of course for all sorts of things.

Thanks for starting something off, and I love your five reads for 2013.  Will have a think about mine - but one will definitely be Proust, as I failed to join Castorboy in that this year!

I will continue my Charleston, interspersed with whatever I fancy. Plenty of choice. A group read would be nice. I always enjoy those immensely and I know the library in town has Ibsen.


As ever, many of my planned reads are re-reads: I have firmly come to believe nowadays that with any book of quality, one really only comes to get to know them through re-reads, and that a single reading is never enough. I plan to read all six Austen novels this coming year, in order of publication. I also want to read through the major Ibsen plays, also in order of publication. (And I’ll set up threads on those plays, seeing that there appears to be some interest in turning these into group reads.)

I’ll also try to squeeze in a re-read of Middlemarch. There’s an essay in The Cambridge Companion to Wordsworth that convincingly suggests parallels between Middlemarch and Wordsworth’s The Prelude: it would be interesting to read Middlemarch bearing this parallel in mind.

Of books I haven’t read before, I’d like to read When the Time is Right by Buddhadeva Bose, and The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki. This should form a fascinating contrast, as they are both family sagas set over several turbulent years, and both featuring a group of sisters; and both were written in the late 40s. But one is Bengali and the other is Japanese: although they cover the same era, the culture and the history are very different. It should be a fascinating comparison.

I would also like to have a go at The Canterbury Tales in the original.

How much of this I’ll manage, I don’t know, but the good intentions are there. So a Top 5 of “To-Be-Read” may look something like this:

Persuasion by Jane Austen (If I read them in chronological order, and manage to read this, it’ll mean I’ll have read all the others also)

Middlemarch by George Eliot

When the Time is Right by Buddhadeva Bose

The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

I don't think I have any particular books planned for 2013 - I suppose a lot depends on what I get for Christmas. Like Mike A, I seem to be reading a bit more non-fiction at the moment so would like to continue that trend. I do try and read as least one "classic" each year and I may go for Middlemarch seeing as though there are a number of you planning to do the same.

Ps. Looking forward to finding out what books everyone receive for Christmas!

I don't have a specific list as I tend to make up my mind about the next book according to the mood I am in, but if pushed, I think I can safely say that these will figure on my list:

1.   I need to finish off 'The Avignon Quintet', which I meant to read this year, but I still have two books to go. We have talked in the past about books we like to read in winter or at Christmas; this one for me comes in the category of books I like to read on a hot summer's day, and we seemed to run out of those very early this year!

2.    I make a point of reading a Dickens' novel every year : I have no particular order, so some get re-read more frequently than others. I have been interested by some of the recent discussions on 'Dombey and Son', so I think that is likely to make its way to the top of the virtual pile.

3.   Last Christmas, when I first received my Kindle, I down loaded 'Du Cote de Chez Swann', in French, with the intention of adding the other volumes in due course. I made a good start, but then got sidetracked, to the point where I think Proust might rather have admired my capacity for procrastination. Next year I will set myself the more manageable target of finishing this first volume.

4.   My NWR group reads a book each year as part of the programme of discussions. This year, we have chosen 'The Chalice of Blood', by Peter Tremayne, which apparently is a murder story set in Ireland in the Middle Ages. I'm not entirely convinced by this choice, but it was strongly advocated by a friend you is a retired archaeology lecturer, so I am optimistic that it will at least have some sort of historical credibility.

5.   Over the past few months, I have been gathering together the various volumes of Margaret Oliphant's 'Chronicles of Carlingford'. I now have most of them, so it seems like the right time to begin reading.

I hope I can fit all of the above in during the year, but no doubt other books will press themselves on my attention. I doubt very much if I shall have books for Christmas, but you never know?

Himadri, are you planning to read 'The Canterbury Tales' in the original, or in a translation. I have always had this down as a possible candidate for my Desert Island book. When I was 18, I could make a pretty good shot at reading Chaucer,but I have become chronically lazy so that now I would have to pretty much relearn the language from scratch. A spell on a desert island would just about get me reading fluently!

