2017 Projects: The Year of Balzac & Absolutely No Promos

Balzac, a strange-looking gent, no?

Balzac, a strange-looking gent, no?

Bloggers have so many projects. There are the reviews (in my case, the “bookish” posts), the group reads, the photos of bookshelves, the Year of This and the Month of That. Bloggers frequently complain of exhaustion, and no wonder. We’re essentially writing our own book newsletters, and some of us write too much. I wrote one post a day in 2013: it really cut into my reading time.

I seldom participate in group reads, because I’m too old, too well-educated, and too well-read. Yup, and since I only have a decade or two left, I direct my own reading . But I very much enjoyed the posts on the year-long group reading of Dorothy Richardson, and even participated in Virago Month, Women in Translation Month, and the 1947 Club (I’m dyslexic with numbers and hope I got the year right. ) These group readings are the equivalent of Yahoo book groups, only more loosely organized.

This has been a bad year politically–I am not happy about the prospect of living in the United States of Exxon next year. So I am about to become a project blogger,

I need distractions.  And so I have made a list of projects for 2017 A very long list.  I’ll only do a few of them.  But here are a couple of my ideas.

Project # 1:  The Year of Reading Balzac


Some of my Balzac books:  2 copies of Cesar B.


More Balzac:  a second copy of History of Thirteen.Balzac was prolific.  He wrote all night, neglected his need for food and drink to churn out journalism and reviews as well as fiction, and died young.

Balzac was prolific.  He wrote all night, lived on coffee, and churned out journalism and reviews as well as fiction.  He neglected his health.  But he had a project.

The Human Comedy consisted of 94 novels and stories.  I will try to read all 95,  but plan to focus on my paperback collection.

The top picture shows History of the Thirteen, Cousin Pons,The Wild Ass’s Skin, Quest of the Absolute, two copies of Cesar Birotteau, Eugenie Grandet, Old Goriot, Cousin Bette, A Murky Business, a second copy of History of the Thirteen, and Selected Short Stories.  I’ve read six of these.

On the second shelf we have Seraphita, Lost Illusions, A Harlot High and Low, Droll Stories, A Murky Business, a Colonel Chabert, The Black Sheep, and At the Sign of the Cat and Racket.  Of these I have read four.

I also have a few 19th-century editions of Balzac in a box.  My husband has no idea that I am cutting brittle nasty acidic pages in old books and getting paper cuts. I can’t do much of that because I seem to be allergic!  Oh dear I love books but I may have to go the e-book route.

Project # 2:  No More Promos

It can’t be done.  I can’t promote free books anymore.  I hardly ever do it, but it’s a burden.  There’s just so much I want to read.  I’m finishing Alice HOffman’s Fidelity, which is a throwback to her earlier novels about dreamy rebellious women who live emotionally behind layers of fairy tale scrims.   The problem is I would have enjoyed it more had I bought the book and read it at leisure.  As it is I read it on my e-reader in line at Target. Not the best place to appreciate her delicate writing.

Any projects pending for you?

A new year, a new start!

11 thoughts on “2017 Projects: The Year of Balzac & Absolutely No Promos

  1. I like the sound of your plans. Distractions can be helpful. I have read several Balzac though not for years and years. I have to say though that #Woolfalong has worn me out. So while I may join in the odd week long reading event I am not hosting or running anything this year. I need a break. Good luck.


  2. You make the Balzac tempting; he has been sadly missing in my reading. But you’ve also tempted me to read more Louisa Mae Alcott and I’ll probably go there first. By the way, the Little Women figurines you pictured a few days ago were lovely; what an exquisite gift!


    • Oh, I love Alcott! Yes, I feel like reading more of her, too, and most of it is free online.
      I love Balzac, but there’s so much and it is wildly uneven. I’m thinking that the Penguins will represent the best, since I’ve read some crumbling old 19th-century translations that have not been.


  3. I am feeling rather differently from you: Since I have at the very most, optimistically, only 5 or 10 years left, I’d rather follow a program than flail about with my own instincts and keep second guessing them. I’ve signed up for too many challenges but I give myself permission to fall away. The project in effect leave me with a much smaller bookshelf (then the 10 or so huge ones at my house and the enormous library just 3 blocks away).
    I am in a Victorian challenge which is easy because that’s my favorite period.

    Best wishes with Balzac!


      • I am a bit baffled too but I think it’s because my life feels as if it’s in dire need of organization and the challenges will give me the sense that there’s some sort of principle at work. Magical thinking, probably. And I’m relatively new to blogging so I like having the sense of being in a group–however spurious that might be.


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