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Happy New Year 2011!

“2010 – The year I thought I lost my colours, but found them again through books… and blogging.”

For me, 2010 was the year I accidentally discovered blogging. Like all good ideas, I happened upon it by chance when I was reading a particularly entertaining review of ‘Lolita’; and it suddenly dawned on me, ‘why don’t I give this a try?’ Truth be told, I was going through some particularly nasty emotional problems (remnants of the evil 2009!) and in a position I call ‘zero gravity’ where I felt like I was floating off into deep space with nothing to anchor me to reality. So without thinking, I opened my first blog account and started to write myself out of my mini-depression. Before this I felt like all the colour in my world had been sucked out, but reading and writing eventually brought those colours back to me again. If you think of ‘The Wizard of Oz’, and the sequence where Dorothy is in Kansas; that’s how it was. For Dorothy, it took a hurricane and some munchkins to do the trick; for me it was a blog. It seems a little silly and a bit strong to say ‘my blog saved my life’, but in this instance it gave me those ‘little steps’ I needed to help find my true self again. And what better way to do it than through the very real and sincere love of books.   

With time I found the world of book blogging to be a particularly special community, because it was here that I realised people like me had a name (bibliophile) and what’s more, they almost always felt the obsessive urge to write down their thoughts on a book; which when you think about it isn’t what your average reader does now is it? Prior to blogging I had about 4 notebooks full of such scribblings and took a funny pride in them. For me, my reading journals are a year-by-year record of book-themed reflections on the world of literature and how this often manifests in real-life. I’m pretty sure most bloggers out there have experienced the phenomenon of the ‘book/ life collision’, when a read deals with the exact same problem that you are facing at that moment in time. It’s a pretty special moment, as it feels like the book has been ‘sent’ to you in some way.

In 2010 those books were ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe and ‘Disgrace’ by JM Coetzee. The former is the story of a proud and powerful tribal chief who is so strict in his adherence to the ‘old ways’, he is left absolutely powerless when the white man finally comes to town. In ‘Disgrace’, an equally nonchalant college professor learns the value and worth of mankind in ways he never dreamed he could. Both novels struck a deep chord, as we often lose perspective of what we actually are in the scheme of things. In ‘Disgrace’, people like animals are only pawns on a very, very large cosmic chessboard. In ‘Things Fall Apart’, the village chief loses to the white man because he is unyielding and impatient. Like the ancient chinese proverb says: ‘A reed before the wind lives on, while mighty oaks do fall.”

Despite it being a very gloomy year, 2o10 did go pretty fast, and it was a good thing it did! However, I am left with the one thing I was hoping I wouldn’t have: ‘review remnants’; which means there were quite a few books I didn’t get round to writing up about. Here’s my shameful list of laziness:

A Man’s Head – Georges Simenon
The Quiet American – Graham Greene
A Pale View of Hills – Kazuo Ishiguro
In the Miso Soup – Ryu Murakami
A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
The Good Soldier – Ford Maddox Ford
The Passion of New Eve – Angela Carter
Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World – Haruki Murakami
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles – Haruki Murakami 

It would have been nice to start with a clean slate (and an empty TBR list for that matter), but I suppose I will have to add my rogue review remnants to my ever-growing list of new years resolutions, which brings me onto:

Zee’s 2011 Reading Resolutions!

Yeah, I make one every year, and it usually ends up having things like ‘read x amount of books’, ‘read such and such writer’ etc. But this year I hope to be more realistic (so she says!). So here’s my modest 2011 list:

1. Gather and read ONCE AND FOR ALL all the really hard, thick books that I have lying around that I have ‘claimed’ to have read in the past: a.k.a the ‘Fat Fiction’ Challenge.

2.Renew the ’50 Books A Year’ Challenge for 2011, half of which will consist of the 1001 books challenge.

3. Attempt to be more ‘technologically open’ when it comes to literature. Which means trying out at least more than one audiobook/ ebook this year. It also means making more use of online resources such as Librivox. Even a technophobe like me must adjust a little to the changes around me; even if I have taken an oath to read the written word!

4. Finish reviewing the ‘remnants’ of the last year.

5. Start to review books for authors and publishers (haven’t done this before, but it would be fun!)

6. Continue to take books out of the library and SAVE MONEY! (This was last years resolution, which I did stick to – and broke only on very special occasions!)

7. Join more readalongs! I missed the Midnight’s Children one and would like to make it on time for another book.

8. Complete the rough draft of my novel. It’s been a very exciting time for me as I finally give shape to the story that I’ve been carrying around for the longest time.

and finally 9. Discover more book bloggers and post more often to the people I have subscribed to! I do follow a large number of blogs, but lately real-life has been getting in the way of my blogging and responses to some otherwise great, great topics I have been reading about.

So to wrap things up, I wish everyone in the blogosphere and beyond a very happy, peaceful and fun-filled 2011. I hope it will be a good year as I continue to meet more great people. Happy reading everybody!