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PROJECT TWO: 2013: The Year of Suggestions

Okay folks: time to get ahead of the game. 2013 will shortly be upon us and everyone will be blogging and tweeting and texting and even talking (God forbid) about their New Year’s Resolutions.  And most of them will not be punctuating it correctly either – the horror.

Firstly, I want to let you know that clearly, right now, I can’t Blog the Long List.  Well, okay, I could blog Long List…. I am sure there are plenty out there.  But for me, the Long List will always be the Man Booker.  And I may well blog this again later this year.  But I am kind of attached to this title.  So I am keeping it. And I don’t want another word said about it.

I am also strangely attached to blogging about books.  When I first began the Long List project, the blogging was kind of a side effect, mostly useful to keep me focused.  But then – as I have blogged previously – I realised that blogging made me read books and think about them differently.  For the last few months, since the project ended, I have missed that.  I have had to use my over-zealous judging nature on people, and it turns out they don’t like that all that much.

The other thing I have realised, in retrospect, is that I got a little distracted from the purpose of my blog.  It was great getting followers from all over the world.  But that wasn’t the point.  The point had been to expand my reading horizons and think about books in a different way.  I was supposed to become a better person.  Best crack on with that then.

To this end, I am naming 2013 The Year of Suggestions.

raising hand

I commit to only reading books, during the whole of 2013, which have been suggested to me by others.  Any others, from anywhere, whether I have met them or not.

To get this underway, I asked fifteen of my friends for one suggestion and committed to reading each as long as a) they were fictional and b) I hadn’t already read them.  My friends are a mixed bunch, but each terribly literary, which should make this an interesting starting point.  So far I have:

  • ‘Tomas’ – by James Palumbo (suggested by Alex Roussel) 
  • ‘Forbidden Love’ – by Norma Khouri (suggested by Helen Harper)
  • ‘Confederacy of Dunces’ – by John Kennedy Toole (suggested by Ben Samuel)
  • ‘The Colour of Milk’ – by Nell Lawrence (suggested by Jo Samuel)
  • ‘Lucky Jim’ – by Kingsley Amis (suggested by Ralph Scott)
  • ‘Giants in the Earth’ – by Ole Rølvåg (suggested by Betsy Reed)
  • ‘Life of Pi’ – by Yann Martel (suggested by Elle Perry)

So not all the way there, but enough to get started.  Further suggestions always welcome!

A footnote: I think it is good to start with books suggested by friends.  Though I risk alienating them by being rude, obtuse and judgmental  I risk this on a day-to-day basis and most of the guys above have stuck around for quite some time.  However, if in the course of 2013 I do say anything unnecessarily horrible about a favoured book, feel free to berate me.  I will take it on the chin.


About bloggingthelonglist

An avid reader, but I tend to stick to what I know I am comfortable with. Trying to break out of the comfort zone...

5 responses »

  1. Can’t bring myself to second the Tomas suggestion (I just didn’t enjoy it…) – but can recommend two former Man Booker shortlisters for you:

  2. Pingback: PROJECT TWO: 2013: The Year of Suggestions « thejaminthemiddle

  3. Pingback: PROJECT TWO: 2013: The Year of Suggestions | Gra Machree – Heather Brach & John Samuel

  4. Ok, I’ve thought carefully about this and I’m going to recommend Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh I don’t have a ‘favourite’ book of all time and many of those nearest my heart you’ve almost certainly read anyway, so I have chosen this because a) I’m pretty certain you haven’t read it, and would not be likely to without a recommend as it is not that well known here and b) when I discovered it, it made a significant impression on me. It is a novel (don’t worry, I wouldn’t dare break the fiction rule) but it is very much grounded in history and the author’s first-hand experience of that history. I first came across it in the museum shop of Mehrangarth Fort in Jodhpur, and read it cover to cover on a train ride from Jaipur to Agra, so for me it is very much tied up with the experience of being in India for the first time. Reading it in Wandsworth or Houston may be a little different but I think it can stand the test.


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