Readers' Resolutions

Thursday January 3, 2013

By Guide Biography: Patrick Kennedy

I don't know what kind of a year 2013 is going to be. Does anyone? But I am certain of one thing: this will be the year I finally read Anna Karenina. Even the most scrupulous reader will have blind spots, and this has always been one of mine. Which is weird, because 1) Tolstoy is one of my idols and 2) I've been "reading around" Anna Karenina for the past ten years. So, it's time to stop consoling myself with Tolstoy's stories and occasional helpings of War and Peace, and knock Anna Karenina off my "to read" list. Or, failing that, go see the movie.

But enough about me. Is there anything that you've resolved to read, once and for all, in 2013? Gigantic books like Dostoevsky's The Brothers's Karamazov,Mann's Buddenbrooks, Proust's In Search of Lost Time, and Anna Karenina itself are natural choices. Imagine, after all, how good it will feel to look back in December and say "wow, I read this." Not everyone can scale Everest. Yet anyone, with enough time, can tackle The Magic Mountain.

Or you could put length (and maybe your ego...) on hold, and broaden your literary horizons. Ever wondered what's going in in Chinese or Brazilian or Polish literature? Try finding out! But (word of advice) try to branch off from a literary tradition you already know. For instance, I intend to read a lot more Asian literature this year. And my familiarity with Japanese masters like Akutagawa, Tanizaki, and Kawabata has given me the impetus, and the confidence, to read a new round of Asian greats.

So let me know what your resolutions, reading-wise, are for the new year. And by all means, check back in December 2013 to see if I've fulfilled mine.


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