Over the years, I’ve found myself becoming interested in more and more different types of fiction – which I’m pleased about, because I can appreciate more; but it does make it more difficult to balance everything. This hasn’t bothered me too much up to now; but I’ve promised that I will read more works in translation, and I want to make that a decisive change in my reading. But there are other aspects of my reading habits that I want to maintain; to make sure it all happens, I’m going to impose a structure on my reading for the first time.
The first part of my plan is that at least two out of every three novels, novellas and story collections that I read in 2014 will either be in translation, or be Anglophone writing from outside an ‘Anglo-American’ default (that phrasing is deliberately woolly, so that I can have some flexibility of interpretation if I want).
The second part of my plan for 2014 is to alternate between male and female authors. My reason for doing this is that most UK-published books in translation are written by men (I’m sure I read somewhere that the gender split is 80/20), and I don’t want my reading to fall into the same pattern.
(Incidentally, I am not going to include non-fiction or anthologies in this structure; where I read those, it’ll be as a separate ‘track’ in my reading. Doing this may unbalance the whole, but shouldn’t do so by too much.)
So that’s how I’m going to read in 2014 (I’ll have a Reading Log page on here to keep track of it all). I think it should enable me to keep the balance I want while shifting my reading in a new direction. I’m looking forward to it, and to sharing what I discover on here.