new reading (anti-)goals

So it’s pretty much halfway through January now, but I’m going to do this post anyway. Besides, they’re not necessarily 2019-specific anyway, so what does it matter?

Being the reflective person that I am, of course I already thought about what I want to achieve in the new year, what I want to change, and what I want to improve on. I just haven’t gotten around to writing it all down, which has actually made me a bit anxious because I do like having things written down in case I forget or lose sight of something.

Having all this written down — and published here — is, I suppose, also good for accountability. (I have vague recollections of the last time I posted about goals/resolutions, and certain friends would, now and then, ask me how I was going with them, so I really did have to make some regular effort.)

[The original post turned out much longer than I expected, so I’ve split it in three. This post and the second one (which I’ll schedule to publish next week) are about literary and intellectual goals. The third post, about health and fitness, will be published a week after the second one. It actually might work in my favour to stagger these posts like that, since it might serve as a reminder of what I’m supposed to be doing.]

First off, I’m perfectly aware that at the end of 2017 / the start of 2018, I decided that I wanted to read Ulysses at some point in 2018; and I am even more aware that I simply did not follow through with this. I do own a copy, and I did pick it up at some point last year, and I believe I read the first page, but I just wasn’t in the right mindset/mood to start such a novel, so I put it down in favour of something else.

The other night, by chance, I came across a YouTube video titled “Why you should read James Joyce’s Ulysses”, and I watched it in the hopes that it would inspire me to tackle this classic tome. The video expounded all the wonderful things about the novel — the way the writing style varies between chapters, the fact that all of the events of the novel take place within just one day, the very intelligent humour and witty prose, and so on and so forth — all of which sounded great, but actually made me quite afraid to pick up Ulysses again. If anything, the whole thing just sounds very intimidating now.

But I am still intrigued, and I am determined to at least make a good attempt at reading Ulysses …I just don’t think this will be the year for it. I’ve decided to take the pressure off for this year, and might pencil it in for next year or the year after instead. I’ve got a number of books from friends to read, as well as several I acquired on my own, and I’m sure it is more than enough to satiate my reading appetite for a long time.

I’m currently reading The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and once I’m done with that, I’ll decide what’s next. I’ve learnt that I can try to steer my reading but it’s better to just read whatever feels right at the time. However, I am strongly considering re-reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy — or at least the first novel in the set — since the first and only time I’ve read them was when I was still in school, and, apart from being a rather long time ago, I suspect that I might appreciate and understand everything a bit more now than I did then (though I was still quite in awe of it all back then too).

6 thoughts on “new reading (anti-)goals

  1. I majored in English Lit and am proud to say that I never read Ulysses. [Nor did I read Atlas Shrugged which is another one of those overblown lengthy tomes.] I don’t schedule ahead which books I’ll be reading, either. I hold myself accountable for reading literature each day. That’s my goal. What the literature is depends on my mood.

    • Haha I suppose I won’t feel so bad if I never get around to Ulysses then! Are there other classic novels you’d highly recommend (or recommend to avoid)?
      I like your approach to reading. I need to try to make it more of a daily habit

      • One classic that I liked, but many people do not, is Don Quixote. It’s a long read, but I found it interesting. I’ve never read Moby Dick, but would like to. Somehow it was never required reading in any of the courses I took, so I missed it. Those are the only classic novels I can think of at this late date, loooong after college.

        • Haha surely college wasn’t that long ago 😉
          I’m gonna add both to my TBR list. I’m sure I’ve contemplated reading Don Quixote before, but must’ve gotten sidetracked, and never went back to contemplating it…

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