Should I go on a Reading Diet?
At New Year I frantically scribbled lists of possible books I might read over the course of the year. I tried to include a variety and left plenty of room for random choices, and ended up with a couple of new challenges – not buying any books for the year being the toughest, and also reading my way through Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time to add to the ones already in progress – the Guardian’s top 100 novels of all time, and reading my way Around the World in 80 Books. I also planned to get through at least one more volume of Proust (The Guermantes Way) a Dickens or two, and to contribute to as many book group choices as my own and the local library’s book collections would allow for.
Finding myself halfway through February, I’m surprised to discover that not buying books has not been the big deal I thought it would be, but that’s maybe because all I want to read is Nordic crime, of which, luckily, I have a stash. I’m really craving the escapism (and snow), and my binge-reading has already clocked up quite a body count. Part of me thinks I should be a bit strict with myself and ration out the murders between more thought-provoking fayre, while the other half thinks, ‘What the hell!’.
I’ll need to mix it up a little if I’m to stick to my Anthony Powell schedule, read this month’s book group book – Graham Greene’s The Quiet American and get back on the Proust mobile, but I also wonder if picking up something lovely, inspiring, horrifying, quirky or funny might get me out of my rut.
After all, my crime stash won’t hold out forever at the rate I’m hurting through it, and once it’s gone, it’s gone! So, should I put myself on a reading diet? What would you do?