Looking Forward to 2020- Part 2

ScreenshotIt’s to be 40 degrees C (104 F) in Hobart today. The firefighters are on high alert as a large storm is expected to come through tonight and they are worried about lightning strikes starting fires. The last time Hobart hit 40 degrees C on this date was 1897. Needless to say we are sequestered in the house for the day.

It gives me a chance to finalise my challenges for next year. I am adding two other types of reading in order to diversify the books a bit. I got a book voucher for my November birthday and with it I purchased a very thick book of comical short stories by well known authors. It is called Funny Ha Ha. Authors include the likes of James Thurber, Saki, Spike Milligan, Mark Twain, Joyce Carol Oates and Dorothy Parker to name a few. There are 80 stories in all, of a few pages each.  I decided I will randomly pick one story each Monday morning and have programmed that into my phone calendar so I will get a reminder each week.

As New Year’s Day is this Wednesday, I decided to randomly pick a story today and was pleased when my random generator app chose The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber. I have read this story before, once assigned in high school and once later on. I also saw the film but didn’t get as much out of that as I did the story. I look Screenshot 5forward to reading it again.

The description of Funny Ha Ha states:

“Funny Ha Ha is the definitive collection of comic short stories. From Anton Chekhov to Ali Smith from P.G. Woodhouse to Nora Ephron, the greatest writers are those who know how to laugh. Here, award winning comedian and broadcaster Paul Merton brings together his favourite funny stories of all time. Whether it’s the silly, surreal, slapstick or satirical that makes you smile there’s a story here to tickle every funny bone. From prize-winners and literary giants, to stand up comedians and the rising stars of funny literature, this brilliant anthology is guaranteed to cheer your day. “

My second challenge is to continue with more of the books from 1001 Children’s Books You Should Read Before You Die. I started it before but it got waylaid. I’m hoping to rejuvenate that project. The only conditions I am assigning this project are I will use the Random Generator app to pick from the 900+ pages of the book and the books must come from the library.  I had a quick library search and they do have many of them. However some books are not available. There are quite a few copies that are eBooks I can download and others I need to put a hold on them.  I am choosing three books at a time and locating them in the library. I will read them once they become available or I get into town to pick them up.  Most won’t take very long to read.  I’ve not read children’s books much since I stopped working in the Education department. I like to keep up on children’s books and some young adult books.  It keeps me in the loop of what goes on with the younger generations though many of these books were classics when I was young.

Screenshot 3I also have some diaries I will try to keep up. They begin on 1 January and I will try to start my day off with the passage of the day. They are books I’ve wanted to read for awhile and if I take a year to read them I might be able to keep up. No promises on this one.

They are:

  1. The Diary of Samuel Pepys (those entries are a bit longer) Everyman’s Library, introduced by Kate Loveman
  2. A Traveller’s Year: 365 Days of Travel Writing in Diaries, Journals and Letters, compiled by Travis Elborough & Nick Rennison
  3. New York Diaries:  1609 to 2009, Edited by TeresaScreenshot 4 Carpenter.
  4. Dear Los Angeles: The City in diaries and Letters 1542 – 2018, Edited by David Kipen

Books three and four are really interesting. The editors have compiled all the diaries and letters they could find over time, in these locations, and organised the entries from centuries ago;  to current day by day of the year beginning with 1 January. So an entry might read: 1 January 1723 and the next paragraph could be 1 January 1802, and so forth. It sounds disjointed but I’ve had a read of these books here and there and they are really quite fun. Of course big events in these two cities are covered but there are also very minor characters who kept diaries and one gets a sense of what daily life’s like at the particular date.

