The challenge should I wish to accept it – which I don’t, but I must – is to clear the library overflow area, which allegedly (😉) doubles as a bedroom and must be decorated. This is not simply a case of moving books elsewhere in the house, because there is nowhere for them to go. And this is the scale of the problem …

(Main) library overflow area – January 2022

(I’m starting this project later today. Honest. Would you like progress reports?)

There are approximately 450 books pictured, about a sixth of my collection. Many of these will survive the cull, so each holding in the official library (now renamed the warehouse because it contains more book-filled cardboard boxes than bookshelves) and other camera-inaccessible overflow areas must defend its right to remain. Best not to dwell on the trauma of forthcoming separations. Rather I shall focus on the beautiful new space that will emerge, (with desk and chair and some bona fide bookshelves?) after 450 books have left the building.

As for reading my way through the remaining stacks, I’m sticking with the same TBR management plan as last year.

  • Reading target remains at 80 to buy out time for the chunksters on my shelves.
  • 50% of my reading to come from the pre-2022 TBR.

As I’m going to be sending so many books to new homes, it seems crazy to buy more. But implementing a book-buying ban is setting myself up for failure. Do I have the willpower for a Project 24? That idea induces a panic attack when I know 12 purchases will be needed for my German-lit book group. So let’s make it a Project 50, which, although generous, still represents a significant reduction on 2022’s purchasing numbers. (And a 75% reduction on 2020 lockdown panic purchasing!)

Year-long Reading Plans

1. Shadow judge the 2022 Schlegel-Tieck shortlist, though I’m not pushing myself to do this before the winner is announced on 8th February. I want to re-read The Niebelungenlied before taking on Elfriede Jelinek’s Rein Gold and I have to read the first part of Brigitte Reimann’s biography, I Have No Regrets, before reading the second.

2022 Schlegel-Tieck Shortlist

2. It’s the 40th anniversary of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Could I read 40 books from my EIBF stacks to celebrate that? Probably not. Instead I’ll mirror Joe’s 20 for Seagull Books 40th initiative. 20 for the EIBF 40th seems manageable, given all my other intentions.

3. I’d like to catch up on multiple series and read a number of trilogies that have been lined up for years.

4. Reduce the backlogs from favourite publishers. (Charco Press, Europa Editions, Fitzcarraldo Editions, Folio Society, Fum D’Estampa, MacLehose Press, Peirene Press, Pushkin Press, Seagull Books, World Editions, to name but a few.)

5. Fit in a spot of re-reading including War And Peace for, I think, the 4th time. Only decided on this yesterday but the yearlong readalong organised by @SimonHaisell (Twitter) / @footnotes.and.tangents (Instagram) has finally proved irresistible. War and Peace used to be my all-time favourite but I dnf’ed it last time around. Trying the P&V translation was a mistake. This time I will alternate between the translation by Rosemary Edmonds (Folio Society Hard Copy) and the more recent translation by Anthony Briggs translation (Kindle copy for when I’m on the move).

6. Something whimsical like choosing books for the number of words in the title. One a month, starting with a one word title in January. Will I make it to a twelve word title by December? This would inject some unpredictability into the plan and I like the idea of that.

Specifics for Q1 2023

January : I have 2 titles lined up for both #januaryinjapan / The Japanese Literary Challenge and #NordicFINDS (though am concentrating on Finland for the latter).

February: #ReadIndies 3 maybe? Wait and see.

March: I’m going to focus on my backlog from MacLehose Press, because, quite frankly, their Spring 2023 catalogue is the best thing since sliced bread., and I have do some catching up before my MacLehose Press TBR gets any taller. Plus “Maclehose March” has quite a ring about it. Should I turn it into an event? Anyone want to join in?

Q1 2023 Great Anticipations

All from the aforementioned MacLehose Press catalogue. And there are four titles translated from German coming Q2 2023. As I said the Spring 2023 catalogue is a doozy!