For many years now, I have had a habit during the month of January of reading only those books written by authors I have never read before. Here are some of the discoveries I have made in past years:
2001 – Kazuo Ishiguro, An Artist of the Floating World
2002 – Lieut Col F M Bailey, Mission to Tashkent
2003 – Orhan Pamuk, My Name Is Red
2004 – William Hazlitt, Essays
2005 – Michael Cunningham, The Hours
2006 – Victor Segalen, René Leys
2007 – Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
2008 – Simon Sebag Montefiore, In the Court of the Red Tsar
2009 – Mischa Glenny. The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers 1804-1999
2010 – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (I didn’t want to be the only person in America who hadn’t read this book)
2011 – Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet
2012 – W G Sebald, Vertigo
2013 – Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate
Now these books may not mean much to you, but for an adventurer in reading such as myself, they were real milestones. Beginning in 2008, you might see an Eastern European element creeping in. That’s because, as I age, I see myself more and more as an Eastern European.
My Januarius is almost over for 2013, though I still have 2-3 more books to read this month. We’ll see how far I get.