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I don’t make New Year resolutions. You know why? Because they don’t work. 

If you wanted to do it, you’d already be doing it, and if you don’t want to do it, making a promise when you've had too much wine and crammed your mouth full of grapes isn't going to suddenly change your mind.

This year is no different, but I know a good idea when I see it, and Stacey’s Dusty Bookshelf Challenge is a very good idea. Especially for someone who only finally started unpacking boxes of books a clear YEAR after moving house. 

Don’t judge me, something has to give, I'm not a frickin time lord!

Over my nice long Christmas holiday, I managed to unpack my books and clean the conservatory up well enough to be able to curl up with a book, and not catch several communicable diseases. I also realised quite how many books I own, and how many of them have been quietly neglected since Uni, and that I actually quite miss.

My promise to myself this year, is to keep my goals achievable, so I counted along my shelves and picked 10 books that I haven’t touched in the last decade. Or possibly ever.


Bill Hicks – Love all the people

Let’s face it, you haven’t listened to politically incorrect comedy unless you’ve YouTube’d a Bill Hicks sketch. In actual fact this book isn’t even mine, it belongs to the old man, but I need some subversion in my life every now and then. 

Lorenzo Carcaterra – Sleepers

A buddy book about four friends and revenge, and also not my book. I do own books, but right now I'm liking the idea of striking out from my usual subject matter and seeing whether mobsters really are as cool as Hollywood would have me believe. 

Charles Jennings – The Fast Set

Seriously, I own books, just not this one. Keith has a growing collection of Land Speed Record books and while I have spoken before about an article I saw as a young child on Donald Campbell  motherhood, and “life” have used up my available brain power and stopped me from getting enthused by motor-sports until recently. The cult show Roadkill has fixed that, and I figure if I'm going to give this area of my life some love, I might as well start by brushing up on my history. 

Francoise Sagan – A Certain Smile

I read this when I was a young, and hugely sentimental teenager. Of course I did, it’s about a young student getting bored with her loyal boyfriend and going after his married uncle instead; what teenage girl would turn down that kind of drama?! I picked this one for the mix because I want to know whether it stands the test of time. I suspect I will get 20 pages in and want to slap the main character round the face with a dead fish but since I have two children destined to one day be teenage girls, it never hurts to remind yourself of the nightmare that lies ahead.

Pete McCarthy – McCarthy’s Bar

In 2003 Keith and I went on a 10 day bike tour around Ireland. I could bore you with pages of writing on every last detail but if memory serves, you should read this book instead and know that every detail is true. That’s why this book makes the list, I need to remind myself of a time when I could fit in size 8 leather and jump on a bike whenever the mood took me. 

Toni Morrison – Sula

When the front cover of a book tells you it won the 1993 Nobel Prize for literature, it’s almost a veiled threat. I read this book at Uni and can still remember glimpses of it. I have no extra perspective on Afro-American history, but I do have a new perspective on the subtleties of motherly love so it felt like a very worthy book to revisit.

Various - Lost in Translation Stories of New Zealand

Two years ago, while we were deep in the process of getting our visas, we walked home from the Notting Hill Carnival alongside the canal and passed a book shop housed in a boat. This was sitting in a box outside, slightly water damaged (occupational hazard I suspect) and I bought it because it felt like the sort of thing I should be reading about the country I was hoping to make my new home. Unfortunately that was at the start of The Great Reading Hiatus of 2012 and since then it has been living in a box of books.

Marina Lewycka – A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

This is a very well-travelled book. I bought it when I was working in The City, and I have packed it for every flight I have taken since, and never managed to get round to reading it. I have no doubt that it is going to bomb gloriously after that much anticipation, but for the sake of form as much as anything else, I am going to read this bloody book.

Eowyn Ivey – The Snow Child 

I’ll be honest, I have no idea where this book came from. Well, I have my suspicions, I think my mum gave it to me when I was last in the UK and I'm pretty sure I promised to read it. Remind me again about that saying on good intentions ...

Scott Phillips – The Ice Harvest

Again, no idea on this one, if I hadn't found it in the bottom of my suitcase I would have said it had been left by a guest. I'm sure this will be a fascinating book. That wasn't supposed to sound sarcastic.


So first up is Sula, because I don’t like being passively threatened by book covers. And for anyone worrying that this blog will become a book club, I won’t bore you reporting back until I have read them all. 

That way, I will be able to tell you which ones went back into the bookcase, and which got used to start our next BBQ.

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