Nothing is more important than an unread library

Let the readers do some of the work themselves. Fyodor Dostoyevsky

2021 hasn’t been a regular New Year, neither has our resolutions… But no matter what year it is, some resolutions remain with us forever – such as writing and reading, plus adapting to a slightly old new world with a mask as a casual fashion of our wardrobe. 

Here in Sweden, the winter arrived only yesterday. Compare pictures: 1st January – 10th January:

Let me share what I’ve changed in my daily routine in the past two weeks. First of all, I deleted my writer’s page on FB (with 500 followers). From now on I don’t have any FB page – working or private. 

I decided to skip TV/any movie-watching for 2 months. Today is day 6 – I haven’t seen any program, movie, or news. Dammit! I can’t believe it! But it feels ok because I have a lot of time for reading, writing and… well, who am I kidding – sleeping… 😬

I decided to skip the Goodreads challenge in 2021. I know that I read about 100 books each year, so I’d prefer to skip the stressful counting and the rush after the numbers. I know people who read, and read, and read… as Bennet said, “They fly through the shires of literature on a motor car, their sole object being motion.” We need sometimes to stop and think about what we read.  

Just in case you weren’t aware; 8-9 years ago, I sold my entire library (about 4000 books), now I’m trying to rebuild a new one, one book at a time. Or 7-10 paperbacks a week. I’m buying books I’m interested in reading, or would like to have in my library. I counted all paperbacks in the house this weekend – so far, I’ve got about 550. Of course, I got 400 kindle books, but I still don’t particularly appreciate reading on kindle, and I love old secondhand paperbacks.

The main focus of my new library: good ol’ classics, modern classics (well, mostly from 1950 to 1980), new age religion-shamanism-philosophy, church and society, literary criticism, literary anthologies, first editions, Agatha Christie’s paperbacks (mostly from 1970), crime, pulp and horror. And, of course, some indie authors.

Let’s move to the writer’s plans. In 2021, I’m planning to publish at least 3 books. I’m already working on the translation of book 2 in Child of Illusion series – The Secrets of A-Ria/young adult. I believe it will be finished at the beginning of March. I have scheduled publishing date for 1st May 2021.

The second book – a psychological thriller, 60k (I have a first draft, and currently working on the second). Hopefully, it will be ready by August-latest September. 

The third book… I haven’t decided yet. It might be a book of essays (nonfiction) or a book of comic strips and comedy burlesque.

A book is the only immortality. Rufus Choate

Let’s check Book Recommendations for January – link

Book 1Killing Dylan by Alastair Puddick. A humorous crime novel with a sweet pop art-ish book cover. To tell you the truth – that’s why I grabbed it. 😂 I didn’t know anything about the author or his books. I love the hero (a failed, grumpy, some way rude and greedy writer, who is trying to find out who wants to kill his old friend). The writing is light, humorous, descriptive, and easy to follow. I’d say, the book is a very relaxing read, and should make you smile. 

Book 2The Chosen by Chaim Potok. An absolute gem! It was a recommendation from a blogger and follower here, on WP, and this book got me hooked right from the off. I had never heard about the author or his books prior, but I loved his simple prose and the world he builds right in front of my eyes. 

The book’s introduction is one of the best I read in the past 4-5 years. I’m planning to talk about this book in a separate post because of the author’s writing tricks. 📚 I also ordered three more paperbacks of Chaim Potok. 

Book 3 Shambhala: In Search of the New Era by Nicholas Roerich is an exceptional book, not for everybody… It is nonfiction: the ramblings and beliefs of Nicholas Roerich about life in Asia, the magical land of Shambhala (which may or may not exist). It contains a detailed description of his expedition through Asia, Tibet, Mongolia, and China. The journey is quite difficult to follow, but if you are familiar with Roerich’s paintings or Agni yoga (created by his wife Helena), you will find this book amusing. 

