I have always loved reading, but I have not always had time to read.  I have also always loved to be surrounded by books.  I have fond and vivid memories of the shelves running the length of my bedroom wall when I was a girl, packed full of wonders and treasures, such as The Wind in the Willows, many of Agatha Christie’s novels, and old favourites like Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers series.

2016 was the best reading year I have had for a long time.  In recent past times, my work gradually took an ever increasingly tight stranglehold on my time, energy and head-space.  The result was that although I started many books, I rarely finished anything.  Happily, my circumstances have very much changed for the better, and one of the miraculous consequences has been that last year I was able to enjoy and, yes even finish, just over 50 books.

So I am raring to go with my reading in 2017.  Last year, I used a reading challenge to help guide my choices.  This was enjoyable to a point.  On the plus side, I read things I have wanted to read for a long time.  I also read books that I would not otherwise have picked up.  I found, however, that the self-imposed pressure to read particular books sat rather uncomfortably with me – I am the type of reader that likes to meander around, keeping a range of books on the go at any one time, and most importantly, keeping my options open.

I’m not going to take up that kind of challenge this year, therefore.  What I am going to do is make the most of the many unread books already on my shelves.  Browsing around our apartment over the festive period has reminded me that I have some gorgeous classics – some read, most not; some tantalisingly interesting non-fiction; and a wide range of modern fiction.

A selection of some of my classics

On a rough count, I have around 150 unread books, and that doesn’t even include the 100+ books on my Kindle.

Some modern fiction (and more classics) getting cosy with our DVDs

I have given myself an increased target of 72 books finished in 2017 – at this rate, I would not need to buy another book for about 4 years!

A selection of some of my to-be-read non-fiction

I should quickly say at this point that I do not intend to restrict myself from buying new books – now that really would be utterly unrealistic!  I already know, for example, that I will want to read up on the Reformation, for which 2017 marks 500 years since Luther nailed Ninety-Five Theses to Castle Church door in Wittenberg.  I am not religious, but am always interested in important world events such as this.

The other key historical event about which I want to read more is the Second Battle of Passchendaele, the 100th anniversary of which falls later this year.  Hub has been doing some genealogical research in recent months, and discovered that his great-grandfather died on 17 November 1917 as a result of fighting in this battle.  We plan to visit his grave in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetry at Étaples and I am keen to know more about this part of the First World War before we go.

What a sumptuous reading year I have ahead of me – I can’t wait! 🙂