I sat last night trying to decide whether to read or to write a blog post, and reading won out. I've been on a bit of a reading kick since New Year (or really, since Christmas). Hoping to get through a few more titles than the 13 I knocked off last year. That seems pretty meagre, but I only managed ten in 2010 and 12 in 2009. Something about having a job and a business and a family (and subscribing to the New Yorker!) that tends to distract. Anyway.
So, I've made it through three titles already this year: The Tiger's Wife, by Téa Obreht, which I was reading at New Year. Magic realist fable set in the Balkans. Snowdrops, by A.D. Miller - expatriate take on life in modern Moscow, complete with unfolding nastiness. And The Sorceror's Apprentices: A Season at elBulli, by Lisa Abend - fly-on-the-wall season with the stagiares at elBulli. A useful read that serves to stifle any desire to work in a posh kitchen. Not a bad start.
I'm still working on my three "devotionals" - the saints, the Deakin and the Sunday Miscellany book - those will all finish together at the end of April (hurrah!), and my current main read is The Great Sea, by David Abulafia, which is a human history of the Mediterranean from the beginning of history. I find it really fascinating - I am now just up to around the time of Christ and it has really served to put classical history in perspective. Something about being able to breeze through Alexander and Caesar and Hannibal and put their times and accomplishments in outline against the greater sweep of human history. I like how Abulafia points to traces of the ancient world that still exist today. You get a sense how the work to build a harbour, for example, changes both the geography and the economy of the modern world. Or how these trading cities were established around the rim of the Med (the book aims to stick to the coasts, skipping over some of the history of the big empires because it is not particularly coastal).
And I've still got the New Yorker and the Economist to deal with. I'm doing better with the Economist these days, thanks to the iPod app...
Would I care to set any targets? Maybe 24 books this year is possible? I've got a shelf full of unread books, and a wishlist full, and I'm kind of thinking to let the library fill in many of these titles to avoid buying more when our shelves here are so full and in need of a proper cull.