Our New Year’s (literary) resolutions

Happy new year everybody! Now 2014 is upon us, here’s a collection of our literary-themed resolutions.


Nina plans to read more fiction from Australian authors.

Looking over the books I read this year, there is a clear gap in my list. Australian fiction.

I read a lot of Australian non-fiction (my favourite Australian writers right now are Anna Krien, Anna Goldsworthy and Benjamin Law), but when it comes to fiction I tend to gravitate towards contemporary American literary novels. This year I did read some great Australian fiction (The Rosie Project and Barracuda are among my highlights) but not enough. I could definitely do better.

So in 2014, I plan to read at least two Australian classic novels I should have read by now (options for this include Cloudstreet, My Brilliant Career and The Harp in the South), and two début Australian novels, as well as catching up on some of the great Australian novels I missed this year (Burial Rites, The Narrow Road to the Deep North and The Night Guest, for a start).


Belle wants to be better at cataloguing the books she reads.

All the big readers in my life keep book diaries of some sort. I share an office with Nina, who records each book she reads during the year in a spreadsheet, marking it with a grade (Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings has finished top of the class for 2013 with an A+). My mum, who on average gets through one or two books a week, writes each book in a notebook and scores it out of ten (Beryl Bainbridge’s Master Georgie is one title that received a perfect score).

So far, my cataloguing goes no further than a reluctance to put an adored book back on the shelf, which in many ways is a good enough system for me. Though, my other literary-themed resolution is to be more efficient at recommending books for friends who might only occasionally pick up a novel. I like to think that more vigilantly keeping a record of my reading habits as reference will make recommendations a cinch (and I’ll have ticked off two resolutions – a feat in itself).


Bronte is going to read all the books on her shelf she’s never finished (or started).

Like almost every other person on Earth, I own a tonne of books I’ve never read. A lot of these titles are wishful thinking, while others I’ve bought on recommendation but haven’t gotten around to reading yet. This year I plan to attempt every book on my shelves that I have not yet given a chance.

This includes Mark Z. Danielewski’s experimental horror/love story, House of Leaves, Virginia Woolf’s classic To the Lighthouse, Colum McCann’s highly-recommended Let the Great World Spin, Geoff Dyer’s investigation into Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room, and more.

Though, first I’m going to finish my copy of The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes – a crime thriller with a time-travelling twist.

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The Night Guest

The Night Guest

Fiona McFarlane

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