I read the Neville Coghill translation of The Canterbury Tales years ago, but this time, I want to go for the originals. I don't have any experience of reading Chaucerian English, but having tried a few excerpts (with the aid of a glossary) I think I'll be able to pick it up quickly enough. I think I may also need to get myself an audio recording of some of it, just to get to know what it sounds like. And if this venture is successful, I might go onto Troilus & Cressida - which, I'm told, is the only source Shakespeare didn't improve upon!

Hi Himadri, If you're reading the Canterbury Tales in depth, could I recommend the Cambridge University Press individually published tales? They're in the original language, with helpful glossing, and a detailed essay for the introduction. I really think you'd enjoy them. I have a number of them, and if you wanted to borrow them, I'd be happy to post to you (I don't anticipate rereading for a number of years).

I have got a copy of the canterbury tales in the original text and I didn't get it at all and found it really hard to understand and I gave up on it until I got a copy of them in modern English but I sat and compared the two texts and its remarkable doing that you can see what its meant to say and it sort of all becomes clear.

Probaby classed as cheating but it worked for me!

verityktw wrote:
Hi Himadri, If you're reading the Canterbury Tales in depth, could I recommend the Cambridge University Press individually published tales? They're in the original language, with helpful glossing, and a detailed essay for the introduction. I really think you'd enjoy them. I have a number of them, and if you wanted to borrow them, I'd be happy to post to you (I don't anticipate rereading for a number of years).

That's very kind of you Verity, and I may well take you up on this offer. I have seen the CUP editions to which you refer, and yes, they see excellent. I have the hardback Everyman edition, and this has notes and glossary as well, and, although these aren't as detailed as the notes in the CUP editions,I didn't find the bits I've read so far too hardto follow. I was thinking also of getting myself The Cambridge Companion to Chaucer: to approach a work such as this, one does, I think,needed e awareness, at least, of its cultural background.

Right now, I'm thinking of starting on my project to get a better understanding of philosoph: I haven't had my customary post-Christmas bookshop sessions yet, and I have my eye on Anthony Kenny's New History of Western Philosophy, and think it would be interesting to read this alongside Radhakrishnan's Indian Philosophy. But I think I might get round to Chaucer perhaps later this year.

I've got to run now (train to catch!) - but I'll be in touch!

My top 5 reads this year will be taken from my newly installed TBR pile, at the moment (as I mentioned somewhere else) I am still reading A Casual Vacancy, whichI have been "reading" since November time, I say it like that as I literally have had no time whatsoever to read, so that has to be my number 1 choice as I was enjoying it before all my reading time evaporated, it has been so long since I picked it up though that I may have to restart it to pick up the thread of it.

My other planned reads are: Weirdo by Cathy Unsworth - this looks a cracking read and I am itching to get my hands on it. I am looking forward to diving into the set of  7 "Game of thrones" books I bought, Germinal I am really looking forward to as that really grabbed my attention and sparked my interest when it was discussed on here. So depending on how you look at it that is more than a top 5.  

Another book I want to get my hands on this year is Bringing in the Bodies the follow up book to Wolf Hall, as despite it being a confusing read I enjoyed it very much and i am eager to read this one but I am yet to buy that one...maybe a purchase with some of my christmas vouchers is in order!
Green Jay

I haven't got a top 5 planned reads, but I have just started a  dedicated notebook, small enough to take with me when I go to the library or bookshops etc where I find my mind often goes blank. I am writing down anything I come across that sounds really interesting - mainly from reviews and mentions in the press, not so much recommended by friends as that can be tricky. Though I found one reveiwed that a friend had asked me about, so I put that title in. I've already filled several pages and only started it today! I think this will help me be more organised, especially about non-fiction books and fiction that is outside of my usual tastes, which I'd like to read, but am unlikely to stumble across just browsing in my usual categories. It will also help if people ask for ideas for presents, as I have usually bought the main things I want to read for myself.

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