A separate blog post about Shambhala Land is also on the way. 😉

Wait, wait… I’d like to mention One Hundred Years of Solitude! I’m not a big fan of magical realism, but the writing style is peculiar, enthralling and exceptional; worth checking out. Just be prepared, all heroes share similar names, and the novel is filled with erotic or odd scenes like this: 

“It only costs twenty cents,” she told him. Aureliano threw a coin into the hopper that the matron had in her leap and went into the room without knowing why. The adolescent mulatto girl, with her small bitch’s tits, was naked on the bed. Before Aureliano sixty-three men had passed through the room that night. From being used so much, kneaded with sweat and sighs, the air in the room had begun to turn to mud. The girl took off the soaked sheet and asked Aureliano to hold it by one side. It was as heavy as a piece of canvas. They squeezed it… 

Btw, according to the girl’s calculations, she still had 10 years of work (with 70 men per night) before she’d get away and become free… from her slavery. 

I’d like to mention one more author with atypical (specific) style – Milan Kundera. I finished reading his novel Ignorance in December. I have to say, he has a genuinely recognizable writing style, a rough mix of nonfiction, ironical conversation and the story itself. His novels are often nonlinear, sad and philosophical, but filled with characters who are real and down to the earth… kind of, neighbours next door. 

From positive to negative – I had some trouble with Amazon (my profile), and it made me reconsider being completely dependent on Amazon, so I’m planning to find a solution for that… in the future.  

What are your plans, resolutions, dreams, books for 2021?
Surprise Ray 🙃😀


Next post – Shambhala Land


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89 Responses

  1. Victoria, I have never been on FB, have not watched TV, series or movies for almost more than a month and am reading at my pace. I too don’t like reading on kindle. So there…. 😀 The quote about rushing through books made me laugh. Milan Kundera is good, so was One hundred…. Will check out other authors. 👍🏼📚

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      A month… ouch, 24 days to go! 😜🤨😅I have to say (honestly) that each day I want to watch a movie but… then I’m starting to move around & do something else (in the house or outside/daily stuff) & the desire is gone 🤓
      Great decision about FB 🙂 we don’t need it in our lives ✌️💜

  2. Anonymous says:

    I deactivated FB, I do Tweet occasionally, but live to read at night. As a nurse it helps to escape reality right now. ❤️🤗

  3. You’re always so full of plans. Honestly, I don’t like planning. I write when I’m inspired, I read when I feel like it. I don’t watch TV except for occasional shows I love. I always find time for a movie.
    And I think we should definitely slow down to think about what we’ve read. In a nutshell, I’m playing it by ear, as ever.

    Good luck in the new year. Hopefully it will be awesome.

    • And yes, I ‘ve had a private FB account for a while, and it works just fine. I have zero tolerance for freaks.

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        People delete it for different reasons… I guess it’s full of freaks as well as nice folks. I just never liked it, I created to communicate with 2 friends in 2014, but rarely used it. So no meaning to keep it. Always tried to delay it because of my authors page, but … if I never there – whats the point? :)))))
        But I know it works quite well for many ppl, my husband has a fb profile & he like it

      • True. I have it communicate with a few friends, I’m a member of a couple groups, I let know the lazy friends about the stuff I had published, and that’s it. It works.

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        I’m sure it works, or can work. I simply don’t have any friends on FB now & my family is only mum who is using all day long insta 😂😂

      • My friends are my high school and college friends and blogging ones. That’ll do.
        Hub suggested I should add his uncle. I pretended I didn’t hear him.

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        Haha 😆 it’s for the best…

      • Absolutely. I don’t use social networks for my own family, let alone in-laws.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Lol it just seems so 🙂 😂 I do not write every day & I don’t have writing routines but I’m trying to write at least 300-500 words (still, some days – only zero). I can also spend weekssss without writing a word 😉 & it feels good 😌 About reading-I’m always reading… I never plan what to read, I just grab anything I see 🙂 or anything I bought. But of course, it should be something I find interesting (preferably, in genre or writing style). Via blog -> I’m only sharing what I already read or reading 🙂 it’s often fun to hear thoughts of ppl who read the same book before or planning to read something similar…

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      From the other side, yes… 😂 I’m full of plans 🙂 bcz I’m very quiet & 101% lazy person, and always trying to escape any writing, blogging, or even talking lol

      • Aaaaaa, that’s why. I’m not lazy, but I’m also not work-obsessed. Maybe that’s why I don’t need plans or schedules. I know I’m diligent, regardless. And maybe because everything and everyone’s so organized here so my saying no, not me is a way to stay afloat, not to say vent.

