Apparently, the key to keeping one’s new year resolutions is to make them attainable. Therefore, Number One should be to drink more gin. Unfortunately, Madame Geneva tends to have a detrimental effect on my productivity levels. Sigh. My other wheeze has been to link my resolutions to my literary habits, so here goes:
1) Declutter my bookshelves. Of course, books can never be clutter, but it has reached the point where we really can’t accommodate any more volumes without building a mezzanine level in the lounge. I’m not sure that would really work in a Victorian terrace. After moving from a much larger house, I have already liberated nigh-on 1,000 books, which has reduced my library to a more manageable 1,339 tomes. The slight flaw in the overall plan was marrying a fellow bibliophile with a similarly large collection. The joy that is LibraryThing quickly identified all our duplicates and took some of the pain and effort out of the process. However, I’ve now developed an insatiable love of Trollope, who was a prolific writer to say the least, and my shelves are now groaning again. I’ve been a very good girl today and sorted out 50 books that are destined for Amazon Marketplace and the charity shop. Normally, they’d all go to a good cause, but I’m having to start feeding the piggy bank in preparation for my PhD, which will no doubt involve even more acquisitions. Ahem.
2) Read more. My partner is slightly alarmed by this one, as she fears I shall be permanently obscured by a Victorian potboiler. Fear not, I have calculated that the disappearance of Strictly Come Dancing and It Takes Two from our screens should enable me to read at least another two books every week.
3) Listen to more audio books. My poor old eyes could do with a rest after a hard day’s webbing, so I shall avail myself of the excellent resources offered by Piratelibrary and LibriVox. I’m better at retaining information I’ve heard rather than read, so I might actually find this a more effective way of studying.
4) Publish more books. Well, actually I didn’t publish any in 2008, which is not really surprising given I was frantically trying to write my dissertation. Victorian Secrets started as a hobby in 2007, but I think there is scope to develop it further now that I have my weekends back. I’m planning to produce critical editions of some forgotten 19th-century works and would welcome suggestions and indeed Victorianists who fancy writing introductions and notes.
5) Use the library. As my 2008 Book Meme shamefully reveals, I borrowed only one library book during 2008. Actually, I did borrow another one, but some pesky blighter reserved it before I had a chance to look at it. I don’t have any excuse for retaining non-Victorian books, so there’s no reason why I can’t start using the lovely Jubilee Library like other people. Gulp.
6) Attend literary festivals and book readings. I absolutely adore literary events, so it makes no sense that I don’t devote much time to such activities. We attended a couple of sessions at the Charleston Festival last year and were as happy as clams. We definitely need to go back and also try to squeeze it a trip to the Ways With Words festival in glorious Devon. I have also just put all the City Books events in my diary and am very excited at the prospect of Dame Joan Bakewell in March.
7) Use Bookmooch. I started using Bookmooch a while ago, but the lack of members at the time meant there wasn’t much worth having. I believe it has since grown in popularity and hopefully I can find some good homes for a few of my books and also acquire some more Trollopes.
8) Blog more! I’m very much a novice and am still trying to gain my blog legs. I’m reliably informed that practice will eventually result in something that people will actually want to read, so let’s see!
Finally, a very Happy New Year to you all. May it be healthy, prosperous and, of course, book-filled.