Monday, 3 January 2011

New Year’s Pledge for 2011

It’s always dangerous when I start devising plans and strategies for my site – they invariably go right out of the window at the first sign of an unexpected release. But, I’m starting to think this is a problem. When I started writing Civilian-Reader, my aim was to just scribble some thoughts down about books I’ve read and enjoyed or loved, on the off-chance that someone might read my review and decide to check this or that book out for themselves.

As has become clear, however, I’m starting to scribble considerably more than just a few notes and thoughts. My rate of reviewing has dropped quite dramatically, as I spend more time on each book and also as I’ve been ill and slowly recovering for some time, and because I’m focussing on finishing up my PhD.

Anyway, the point of this post was to let you know my proposed Pledge for 2011! I’ve posted another pledge on my fiction site, and that made me think of how I could approach this blog in 2011 and going forward. For fiction (which is much, much easier and quicker to read and review), I was planning to review an ‘old’ novel for every four new or upcoming releases I read and reviewed. This sounded pretty reasonable to me – so I’ve decided to do something similar for non-fiction. For every couple of new releases, I’ll take a look at something ‘older’ – be it a biography (let’s be honest, it’ll be presidential) or history.

This should, in theory, leave me with time to review older stuff that has either…

… been gathering dust on my shelves for a while – for example, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of Lincoln, Team of Rivals;

… is something I stumble across in either a bookstore, charity shop, or was recommended by someone else – for example, Bill Clinton’s My Life;

… is something I want to re-read – in this category will most likely be books by Matt Taibbi and others like that.

For this site, I also pledge to return to a higher read-and-review rate. I’ve been letting my non-fiction reading slide since my health took a dive, which means I have a bit of a backlog of books that publishers have kindly sent me, and it’s time I took a stab at whittling down the ‘to-read’ shelf.

That’s the plan, anyway. But, of course, everybody knows about the best laid plans…

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