Now I know, come 1 January, I love to take a big bite out of the book world and I am quite enthused now. But I have decided that 2020 is the year I drop way back on social media, except for my photography work and instead of wasting time looking at FB, Instagram and You Tube, I’m going to immerse myself in the books I have been collecting for decades and then moving them on.  Wish me luck.  (I know, I have an inflated sense of self and a very good sense of humour.) Screenshot 8

12 thoughts on “Looking Forward to 2020- Part 2

  1. As you see I have already taken a step back from the blog! Not deliberately though. I have been travelling extensively since beginning of December, and there was no time (or energy) to blog. Back again and hope to catch up soon.
    I love diaries and this one of Pepys is on my list to read. Should be very interesting. His name pops up everywhere when you read about history. Would be interesting to get to know him better.
    Good luck with your photography. You take amazing photos, like a professional. I would like to develop a little bit more skill in taking photos, but time has its limits. Although it might come down to discipline!
    Good luck with all your plans for 2020.
    Hope the fires are finally under control. What a terrifying disaster that hit Australia this year. Was thinking of all of the people affected.

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  2. Thanks, I have been enjoying children books recently (Katherine Applegate eg), so I just requested 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up from my library. And I sent you a Goodreads friend request. I found you because I just added a comment under yours at Booker Talk

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  3. Those fires are terrifying and they don’t seem to show any sign of letting up. This is peak holiday season so this is going to hurt the economy and people who rely on visitors.
    You have some ambitious goals for the year – the diary one sounds particularly interesting. If you like the Pepys, there’s a great biography of him by Claire Tomalin which I really enjoyed

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    1. Thanks for that. If I get through the Pepys diary I think that might be enough of him. Thanks for thinking of all of us during the fires. We now have them in Tassie to the west of Hobart. I just hate them.


  4. I house kept a couple of other followees and decided to follow you instead. And in passing, it’s about 10 deg cooler in Perth than in Hobart, though we are cut off from the East – and they’re cut off from us – by bushfires at this end of the Nullarbor.

    Years ago my father gave me The Great Book of Humour, an enormous hardback published in London in 1935. The first ‘funny’ thing about it is that the cover is upside down – bloody annoying I’d say, but then it seems I’m a curmudgeon. I’ve probably only read a couple of stories from it, out of 60 odd. Writers you’d expect like Wodehose, Saki, Twain, Dorothy Parker, Chesterton, Belloc, even Agatha Christie. It’s not Monty Python but now I’ve got it down I suppose I should read a couple more


    1. I hope my posts live up to not bore you too much😀. It’s fun to know the authors in your 1935 book are the same as the ones in my 2019 book. Maybe we need more comedy in our lives. Tassie has joined the states that are on fire. I’m not looking forward to the rest of summer. It’s hard to accept that Tassie has hotter days than Darwin lately. 🤠🐧


  5. I’m a great James Thurber fan – especially of his offbeat, oddly-rhymed poetry. I own a book titled The Assassin’s Cloak : an anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists, and it, too, is arranged by date, so you find yourself moving from Samuel Pepys talking about over indulging in wine to an acidic social comment by Noel Coward, all penned on the same date, albeit centuries removed. You have reminded me to dig it out and revisit it. Enjoy yo9ur diaries – you have some wonderful reading projects lined up, look forward to hearing about your progress. But: enjoy! that’s the main thing!


  6. I’ll be thinking of you in those temperatures. The weather conditions in Australia have been sounding quite terrifying to us and I hope you escape fires etc…

    Some fascinating plans, and I think I want to move away from the other distractions and read more. The diaries you’ve chosen sound fascinating!


    1. Thanks. Reading about the fires is wearing especially when volunteer firefighters are dying and our prime minister relaxes on a beach in Hawaii. I need to get away from news and the waffle on social media. So distracting. I think I will enjoy getting lost in books more than fb, instagram and you tube. 🤠🐧☕☕

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  7. i hope you have air conditioning? 104 is nothing to take lightly… the books sound lovely, particularly the funny ones. i’m a great fan of Wodehouse and some of the others… plans for the new year sound excellent and fun. looking on the bright side is always helpful, i’ve found… take care…


    1. Yes, we do have air but feel for those who don’t. At least in Tassie the temperatures don’t last before changing. It’s fairly cool today. We’ll see how the challenges go. All a bit of fun. Happy new year! 🤠🐧☕☕


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