The Month of January Is Named After the Two-Faced Roman God Janus
Except for the last two years, when I took January vacations to Guatemala and Yucatán respectively, I used to confine my reading for that month to authors I had not read before. Since my reading during trips is almost entirely on my Amazon Kindle, and I don’t like to experiment so much when I am away from my library, my vacation reading includes many familiar names.
Starting on New Years Day, I will once again return to what I call my Januarius Project, which is to familiarize myself with new authors so that my reading doesn’t become too rooted in the familiar. Among the books I have planned for next month are:
- Franz Eemil Sillanpää’s Meek Heritage (Finland)
- Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
- Trygve Gulbrandsen’s Beyond Sing the Woods (Norway)
- Ragnar Jónasson’s Nightblind (Iceland)
- George Washington Cable’s The Grandissimes (USA)
- Georges Lefebvre’s The Coming of the French Revolution (France)
- Ivy Compton-Burnett’s Bullivant and the Lambs (England)
- Compton Mackenzie’s Whisky Galore (Scotland), which was made into one of my favorite comic films
- Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey (England)
Frans Eemil Sillanpää (1888-1964)
I don’t know if I’ll complete all those books, but I will try. By the way, if you’ve noticed a preponderance of Scandinavian authors, that’s deliberate. I’ve read a lot of Icelandic literature, but very little from mainland Scandinavia.
We Americans tend, I think, to not stray far from American and English literature. And I have some friends who refuse to read a book that has been translated from another language—whereas roughly half of my reading is in translation.