Posted by: Corri van de Stege | January 1, 2009

Thursday – the first day of 2009

The year has started and started well.  I am reading Elif Shafak’s The Bastard of Istanbul, a wonderful novel and one of my Christmas presents.  I will write a review shortly, but I can tell you, it is good and to use one of the adjectives splashed on its cover ‘exuberant’.  A wonderful journey to Istanbul and the story of Armenian-Turkish conflict evoked through the relationships between members of a large extended family (Turkish and Armenian).  A full review is in the making.

My intentions for this year are: to read and enjoy reading, to pick up on my writing, to use the blog to keep in touch and relate my reading and writing experiences.  Although a little while ago I said I would sign up to some reading challenges I have had second thoughts about that.  There are so many books to read that can conveniently be registered as my own reading challenges, and for the time being I will simply stick to these.  I’ll continue with reading short stories, I’ll read some books from the Orange Prize Fiction lists, but I also want read more about writing and literature, I want to read some more essays, more new writers as they come along, but most of all, I want to give myself the time to develop my own stories and commentaries.  It’s not about the number of books read or about the number of books ticked off a list even, it’s more about using the little time I have to follow my own meandering through the wonderful world of books and writing and to use some of that time to do more research for my own stories.   I will continue to meet with fellow readers and writers through the Sunday Salon, the friends on my blog roll but also through more use of Stumble Upon, which I have recently discovered and which can bring you to the most surprising sites.  For example, just now I hit the Stumble button related to my own site and came up with Bryan Appleyard’s article on Poetry and the Imagination, which I have immediately added to my favourites. 


On my list to read this year are some books left over from last year, still patiently waiting on my pile, such as

Haruki Murakami’s What I talk about when I talk about running

Mohammed Hanif’s A case of exploding mangoes

Pascal Mercier’s Night Train to Lisbon

And many more as you can see.  Meanwhile, of course, the wish list grows by the day and in view of an imminent birthday I have been forbidden to order any of the books on that list, as it has been used on a trip to bookshops by son.  So, I’m waiting patiently and with great expectations.   And it’s only just been Christmas.

Having dropped out of my writing course it feels as if I’m going to have lots of quality time to read and write at my own pace.  However, there’s also work, of course – starting tomorrow. 


  1. Wonderful post. I think our reading and writing intentions are quite similar and I see several titles on your TBR stack that are also on mine. I can’t wait to compare our impressions. A very happy 2009 to you.

  2. Thats a big stack of books. Before I switched to eBooks, my desk looked like that to


  3. Lisa: yes, I noticed. I look forward to your posts and comparing. Best for 2009 xx
    eBookGuru – mmmm I’m thinking of the switch, but I love the pictures I can take from the ‘real’ stack… 🙂

  4. Happy New Year!

    I bow out of the Man Booker Challenge with just one book short because I couldn’t get into neither of the remaining selections. I’m going to be more cautious with reading challenges this year. I might chime along and pick up a few books but probably won’t overdo it. I like to be spontaneous. 🙂

    I like how you relate my reading and writing experiences through blogging. Until i started blogging, both reading and writing have been very private, keeping to myself in the Moleskine notebook. Blogging forces me to make the connection between my random skeins of thoughts into making them coherent and readable to other readers.

    I plan to tackle a few epic chunksters this year like Les Miserables and Gone with the Wind. I try to find at least one reading partner to read these giants.

  5. Ditto, SC. I’m avoiding lists. And will essay to take more time reading the books that I do pick up. I feel I race through books sometimes, just to add them to a list.
    Truly I love the picture of your desk. Glad you still “buy in” to the actual book copy though I realize that e-books are the way (and also eco savvy).
    I will lolly gag along with you on wirting and reading and look forward to your posts as always. Happy New Year.

  6. Very happy new year to you, Seachanges. I love that pile of books and am interested to hear what you make of the Marukami (which I haven’t read but gave to my sister-in-law for Christmas). I’ll be following your reading and writing with interest as always.

  7. I love making lists and reading plans, but also feel free to break them.I don’t like challenges as they make me feel like my reading is a chore when it’s for pleasure.

    The Bastard of Istanbul sounds interesting, I hadn’t heard of it so look forward to hearing about it.

  8. All: thank you for your new year’s wishes – fondly reciprocated! xx
    Matthew: yes, there’s something intimate about writing and reading and linking the two – blogging provides that wonderful opportunity to think aloud and dust off some of the words hidden in notebooks. Blogging provides a great practising opportunity.
    Oh: I very much look forward to jollying along with you! That’s the way I’m going to approach it this year – no more forced reading, just enjoyment!
    Pete: I loved some of the other Murakami I’ve read so far, so I’m looking forward to picking up another one. Well, there are in fact two in that pile!
    A devoted reader: I so agree. This year I’m going to stick to the spontaneous reading list, i.e. one that I can mess about with if and when I like!
    The Bastard of Istanbul is getting better as I go on, so it really does come recommended.

  9. Happy New Year to you! It sounds like you are indeed off to a good start with this year’s reading. I have yet to begin my first new book of 2009 (too many half-read books from last year still to finish up!), but recently added “Night Train to Lisbon” to my TBR list, so perhaps that will be it. I like the sound of your reading intentions. I’m eschewing all challenges this year and going my own way as well. Although I appreciate the impetus that challenges give me to pick up books I might otherwise not have read, I’d like to recapture something of the more organic path from book to book that I followed in my pre-blogging days.

  10. Best wishes and happy reading/writing in 2009!

  11. Delicious looking stack of books, and I am glad to hear that it’s growing…. nothing makes me happier than a clutter of books! Looking forward to hearing more about your encounters in reading…

  12. I tend to avoid the challenges myself, as I always feel too pressured by them. I did allow myself one, The World Citizen challenge, in hopes of opening up a new horizon in my reading life and overally knowledge (as I did last with the Short Story Challenge).

    The Bastard of Istanbul is going on my list immediately – with my Armenian heritage, it sounds particularly interesting. Will look forward to your review.

    Happy new year, and happy reading!

  13. I tend to avoid the challenges myself, as I always feel too pressured by them. I did allow myself one, The World Citizen challenge, in hopes of opening up a new horizon in my reading life and overall knowledge (as I did last with the Short Story Challenge).

    The Bastard of Istanbul is going on my list immediately – with my Armenian heritage, it sounds particularly interesting. Will look forward to your review.

    Happy new year, and happy reading!

  14. Kate S: and a happy new year to you too. I look forward to reading your views on A night train to Lisbon. I will get round to it this year some time! Good to see you back and look forward to your posts.
    Ex Libris – thank you. And to you!
    Anno: I so agree – nothing better than a clutter of books as you say. Nice to see you here and wishing you much reading pleasure.
    Becca: I love your enthousiasm: two comments for the prize of one 🙂 . I think I overdid it with the challenges last year and it took the fun out of some of the reading. I hope you continue with ‘Write on Wednesday’though… I enjoy your posts! Keep it up. Hope to get up the review of the Bastart of Istanbul shortly…

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