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        Haha 😛 maybe 🙂

        Agree, the best time is when we don’t have any plans or schedules 💜

      • And they we feel terrific when we surprise ourselves with how much we accomplished.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Agreed with you – we shouldn’t plan each step 😉 & more go with the flow…

      And good luck 🍀 in the new 2021 to us all!! 🫖🙌💜

  4. masercot says:

    I lost a couple thousand books from my library during my last move. Just didn’t have the space in the new place. Now, the number of books is building again…

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Maybe you wanna sell some? Lol 😂

      Yes, it’s difficult with the move. When my mother moved from one city to another – she left a lot of books behind, even one from 1909 😢☹️

      But it’s fun to be able to rebuild a library, step by step… it will be big enough again, soooooonnn 😉

      Are you (usually) buying anything you like or some particular genre/names?

      • masercot says:

        Well, my mother is sending my dad’s library over, mostly science and history. If there’s a classic I don’t have, I like to pick up a copy. Also, I enjoy action series like Jack Reacher and Robert Ludlum. So, pretty much everything… including the hard sciences…

  5. Jerry Laiche says:

    Ah, unread libraries !!!!! What wonders lie therein. I do realize you keep cycling books through your space, but what about several thousand books? That is one of the risks in owning a bookstore (2005 thru 2007), I am still trying to cycle through the boxes, crates, and storage damage.
    I did have an interesting epiphany recently, my new research project (and new book plan) is based on a newly read book from my actual library that I acquired many years ago. It is a book of literary criticism and interpretations of Sappho’s poetry throughout the centuries up until the present. It has spawned and action/adventure project within which Sappho’s lost poems play a central role.
    One last note re: the bookish life. MY latest, “Madame Langlois’ Legacy” is now available on Amazon, B&N, etc as an eBook, and as soon as I get the professional printer to solve some tech issues, the print version will also be available.
    A New Year is a great time to revise and update our writing/reading life. I only wish I could read as fast as you do. Even my favorite books take me at least a week to complete. Good luck with the two in process.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Jon G Laiche? I bought a kindle now, but I don’t like kindle much… handy tho 🙂

      – waiting for the paperback, message me when it will be available 🙂

      • Jerry Laiche says:

        Dear Vickan,

        Yes, that’s my official name, the one on my driver’s license. Friends and family have called me Jerry ever since I can remember.

        Thank you so much. The paperback is in process at the printer/distributor, hopefully to be released shortly. Getting the print version thru the process has been like “pulling teeth”. Anyway, I’ll let your know ASAP.
        BTW, I sent this message an hour ago from my iPad, but for some reason it did not go through. Ain’t Technology Grand 🤪

        Already planning the signings, book fairs, Abe books, etc. Good Luck with the 2021 “3” !👍

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        Damn this technology… 😅
        but instead we r getting lots of spam 🤔 all day long on Wp

        Yes, the creation of a paperback is JUST AS YOU DESCRIBED 😂

        Good luck to all of us in 2021! 🙌👑

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      You should sell some your books 🙂 via Abe books or other secondhand shops…

      And yes, I understand, im reading quickly 😂 but I always did 🙂 it’s probably my gift 🙂
      But the books I really love I reread – 2/3 times :)) later on

      Good luck with the new book/& paperback is a must!! And great & happy 2021 ahead!

  6. markbierman says:

    Good for you, Victoria. It sounds like you have a well planned writing schedule. All the best in 2021!

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Same to you! ☀️😀 thank you 🙂
      Yes, I have to set the date* or I’ll never publish 😂

  7. Great plans, VR. I plan to finish the second in the Eternal Road series and continue to blog each day. Not very exciting but good enough for an old guy. I’m looking forward to your new boos for sure.

  8. I wish I could concentrate more on reading and less on writing posts, but I manage to squeeze in a page or two every day, no matter how much time I spend writing. I have 4 ebooks that I have not gotten to yet and I won’t buy any new ones till I catch up.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Well, you can always buy “free” books 🙂 I’m buying often free books, that’s why 400 on my kindle (I read maybe 150 or so…)

      We should do what we enjoy the most, maybe u love writing ✍️ & sharing on the blog more than reading.

  9. Eilene Lyon says:

    As always, I’m impressed with your output. Good luck with the TV thing. We only watch videos from the library – movies and documentaries – about three a week. I’m trying to not drink alcohol this month, I’ve succumbed a few times. Won’t make it the month for sure!

