by Rana Asfour
Happy New Year everyone. Not one to dwell on the past, but in case you missed my twitter and instagram feeds, I managed to complete 100 novels and 20 children & YA books last year, whoop whoop - queue applause ;)
So moving on, now that a new year is upon us, I, like all readers, will be looking for new adventures and challenges. Note to self: will try posting this earlier next year ;)
Reading is every book nerd’s sport, and like any sport, no matter how much you love it and enjoy doing it, it will inevitably suffer from its dull moments. So to spruce up reading, here are some of the things that I’ll be taking a look at to mix it up a bit and make book choices more fun! You’re welcome to share yours in the comments section.
1. The book or the film?: There are many adaptations scheduled for release this year. So why not make a list of all those that are coming to a theatre near you and read the book before you watch the film. To make it more interesting you could set up a book/film club dedicated solely to discussing the books that have made it to film - old and new! I mean, come on, if it’s not at the theatre, it can be at yours or at a friend’s with popcorn and tortillas! Best excuse for a get-together with guaranteed success every time!
The two I’m looking forward to this year are:
‘All The Bright Places’ by Jennifer Niven – This was one of my favorite book choices last year. If the film starring Elle Fanning is anything like the book, then pick up a box – a box! – of tissues to take in with you! Superb!
‘The Circle’ by Dave Eggers – Read the book, watch the film! That was an order, not a statement by the way. You’ll never – I mean NEVER – look upon social media the same way ever again. Scary & eye-opening. Can’t wait!
2. Read a classic a month – that’s 12 classics in a year if you want to be specific. Some are doorstoppers anyway so you might not want to do more than one a month - David Copperfield by Charles Dickens comes to mind – or you could dedicate the whole year to them classics and get down to actually reading all the books that some of us pretend to have read or have meant to since forever.
The two I’m looking forward to are:
‘1984’ by George Orwell – Is that a collective gasp I hear? – If so, you’re right! I’ve never got round to reading this and it pops up in quite a few conversations I have every year. Not sure if that says a lot about the book or about the company I keep, but I’ve decided that this will be the year that I’ll finally set matters right with this book!
‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury – judging by my two choices of unread classics, you might deduce that I have a thing about numbers in titles. Quite frankly you’re right. I’ve never been too keen on them and this might explain why I’ve avoided these two choices altogether. Numbers remind me of Maths, which I was totally appalling at in school; I blame this on my teacher who was the most appalling of all. But water under the bridge now I say and so I shall overcome this infantile aversion and tackle my demons once and for all.
3. Take a book pledge: This is great if you’re just getting back into reading and needing a focus or target with which to work towards. There are many great sites out there that will help you along your way. Here’s one I’ve been impressed with to set you on your way.
The 50 Book Pledge: The Savvy Reader team created 50bookpledge.ca so readers can keep track of the books they read, see what their friends are reading, earn fun badges, win prizes, and more!
4. Discover translations: Reading translations allows you to expand your literary world and introduces you to new authors as well as new styles of writing. It’s a great way to spice up any reading challenge and to get you thinking about the world from a completely new perspective.
Translations I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in 2016:
‘The Door’ by Magda Szabò, translated by Len Rix (incidentally has a film too starring Helen Mirren)
‘The Collected Fictions’ by Jorge Luis Borges translated by Andrew Hurley: possibly the best Christmas present I received this year and one that I’m in no rush to finish but will savour word by word - thank your Ricardo Bertolotti :)
5. Experiment with different genres: So I’m really into historical fiction, but that doesn’t mean that’s all I’ll read. It’s a wonderful thing delving from one genre to the other and seeing what’s out there. You’ll be surprised when by the end of the year you make friends with genres you never thought you’d like.
Personally I was never into dystopian fiction. But I loved reading these titles in 2016 and will be looking out for more:
‘The Natural Way of Things’ by Charlotte Wood – ‘Contemporary feminism may have found its masterpiece of horror’ said The Guardian.
‘Welcome to Night Vale’ by Joseph Fink & Jeffery Cranor – This was gifted to me by my youngest brother as a Christmas 2016 present. It set the mood for how open I was going to be in terms of book choices for the coming year. (Incidentally this year, same brother gifted me with THE BEST coffee table book EVER which every reader worth their words should own: ‘On Reading’ by Steve McCurry with a foreword by Paul Theroux – same brother got me the New Agatha Christie murder mystery ‘Closed Casket’ by Sophie Hannah as well as ‘Britt-Marie Was Here’ by Swedish writer Fredrik Backman and the Man Booker Prize 2016 winner ‘The Sellout’ by Paul Beatty. Talk about mixing it up!
6. Accessorize: It’s the small things that count towards making reading more fun. Match your bookmark to the genre of book you’re reading (check these out on buzzfeed) or make one yourself. Make fake fun book covers like this guy did HERE although if you watch the video, beware the consequences.
7. Read BookFabulous: As you and I are well aware, there are so many more things to do that can spruce up your reading – too many to list here. But along the year, BookFabulous.com promises to keep dishing out tips here and there and bringing you interviews with authors about their exciting new releases that you may want to add to your list.
We’re ALWAYS happy to hear what you’re reading too so don’t be shy, TELL US in the comments section below.