Posted by: Lizzie Ross | August 23, 2011

Planning a literary itinerary

On the subway last night I saw a young man reading Piccadilly Jim, and it made me yearn for the daffy characters of PG Wodehouse. Two nights ago, I saw HP7.2, then had to fight the urge to attend Hogwarts again. And while in the Canadian Maritimes, I could feel myself being drawn, like a dust bunny towards a vacuum cleaner, into Anne Shirley’s 1880s PEI.

But I resisted. Virtual travels ought to take a reader to unfamiliar places; I need to challenge myself with new books, not fall into the comfort of the known. I’ve visited the worlds of Hogwarts, Earthsea, Middle Earth, and Green Gables too often. Even Jane Austen’s “little bit (two inches wide) of ivory” is too familiar.

Last week, after re-reading Jane Eyre (brought on by watching the latest movie version — excellent, by the way), I craved more Brontë, but instead of reaching for Emily’s Wuthering Heights, I chose Charlotte’s Villette, a book that has been on my shelf, unread, for at least a decade. What a pleasure to read something whose ending I didn’t know! I should do this more often.

So, a pledge: for the next 4 months, only new books. There are so many that I haven’t read, it seems a waste of precious time to reread even the best loved. If I backslide, I’ll reveal the what/when/why, but backsliding will happen only if the new books fail to feed my need for gorgeous vistas and fascinating traveling companions.

All aboard!



  1. This will be an excellent journey. Thank you for allowing voyeurism.

  2. […] back in August, I vowed to read only new books until the end of December, or to confess if I broke this […]

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