    I’m working on the second draft of my epic non-fiction book and also starting some proposals for genealogy presentations for 2022. I’ve always got several books in progress. I should do a better job of tracking what I read. There was a great book I read about on a blog about a mystery of Russian college students disappearing on a winter camping trip (true story). The author (a documentary film maker) solved the decades-old mystery. That’s the only real page-turner in the past couple months.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Thank you! Aaaa, I envy you 🙂 if I’m starting watching (especially tc shows) – I won’t stop ✋ until I go thru all 8-9 seasons 😂

      Your epic nonfiction book will be epic = 101%!! You are already on the second draft… so the publishing date is approaching:) 👍

      I don’t know the title of that book, but I think I know the story, it’s true… really happened. It’s quite famous story 🙀😿😾

  10. anne leueen says:

    I am not an Ereader person. I like an actual BOOK! I even have a small pillow to prop the book on when I am reading in bed at night. Lately the books I have been reading have been large and somewhat weighty. So it is more comfortable to have them on the pillow on my chest. Currently reading Obama’s autobiography.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      And how’s Obama’s autobiography? I read the book of his wife…

      Agreed about an actual book! No e-reader ever change that! 🙌

      • anne leueen says:

        I loved Michelle Obama book and so far I am really enjoying Obama’s book. He is quite self effacing amd admits to his flaws. It is also interesting to read this now in light of the Trump presidency and current events in the US. I believe Obama had a vision for an all inclusive America and I believe he actually cared about people. Just my opinion.

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        Well, I have to check his book too 🙂

  11. Great plans, Ray. I especially love the deletion of FB – toxic bloody platform! I stopped using it ages ago, and only use it now to communicate with one writing group I’m part of. I felt so much better after ditching it. Can’t say I could quite do the TV / Movie thing though…I need my nightly fix of Breaking Bad, Supernatural, and Buffy!

  12. kinkyacres says:

    “Breaking Bad” 2 of my almost favorite words!! 🙂 “Eternal Road” is starting to get the best of me! Thought of throwing it down and move on, but that green/white Oldsmobile on the cover stopped me!

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Cool 😉 jump in that Oldsmobile & off weeeee goooo 🚘🚘🚘🚘🚘🚘🚘

  13. librepaley says:

    Wow, you certainly go big on the resolutions. Apart from anything else, publishing three works is a huge undertaking. My goals are timid in comparison – e.g. um, read more non-fiction, beyond biography… Your resolutions make me reflect on the importance of having goals that are tangible and measurable. There is a potential de-motivation if you fall short, yes, but outweighed by the motivation of being able to concretely point to what’s been achieved.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Lol 😂 I wouldn’t call them resolutions but if I don’t set the date – I’ll never publish anything… I’m too lazy 🙂 I need a REAL push 😛 or at least KNOWING 🙀 that the date is approaching…

      You goals r great too 👍… when I read your posts, I always think that you r reading a lot of literary essays/anthologies/author’s memoirs 🙂

      Too many goals or too difficult goals – & yes, easy to fall short. But we have to try our best 🙂

      I’m able to work non-stop (closer to the publishing date tho lol) & sometimes I can work on the book whole day long + until 4am… mostly in the last stage – “editing” – before sending to proof/

  14. librepaley says:

    Realise I am reading more autobiography and biography than anything else lately – would love to say it’s to get insights into writers’ and creators’ heads, but mostly I am nosy.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Lol I think if you r reading biographies of GREAT PEOPLE- it’s a good choice :))

      Mmm, your posts r so literary, I often think about you as “an essayist” 🙂

  15. alexraphael says:

    Yeah I can see how you can get a lot out of getting rid of Facebook. It’s wonderful you have read so much. One of the reasons I started my blog was to keep track of the books I’ve read and a line or two from them that stood out. I’d be interested to know how many books I’ve read. And no one can stop you in 2021. Go get them! I should have read this post before emailing you haha.

    • Kris says:

      Every year I start a list and about July or August, I misplace the notebook and think I’ll remember and poof…there goes my plan to see what books I’ve read. I have discovered there is about a 20 book per month average.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      I saw your email now. I explained about Am-n there/

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      About the books – it goes up & down, even for me 🙂 I think the number of the books/pages is not so important… but the message we are learning from them

      • alexraphael says:

        I bet you have quite the range. Do you always finish them? Do you know what the next book will be before you finish?

