I don’t do New Year resolutions. There are enough unexpected disappointments in life without me setting myself up for more. This year, however, I have resolved to do something. When I decided to do it, I hadn’t realised it was a New Year resolution but it happened in early January and it’s a resolution, so I guess that makes it a New Year Resolution.
A friend of mine has been on a project to re-read the collected works of Charles Dickens. He’s currently reading “Hard Times” and I asked him how it was going. He said it was hard and then sighed. “I’ve actually been looking for someone who will do the Russians with me.” At which I replied, “I’ll do the Russians with you.” Then I amended that to, “Well, at least I’ll try to do a few at any rate. I’ve never managed to complete a Russian properly, other than Nabokov and I don’t know if you can really call him a Russian in that sense.”
By this time you’ve hopefully caught on to the fact that “doing the Russians” means “reading the works of Russian writers”. It took another friend, who was listening to us, a while to wrap their heads around the fact that not only was there nothing carnal about “doing”, but the Russians in question were not only physically absent from the geographical vicinity but also dead. What can I say? I’m a wild child.
So there you have it. My resolution for 2011 is to read the major works of Leo Tolstoy (by which I really mean only “Anna Karenina” and “War and Peace”). If I manage this, preferably without getting addicted to vodka, then we reward ourselves with Dostoyevsky. “Anna Karenina” is also going to be the first book I read as an iBook, which is something I’m rather curious to experience. Just in case I need a breather or two, I’ve got Keith Richards’ “Life” as well. Any decade that begins with me alternating between an adulterer and a junkie can’t be too bad.