Notes from the Trenches – One Month Later

A small selection of the books I have yet to read…

I haven’t bought any new books since 4th January – but today, one month later, I broke my resolution. I bought two new books. Part of me is very disappointed in myself, but I’m mostly just happy to lift my self-imposed book buying ban – and I think my reasoning for doing so is sound.

It got to a point where I had ten books left to read (not counting one given to me by a dear friend which will feature on this blog soon in my next ‘Come At Me, Books!’ challenge). Most of these books were about Soviet Russia – the Gulag, the Great Terror, the Iron Curtain – and while I find the topic fascinating, the prospect of reading these books back to back was alarming. Ranging from almost 1000 pages to around 300, most of these books were very long, and considering their subject matter I knew it would be more of a hard slog than a fun reading experience. Reading should not be a slog or a chore – it should be fun and exciting, and I should look forward to reading rather than simply trying to tick books off of my TBR list. With all of this in mind, today I bought two much shorter, and arguably lighter books – Not Working by Lisa Owens and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I needed shorter books, specifically fiction, as a matter of literary urgency.

I may have failed to keep my third resolution, but I’m sticking to the others – witness my two blog posts last month, as well as the fact I only bought two books, one of which I plan to begin reading today. Both of them look very entertaining, and are very different to another few weeks in the Soviet state. What I found particularly interesting about purchasing these books was that it took me a long time to find them – I looked at a lot of books before finally choosing them, and not just because I wanted to have a good browse. Nothing seemed to grab me, and even some that did I ended up putting back, to be added to my TBR for later. Has my self-imposed ban made me more sceptical about which books I choose to spend money on? Who knows. All I can say at the moment is I look forward to reading some books set in the present rather than the past.

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