I've actually managed to keep one of my new year resolutions this year - to read a wider variety of books. And while I am not the world's quickest reader these days (my reading is confined to my daily train commute), I have managed to read all sorts of different things this year. The list includes only one Jane Austen, which is unusual for me.
Instead, I've read fantasy (Neil Gaiman), contemporary literary fiction, a couple of bestsellers, and some autobiographies. I've had a bit of a thing for historical biography, which has been fun, as it's been years since I studied history. Those Tudors led particularly busy lives.
I've also been discovering Ian McEwan's work. I love the way he uses words and how he constructs his sentences; take, for example, this line from the book I'm currently reading, On Chesil Beach: "...it was not yet customary to regard oneself in everyday terms as an enigma, as an exercise in narrative history, or as a problem waiting to be solved". Wonderful.
It's a resolution that I'll be able to keep up. Especially with the seductive Popular Penguins series that has just hit the shops - all sorts of great titles under $10 a piece. I picked up The Big Sleep today, which I've always meant to read, as well as Lady Chatterley's Lover. I seem to have lost my old copy, which I have wanted to read again since I watched the very entertaining The Chatterley Affair, the story of the court case in which Penguin Books was tried under the Obscene Publications Act.
And on the subject of penguins, a new favourite book in our house is 365 Penguins. It's a tale of excess, and one of those kids books that everyone finds funny.