One (book) challenge ends, another begins

The last book on my 2016 reading list was Purity, which I started but really strongly disliked. I’m not going to finish it. My book list this year included a lot of literary fiction, which has always been a category which I’m hesitant about. Not because of the length or the language, but because of the common themes. It seems to be a genre where everyone is miserable and tortured, in a very upper-middle-class sort of way, and I don’t generally find that kind of novel either illuminating or rewarding as a reader. There are always exceptions, and I’ll keep reading books I’ve heard good things about, but I don’t plan to focus on the category in the future.

I considered doing a few different things next year; the Guardian has a list of the 100 most important novels written in English, about a third of which I’ve read already at some point, so I thought of doing a multi-year challenge with that. I may revisit that idea in the future, but for 2017 I want to stick with current writing. Amazon just released a list of the 100 best books of 2016 (their editorial list, not the best-seller list based on customer purchases), and there’s about 20-something of them that particularly interest me. I figure if I can narrow it down to 24 books, that’s two books a month and entirely doable in a year. And since they’re new but not brand-new, I’ll be able to get most of them from the library without much waiting.

Oh yeah, I still haven’t finished War and Peace either. Total bucket list stuff. I really wish the new, highly-recommended translation I have in print was available in audiobook, because I think I could crank through the whole thing a few minutes at a time much easier in audio.

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