I love all the different ways that we can be Readers (and Knitters) and the comments on my last post about Reading Projects really made me smile. A few of y’all are firmly in the No Way camp, a couple have committed to a project or two, and a couple are questioning. This post is mostly for those of you in those last two categories, and ME!
First, what is a Project? Anne Bogel says something along the lines of “a specific and finite plan in your reading life … to bring joy, knowledge, or satisfaction.” The key points are clear scope, specific timeframe, and a benefit to your reading life.
Projects differ from Intentions mostly in those first two points. Last year, I had only Intentions. I wanted to read for Delight, Connection, Growth, and Diversity. That was it; there was no scope and no endpoint. Along the way I committed to reading a few short lists before the prize announcements – and those became projects, but I didn’t really think of them as such (probably because I didn’t have this vocabulary). I also participate in multiple bookclubs and I intend to read the selections and participate in the discussions, but those aren’t projects either. I say all this not to debate the definition – or the merit – of a project, but to help clarify.
When I say I’m embarking on a Reading Project to become a Maggie O’Farrell completist, you now know that means I’m going to read all of her books. and when I say I learned yesterday that she has a new book coming out September 1 (!!!!) and I want to read the backlist before that date, you know I have specific timeframe. and I’m assuming you already know the why – I read three of her books last year and loved every one of them. I want to explore more!
Maggie O’Farrell has published nine books – I’ve actually read four, but one was 13 years ago and I don’t remember much. So this project is reading six books. and it works perfectly to read one per month from March through August to be ready for her new one in September. I shopped used books online last week and found great copies of five. I especially love these two hardcovers I picked up for about $5 each
I didn’t find a copy of I Am, I Am, I Am … I’ll keep looking. and since I’ve decided to read from earliest to most recent, I have until August.
I created a shelf on Goodreads (here) just so I could get all the covers in one place.
It’s a fun visual!
That shelf of books I included at the top of this post is actually three projects – O’Farrell on the left, Erdrich in the middle (not technically a project because I haven’t set an end date … it won’t be this year), and Birthday Bibliobrunch on the right.
I read through Claire Fuller last year and should finish Sarah Winman this year, too (it’s just two books – and I’ve already started one … it hardly feels like a Project 😉 ) I know Sarah’s also planning to become an O’Farrell completist this year … what authors are you completists about? and would you want to try others?