2017 Reading Plans: Hello, boys

After numerous self-imposed reading restrictions in 2016, I’m leaving 2017 wide open in terms of what and how many books I read. I plan to reintroduce men into my reading life, after a 2016 of #readwomen. I toyed with the idea of reading only men this year, but would rather have some freedom.

I have some projects in mind, of course. This wouldn’t be a book blog without needless complication of the simple act of reading!

  1. Author of the Year – or, The Complete Works of…: Adam at Memento Mori read all of Cormac McCarthy’s books, in order of publication, in 2016 and he’s doing it again this year with Faulkner. Some other Booktube types are taking the challenge with other authors, like Steinbeck. I don’t want to settle on an author just yet; rather, I’m going to read debut novels and embark on the project when the mood strikes. My shortlist includes:
    • Gabriel Garcia Marquez (debut novella The Leaf Storm)
    • David Adams Richards (debut novel The Coming of Winter)
    • Charles Dickens (The Pickwick Papers)
    • Haruki Murkami (Hear the Wind Sing, #1 in the Trilogy of the Rat)
    • Jean Rhys (The Left Bank)
    • Dostoyevski (Poor Folk)
    • Zadie Smith (White Teeth)
    • Jonathan Franzen (The Twenty-Seventh City).
  2. Franzen in February: Speaking of the Fran Man, I do plan to reprise Franzen in February in some manner, and you can help! Get in touch if you want to write a guest post, particularly if you’ve never read Franzen and want to review one of his books. I would love someone to do The Corrections! Last year my Franzen first-timers were not impressed by either Strong Motion or Freedom.
  3. Canada Reads: The longlist is out, the “theme” is announced. Though I’m not sure “the book Canada needs now” is a theme. At the very least, I will watch, and possibly, do a shadow or parallel Canada Reads with WriteReads – check out their latest podcast for details.
  4. Authors in Edmonton: Emily St. John Mandel and Heather O’Neill: Yep, I’m finally going to read Station Eleven, as it’s the 2017 Macewan Book of the Year. Hype be damned. And O’Neill is giving the 2017 Kreisel Lecture at the University of Alberta, which will force me to read more of her work – I’ve been afraid that nothing can surpass Lullabies for Little Criminals.
  5. War and Peace Summer Readalong: No details just yet, but after completing a thousand page readalong last year, naturally I’m going to go for a twelve hundred pager this year. Watch this space.

One thing I didn’t realize til I wrote this all out is that by reading men again, and focusing on debuts, I’ll end up reading a lot of novels by men in their early-to-mid twenties.


Ew! The semi-autobiographical musings of a 23 year old!

Wish me luck!

(If this is tl;dr you can check me out on Booktube talking about my reading goals here.)





  1. julietbailey980

    I think the debut novels theme is a really good idea, particularly as they’re often not an author’s most famous or well-loved work. You’ve inspired me to come up with some projects myself to focus my reading a bit this coming year 🙂

      • julietbailey980

        You’re right there! I don’t have an ereader so often have to look for things second hand, which is easier said than done as they can be really expensive once they’re out of print!

  2. Rebecca Foster

    I started Dickens’s bicentennial year (2012) with the best intentions of reading all the rest of his books I hadn’t read yet…and all I managed was 1/4 of Dombey and Son, which I still haven’t finished. So that was an epic fail.

    I think Zadie Smith’s whole oeuvre would be a very achievable goal for the year for you. I think Jean Rhys also has a limited number of titles, and all fairly short.

      • Care

        I was thinking that when I saw your list. I was thinking GO ZADIE! do NOT go DICKENS!! if you wanted to do it all in a year, I mean… I have yet to read Zadie Smith – I hope to start with her latest soon.

      • lauratfrey

        I’m not trying to do anything in a year. I just want to start this year! I’m just waiting for my hold on White Teeth to come in at the library…

  3. Kelly

    Tolstoy ❤❤❤. I hope you love War and Peace- AK is still my favorite of his, but there’s so much to love in W&P. Enjoy!

    PS also Station Eleven is great and believe the hype on that one. Great choice.

    • lauratfrey

      Yeah I’ve really only heard good things and there wasn’t any big backlash, so I think it’ll be okay 🙂

      I read AK years ago and loved it. Really looking forward to W&P!

  4. Nish

    I have Purity on my TBR list. Might schedule it for February. Thanks for talking about Franzen in February, I wasn’t aware of this.

    • lauratfrey

      Well it’s just my own little event, so most haven’t heard of it 🙂 If you feel like guest posting at all, let me know, or if you post something on your blog do let me know and I’ll share it!

  5. Robert Minto

    “This wouldn’t be a book blog without needless complication of the simple act of reading!” Love it.

    Starting with a debut novel to determine who deserves to be your completist project is a brilliant idea. I wonder who you’ll settle on.

  6. Rick @ AnotherBook.blog

    I’m kind of shocked you haven’t already read through David Adams Richards’ bibliography. Just naturally. Dickens would be fantastic, but he has SO MANY. I actually have a complete set of his novels that was published in 1907. It’s pretty amazing. My wife’s Dad’s sister had them somehow, and their family was just going to throw them out before I snagged them.

    I’m in for the Shadow Canada Reads, by the way! Pretty pumped up for that.

    Excited to hear you settle on War and Peace. That’s a book I’ve been “going” to read for years. Now I’ll get to do it!

    (Did you watch the mini-series?)

  7. The Paperback Princess

    About 5 years ago, I tried to read War and Peace. Got to page 968 and realized my copy was missing about 60 pages – it skipped from 968 to 1016. Because of differences in translation, it took me a while to remedy and by that time, I’d forgotten too much and would probably have to start again. All that to say, if you do the War and Peace readalong, count me in!
    I have been thinking about finally reading Station Eleven as well so will look out for your post on that!
    And I agree about the lack of theme in the Canada Reads theme this year. That seems way too open to interpretation but I’m looking forward to it all the same.

    • lauratfrey

      Oh my gosh that would be so annoying! Something similar happened to me with Les Mis. I was reading two different editions without realizing one of them was abridged… lol. I probably need to reread it!

      • The Paperback Princess

        It was the worst. That was the first time I really realized how different translations could be. I remember I went to the library to take out another copy to read the 60 pages and got it home and there were only like 870 pages in that version. Mine had 1200!
        You should totally re-read Les Mis. It’s wonderful!

  8. Naomi

    I love your Complete Works Project – there are many authors I would love to read all of. Narrowing it down would be hard. I’m curious to see who you’ll choose. Dickens would be quite a long haul…

    Not sure what I think about the CR theme this year, either. It could be good to have it more open – they often get off the theme at some point anyway. It’s not the most exciting theme ever, though…

    Station Eleven really is a good book!

    As for War and Peace, I might just watch the mini-series. 🙂 I read AK a few years ago, and it really didn’t do much for me. I might be alone in this.

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  10. buriedinprint

    I’m kinda-sorta-maybe reading through DAR’s Miramichi stuff and marked one for this year just so I don’t forget about wanting to do it (because they’re so sad, but I keep picking them up anyway), but I don’t want to get too serious about it either. This year I am reading through Louise Erdrich, however, and a couple of other authors are going to take up more reading time than the rest too. Plans work best for me because otherwise I do other things in the evenings and the books languish. I’ve read W&P but lately I’ve been wondering if I should reread because I don’t remember ANYthing about it, other than how long it took to read it (just a few chapters each week); but then I wonder if the same thing would happen again and maybe I should just read something else instead, and then that’s just what happens. I’ll read the CR picks as usual, but the themes just don’t work for me either *squints*. Good luck with your projects, Laura!

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