Plans for December, Plans for January

My first plan for December is to Be Calm. Forget about any worries or troubles. Focus on peace. Joy. Books.

I’ve already written a poem, sort of, for the Virtual Advent Tour on December 7. I always ask for the date of my son’s birth, because it’s nostalgic to me, but the post focuses more on my hope for us all. Come back and visit me then, if you like.

A long while back Tom mentioned he had yet to read Great Expectations. While I’ve read it, I think the title is perfect for the new year, n’est ce pas? Who doesn’t hold great expectations, with the reminder that if one doesn’t let them go one could suffer the consequences? And so Tom and I have a tentative plan to read this great work of Dickens’ in January.

Then last night I read that Richard is hosting a read-along of Roberto Bolano’s 2666. I did a miserable job with The Savage Detectives, and I’m hoping to fare better with this. Look at all the awards alone which it has received:

A National Book Critics Circle Award Winner
New York Times Book Review 10 Best Books of 2008

Time Magazine’s Best Book of 2008
Los Angeles Times Best Books of 2008  
San Francisco Chronicle’s 50 Best Fiction Books of 2008
Seattle Times Best Books of 2008
New York Magazine Top Ten Books of 2008

Finally, there is Tony’s January in Japan Challenge which coincides with the last month of my own Japanese Literature Challenge 7. I started out fabulously, reading several books in the summer; but fall has proved rather overwhelming, and there are several Japanese books (shelves and shelves) I have yet to devour. I believe I’ll start with Ozeki’s new book, A Tale for The Time Being, and then continue discovering Mishima.

I hate to look too far ahead for then I feel somewhat obligated by choices set in stone. On the other hand, with no plan how can you reach a goal? These three goals in the next three months should be obtainable. If not wonderfully fun.

17 thoughts on “Plans for December, Plans for January”

  1. Your picture of Mrs. Burton reminds me that I have no idea how old Mrs. Havisham is supposed to be. I picture her as ancient, but I have no idea if that is accurate.

    So right away, there is something to look for in Great Expectations this time.

    Yes, a lot to look forward to.


  2. “I hate to look too far ahead for then I feel somewhat obligated by choices set in stone. On the other hand, with no plan how can you reach a goal?”

    Very wise words, Bellezza! I try to have just a minimum of “reading rules”.


  3. Bellezza, December and January for me will include – Japanese Literature, French Literature, some movies, enjoying the summer in the garden and sunshine fun. I'll post some of my Japanese reviews soon – just finishing off my Indian themes for now. enjoy your 'great expectations' read.


  4. It's difficult to strike the right balance between planning and spontaneity, but your plan sounds perfect. Great Expectations is my favorite Dickens.


  5. I think I need to have more achievable goals this coming year – while still challenging myself outside the familiar. I intend to read more Japanese and German literature, for instance, and I would love to read all of the books I currently have on my bookshelves and/or Kindle.


  6. Can you read all the books at the same time?
    I still have Bolaño's 2666 at the bedside. But then also Proust's Budding Grove and Lessing's The Golden Notebook. I'm committed in finishing The Golden Notebook.


  7. Ahh, Great Expectations. I cannot wait to see the adaptation with Helena Bonham Carter! Wishing you lots of peace and joy this time of year–and all year. 🙂


  8. I think coming to a novel with no idea of our conceptions as having validity is a good way to start. We have an open mind, easy to adapt to what the writer informs us. I'm looking forward to Great Expectations as well, and even though it's a reread I hardly remember enough to converse upon it even now. Plus, you always add enlightening points of view.


  9. Like so many other things in life I'm finding that the less rules there are the happier I am. Why is it I cannot stand to be boxed in to the confines of “ought to” and “should”?


  10. I have so much to read in the Japanese literature genre. I don't know how time escapes me as it does, I guess school starts and I'm immersed in the requirements of teaching. Looking forward to ending 2013 with Japanese thoughts together.


  11. It's my favorite Dickens' novel, too, but I haven't read that many. I think I can only remember Great Expectations and Bleak House. Which was, indeed, rather bleak throughout.


  12. Ah, Marina, you need to join in CB James' challenge which encourages us to read only the books we already own (plus, I think you can use library copies?) from January 1 until April 1. A most worthy goal, for those of us who want to read Japanese literature and accomplish the lowering of our stacks.


  13. No, Edgar, it will have to be a book a month most likely; Great Expectations for January, 2666 for February, and whatever else I can squeeze in. Although I would like very much to focus on Japanese literature as well. Probably during Christmas break.

    I tried The Golden Notebook and it was less than golden to me. But perhaps I didn't give it a fair chance. As for Within The Budding Grove I read about thirty pages and thought, “Nor for me now.” In the summer, perhaps. When things are as slow as Proust's pace. And, peaceful.


  14. I'd like to rent the film, too. I'm not even sure when it was made, I just loved the picture of her as Miss Havisham. Well, I like Helena in anything, really. Wishing you lots of joy, too, Andi. Loved the photograph of your dear son mesmerized by the Christmas tree which you put on facebook. Oh, the eyes of a child…


  15. I've also decided that December needs to be a calm month for me. After a busy last three months, it feels good to relax. Hope your December works out great.


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