These are not reading resolutions. Writers promising literary gifts lead me astray too easily for these ideas to be fixed in any way.
This year I read widely covering fifty or so writers, concentrating my reading more deeply only twice on Houellebecq and Anne Carson’s work. In 2015 I’d like to read more deeply into the work of some of my favourite authors: alternative Dante and Homer translations (and Adam Nicholson’s The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters) , more Ballard’s short stories, always more Beckett, John Berger, Roberto Calasso, more Anne Carson, the new Tom McCarthy, Robert Musil’s diaries, Hélène Cixous, Coetzee, Jenny Diski, Dostoevsky, Marguerite Duras, Pierre Hadot, Houellebecq’s new one if translated next year, Kafka’s short stories, László Krasznahorkai, Clarice Lispector, Bourdieu, Doris Lessing, Nabokov, Alice Oswald, Robert Macfarlane, Nietzsche, Atiq Rahimi, WG Sebald, Thomas Mann, Christa Wolf and Virginia Woolf.
Beyond these ‘old chestnuts’ (as Beckett called his favourite authors) I’m looking forward to unexpected surprises within the pages of the following new books, either missed in 2014 or due in 2015, by authors I have not read before:
- Kirmin Uribe – Bilbao – New York – Bilbao
- Claudia Rankine – Citizen: An American Lyric
- Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor – Dust
- Ceridwen Dovey – Only the Animals
- Karin Wieland (trans. Shelley Frisch) – Dietrich & Riefenstahl: The dream of the new woman
- Can Xue – The Last Lover
- Anna Smaill – The Chimes
- Han Kang (trans. Deborah Smith) – The Vegetarian
- Paul Celan – Breathturn Into Timestead
- David Winters – Infinite Fictions: Essays on Literature and Theory
There are several other writers whose older works I’d like to get around to exploring sometime soon including Jens Bjørneboe, Martin Shaw, Ivan Illich, Eva Hoffman, Ivan Goncharov, David Abram, Ágota Kristóf, Rebecca Solnit, Tomas Espedal and Elfriede Jelinek.
As always, distractions are greater than my ambition, but if I manage to take in a decent selection of the above I’m expecting a good year in reading. There are several other titles I have my eye on but I’m mindful of your patience and Molloy’s admission that ‘if you set out to mention everything you would never be done.’
Clarice Lispector aside (I hated The Hour of the Star), I could have a very happy 2015 with your list and would make the acquaintance of many writers I’d like to read but have not yet found time for. Dante and Homer rereads are definitely possibilities for me, but I love your idea of alternate translations. Glad to see that Francisco Goldman book getting such good attention of late; I hope to pick it up from the library tomorrow, but I’m looking forward to reading him again since the first thing I read was quite powerful.
I enjoyed The Hour of the Star, but I wonder if anything I read of Clarice Lispector will match the thrill of Agua Vida. (I’ve a similar concern with Sebald, that I peaked with The Rings of Saturn, and nothing else will live up to its brilliance.) With Goldman, I debated whether to start with Say Her Name which I also wish to read.
I possibly read the best Rhys first, nowadays I try to avoid doing that.
I’m going to have to digest this post more slowly, so for now I’ll just hope you get a good balance of the planned and the unexpected in the New Year.
Where by the way do you get your news on upcoming releases? I’m reasonably plugged in, but many of these remain new to me (and your choices often don’t overlap so much with mine, which makes them interesting). General antennae or is there anything more specific?
Mostly from those I follow on Twitter, Max, which is why I am reluctant to leave Twitter, despite being very uncomfortable with my lack of discipline in its use. But also from the handful of blogs I follow.
Makes sense. I tend not to do that so much, as I’ve found for me in other fields that where I was deeply plugged into what was coming up and the new hotness and so on it somehow became a barrier to my enjoying the current – it can become a sort of consumerism, where one is focused more on the next acquisition rather than what is already available.
Not saying you fall into that trap, but I did which influences me now.
I look forward to your 2015 reading! I am on the wait list at the library for On Immunity. It promises to be a good one!
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