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        Reading – “anything”, but prefer classics or good crime or literary criticism, nonfiction (any).

        I think from 4 to 9yo I read a lot of poetry & fairytales, from 9 to 11 – science fiction & myths, from 11 to 17 – classics & from 16 to 20 – love romance 😅😂 . Now I’m reading – everything I see as “interesting to check”, but of course during my studies I read only the lists of literature given by professors (programs) of the uni 🙂 = mostly from XI to XIX (first part) centuries 🧐🫖📚 & nothing more/

        I have to say for many-many years I read & analyzed ONLY classics. That’s why I feel lost when ppl mention modern names (books from the stores)…I know maybe only 5-7 names lol (with King & Rowling – 2 of them) 🤓😂

        From other side, I don’t know much about American modern classics. I read it later in life, by myself (mostly bcz of many books were forbidden in USSR), so I take suggestions lol & I was truly glad to discover CHAIM POTOK 😉

        ! And no, if I don’t like the book – I drop it. I’m not a student anymore… I allow myself to stop reading & move on if I don’t like.

        Many books are so faceless… I don’t know who wrote them or what those books about… hm.

        ! Often I don’t know what I’ll be reading next. But usually, I’m reading 2 books: I have one on the first floor; second – in my bedroom.

        What about you? how many books you are reading (at once)? And – any planning at all? Or just kinda “grabbing what you see”? 😜

      • alexraphael says:

        Very true!

  16. Welcome back! It was quite boring while you were on hiatus 🥱😴👋🏻🤙🏻👍🏻👌🏻🥂🍻

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      It’s difficult to blog regularly… especially with my love of the tv shows & movies 😂 but now, when I’ll try to watch less (or nothing 😱) – possibly, I’ll post more often… till all get tired of me 😛

      • Haha Never happen! Your posts are always informative and helpful, much like Jane Friedman’s newsletter. I’ve learned much from you both.
        My weakness is old movies on TCM. I love movies from the 30s.

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        Great 😉 I’m glad if it’s helpful… & I love old movies too 🤓 I’ll def get back to watching in March 😅😜

  17. Kris says:

    Books books books books!!!!!! Reading over some favorites, comfort books. Picked up a few new ones and will see if Barack’s book is available. There was one I saw somewhere….piffle. No matter, with libraries, one will always have books!!!! Eventually.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      🙌 true 🙂 life without books – can’t imagine it…😱

      • Kris says:

        Have decided that at least one new one hanging around on my shelves or in my ereader needs read every month. We’ll see! lol

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        Cool, good attitude 🙂 share the progress later on 🙂 I’m trying to read paperbacks I bought november-december … or already had before.

      • Kris says:

        Even picked up a few new ones with a gift card from Christmas. One of yours is among them! ;o)

      • Victoria Ray NB says:

        haha cool 🙂 😂😉

  18. Simon says:

    Hi ya Ray, it sounds like you have big pans and so many books to read! I’ve got a pile of tbr but nothing like the number you have. Let’s see if I can get my books ready this year. 🙂

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Hey 👋 Simon! It’s only the plans… and I hope 🤞 you can publish your stories/books this year!! It will be fun 🤩!!!

      • Simon says:

        Hey Ray! (that rhymes nicely lol) I hope I can get them out there too. It would definitely be fun 🙂

  19. Hi. Good luck with the books you’ll publish this year. I’m amazed that you once owned 7000 books. That’s a lot! Take care. Neil Scheinin

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Thank you for suggestion about Chaim Potok, Neil. Great!
      It’s difficult- mostly cuz of the space 😂- to own so many books 📚.
      And it will less this time, for sure 😂

  20. My ONLY resolution (since I never make resolutions, I can’t break them 😁😂 is to finish reading your books and then review them all at once. I don’t like reviewing books because I don’t think I’m very good at it. I’m not good at analyzing a novel. I can however, explain in broad terms why I like a book and persuade folks they will enjoy it too. Wish me luck!😄😄🤓👀👨‍🎓🤞👊👍📖📖📖📖❤

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      😅😂 wish you luck! Btw you don’t need to review books if you don’t like it. For example, Nabokov hated reviewing 🙂 he usually said “it’s crap” 🤣🤣🤪, at least in 99,8% of cases.

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