Tuesday, 31 December 2013

To 2014!

The last classic I read was Emma, which I surprisingly loved (considering my former -let's call it- dislike of Jane Austen). That was in August.
This is why today, in contrast to the last few New Year's Eves, I have not been reading frantically in the hope of finishing all my books so that I could start the New Year without any old burden.
No, in fact I am starting 2014 very differently than any year before: for one thing I will be going out tonight, which I have never done on the 31st before. But what is more important in the long-term is that I have not signed up for any reading challenges in the new year. Yes, it made my heart ache, but I resisted temptation.
As much as I want to take part in many of the fantastic challenges floating around the blogging community, I know that I most likely won't be able to go through with them this year.
I will, however, definitely join the Classics Club Readathon on January 4! The only question is what I will read.

When I started blogging in 2011 I had read very little of value and knew nothing. Since then I became more educated and more acquainted with the classics, to the point that I felt I was reasonably well-read: I could talk about my favourite Dickens or Shakespeare, knew Wilkie Collins and Harper Lee and was ready to argue for the Inferno with anyone. Unfortunately, that was when life got in the way and interrupted my progress. Now I am standing in front of my shelves and don't know how to start again. To use an old metaphor, I feel as if I had a buffet full of delicious dishes in front of me and was paralysed because I wanted to eat them all and could not decide where to begin. Which is the right book to re-introduce me to my classics? A long Victorian novel stuffed with memorable characters? Something more modern? Or more ancient? A play? I don't know yet.
In addition, I feel a little intimidated because there are a lot of books that I would like to read, but after such a long break I somehow don't feel prepared for them. I am afraid that if I read them now I won't be able to appreciate them the way I would otherwise. There is The Bell Jar for example, or The Great Gatsby or David Copperfield, all of them books I have wanted to read for a long time, but I am afraid my reading them now will not do them justice.

So I am really starting 2014 without concrete plans. All I will do is wait and hope for the best.
Happy New Year!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Between the Years

It is my favourite time, these days that are somehow in between the years when it is still Christmas but the merry part of it is over and the past year is quickly fading. I cannot help wondering how on earth it is possible that this time is here again.

Yes, it is a cliché, but it really feels like yesterday that I was sitting here thinking about what 2013 would bring. Incredily, the whole year seems to have passed in the blink of an eye, although it was challenging, exciting, difficult and exhausting.
I stopped blogging in March, not because I made a conscious decision to do so, but because it simply did not fit the pace of my life at the time.
Looking back, I moved through the year at breakneck speed.

After the death of my grandfather ("the first grave that had opened in my road of life", as Dickens would say) I thought 2013 could only get worse. I was wrong. I can't remember any year that was as ambivalent as this.
For several weeks in spring I was ill before being invited as Vice-President to a Session of the Model European Parliament in Norwich, where I suddenly realised that there was one thing I wanted to study above all else: Politics. Consequently, my summer was spent almost entirely between college prospectuses.
I started my senior year at school and had my graduation ball, which is a very important event in Austria (all the girls wear white dresses and dance terribly complicated formal waltzes which we had to practise for six weeks). And finally, on the 10th of December 2013, something that I had both the sweetest dreams and the most horrible nightmares about happened: I had an interview at Clare College, Cambridge for Human Social and Political Science. It was a fantastic experience and I enjoyed it a lot, even though I was so nervous that I  once forgot what I was talking about in the middle of a sentence. By the way, I managed to talk about both To Kill a Mockingbird and Les Misérables during my interview for Politics.

Which brings me to the main content of this blog: reading. I did read a lot in 2013, but hardly anything I really enjoyed. For months I spent every free minute stuffing my brain with knowledge through academic reading about politics, International Relations, sociology etc., and although it was interesting I am now famished for real books. For literature. For the classics.
So, I am starting blogging again, but here and not at my old blog, because it is time for a fresh start.
But above all it is high time I started reading again!