Looking Ahead to 2021

Since I posted my 2020 Year in Review post yesterday, I figured I might as well go ahead and follow up with the preview post for next year — again, taking the relevant “Festive Tasks” items as my cues.  So, without further ado:

 

24 Festive Tasks: Door 19 – Hanukkah, Task 1:

Time to play dreidel! Pick four books from your TBR that you want to get to in 2021. Assign each book one of the sides of the dreidel:

נ (Nun)
ג (Gimel)
ה (He)
ש (Shin)

Now play the dreidel here: http://www.torahtots.com/holidays/chanuka/dreidel.htm
Your result is the first book you will read in 2021.

Well, here we go:

נ (Nun) – Patrick Leigh Fermor: The Broken Road
ג (Gimel) – J.J. Connington: Mystery at Lynden Sands
ה (He) – Christianna Brand: Death of Jezebel
ש (Shin) – Candace Robb: The Lady Chapel

… and the dreidel says …

J.J. Connington it is!

 

24 Festive Tasks: Door 23 – New Year’s Eve, Task 1:

Tell us: What are your reading goals for 2021?

As already indicated yesterday, to go back to my Around the World challenge’s original purpose of diversifying my reading (not only making it more international but also more ethnically diverse), and to include more books from my Freedom and Future Library in my mix of books to read.  Other than that, I expect my Golden Age Mysteries / Detection Club project to continue proceeding apace … and there will probably the odd spur-of-the-moment reading project, too. (Summer reading, etc.)

 

24 Festive Tasks: Door 24 – Hogswatch, Task 1:

Pick a Terry Pratchett quote that will be a (good?) omen for 2021.

I’m going to go with two quotes for this task: One for my reading life; the other one for … well, all the rest.

The first quote is from Guards! Guards!:

A good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.

 

… and I hope that continues to apply to my personal library, too, because it definitely feels on point.

The second quote is the exchange from Hogfather where Pratchett lays out what, in The Science of Discworld, he called Narrativium:

I will give you a lift back, said Death, after a while.
‘Thank you.  Now … tell me …’
What would have happened if you hadn’t saved him? [the Hogfather.]
‘Yes! The sun  would have risen just the same, yes?’
No.
‘Oh, come on.  You can’t expect me to believe that.  It’s an astronomical fact.’
The sun would not have risen.
She turned on him.
‘It’s been a long night, Grandfather!  I’m tired and I need a bath!  I don’t need silliness!’
The sun would not have risen.
‘Really?  Then what would have happened, pray?’
A mere ball of flaming gas would have illuminated the world.
They walked in silence.
‘Ah,’ said Susan dully. ‘Trickery with words.  I would have thought you’d have been more literal-minded than that.’
I am nothing if not literal-minded.  Trickery with words is where humans live.
‘All right,’ said Susan.  ‘I’m not stupid.  You’re saying humans need … fantasies to make life bearable.’
Really?  As if it was some kind of pink pill?  No.  Humans need fantasy to be human.  To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.
‘Tooth fairies?  Hogfathers? Little –‘
Yes.  As practice, you have to start out learning to believe the little lies.
‘So we can believe the big ones?’
Yes.  Justice.  Mercy.  Duty.  That sort of thing.
‘They’re not the same at all?’
You think so?  Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy, and yet– Death waved a hand.  And yet you act as if there is some … some rightness in the universe by which it may be judged.
‘Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point–‘
My point exactly.
She tried to assemble her thoughts.
There is a place where two galaxies have been colliding for a million years, said Death, apropos of nothing.  Don’t try to tell me that’s right.
‘Yes, but people don’t think about that,’ said Susan.  Somewhere there was a bed …
Correct.  Stars explode, worlds collide, there’s hardly anywhere in the universe where humans can live without being frozen or fried, and yet you believe that a … a bed is a normal thing.  It is the most amazing talent.
‘Talent?’
Oh, yes.  A very special kind of stupidity.  You think the whole universe is inside your heads.
‘You make us sound mad,’ said Susan.  A nice warm bed …
No.  You need to believe in things that aren’t true.  How else can they become?  said Death, helping her up on to Binky.”
(Terry Pratchett: Hogfather)

 

 

24 Festive Tasks: Door 1 – Winter Solstice (Yule – Dōngzhì – Soyal – Yaldā Night), Task 2:

Bibliomancy — ask an author! Pick out a book with at least 350 pages and answer the following questions:

  • Will I read all the books on my TBR? (page 20, line 21)
  • Will any of my 2021 reads be 5 stars? (page 102, line 14)
  • Will I discover a new favorite book / author / series? (page 309, line 5)
  • Will I discover that a major twist (hopefully, for the [even] better) has occurred in one of my favorite series? (page 189, line 10)
  • Will I finish all of my reading challenges in 2021? (page 269, line 17)
  • Will I stay within my book budget in 2021? (page 236, line 8)

 

For answers, I decided to consult Lord Peter Wimsey, more specifically my omnibus volume of Dorothy L. Sayers’s Complete Short Stories.

• Will I read all the books on my TBR? (page 20, line 21)
“Why rub it in?” said Wimsey, a trifle hurt. “I apologize.”

I take it that’s a “no” … well, it probably is, because given the size of my TBR, a “yes” would have been truly astounding.

• Will any of my 2021 reads be 5 stars? (page 102, line 14)
“… seemed to look upon it as an excellent show nevertheless.”

I take it that’s another “no” (really?  Not a single five-star read? * pouts *) … even if I’m bound to have a great reading year regardless.  Hmm.

• Will I discover a new favorite book / author / series? (page 309, line 5)
“The waitress was produced, and after some consideration …”

Err.  A new favorite book or series featuring a waitress?

• Will I discover that a major twist (hopefully, for the [even] better) has occurred in one of my favorite series? (page 189, line 10)
“… happen to know the gentleman’s name?”

With all due respect, Lord Peter, you’re supposed to tell me, not the other way around!

• Will I finish all of my reading challenges in 2021? (page 269, line 17)
“The President consulted a paper before him, the he …”

Hmm.  Looks like the jury is still out on this one.  

• Will I stay within my book budget in 2021? (page 236, line 8)
“… paper and looked at it again.”

Uh, oh.  Sounds like I’m going to have to reconsider my 2021 book buying budget!

 

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