I wanted to say something fairly profound on starting this new blog, or at least begin by explaining why the change in location, but honestly, right now I'm in shock that it's December. It was a year ago, more so, that I was chasing robins around trying to get good pictures of them (since then, incidentally, I've held one of those very robins). It was nine months ago when I was eagerly (or perhaps obsessively) waiting for the daffodils to emerge to mark the end of a very long winter. Our new hens aren't new any more, they've been with us five months. The Faerie Queene, which dominated my thoughts for what felt like forever, was finished nearly ten months ago. I could go on, and that's the scary thing. This year has gone by at a rapid pace. The heatwave, thinking I would never cool down, that's disappeared entirely. All these things that seem so recent are firmly in the past. One month from now, it will be 2014. This is incredible.
So, this how I'm starting my new blog! I decided early in the week that I needed a change, and this is to be both a new project, a new approach, and perhaps a change for change's sake. It isn't desperately important, really. A few things triggered it. As I say, I needed the change. The old blog felt like it was going to ruin, and I was sad about that, but I realised that it didn't inspire me at all any more, there was so much clutter on it and all of a sudden no drive. I wanted to start afresh. The new project is the blog itself, and the new approach - I suppose this is important - I want to slow down. My reading pace has increased rapidly. Although I haven't read more books than usual, my pace is incredible and for quite a while I haven't really dwelt upon what I've read, which is noticeable in that reviews have almost entirely ceased. I'll still share my plans, but I do want more reviews, and various other things. I just want to start afresh.
One of my big plans is to do a lot more re-reading. There are so many books I've loved but forgotten about, like David Copperfield for example - I know I loved it, same with Les Misérables, but I barely remember anything of them. I hope that reviewing more will help anchor more books in my mind! There's some books I haven't loved, either. Some that are well loved, but not only do I not appreciate why, I can't even remember them to offer an opinion. I feel there's so many I might as well not have read. It's been a beautiful journey where I travelled at a break neck speed. I do read fast, but these past few months I've read even faster. I want to go back a bit, back to where I was before summer. With this in mind, my first readalong on this blog will be Middlemarch by George Eliot, which is hosted by Beth of Too Fond. This week I'll be reading the first two books, then the following the next to books and so on. A slower pace, and I aim to write a decent blog post at the end of it, whether I loved it or not. And, as I say, revisit some old favourites, some books that were lost on me, like Homer, some Shakespeare plays that I did like, and perhaps a return to Dickens, whilst, of course, exploring the new.
A part of this is down to the Zola website I've started. It's far (far) from ready, but I loved so much re-reading The Fortune of the Rougons, and I've got so much more out of the second read. I did finish it a few weeks ago, but I've decided to write about each book again, just share some thoughts really, before I write whatever I will write for the website. In the next few days I'll post about Fortune, which I have already written about, and then when I finish The Kill I'll post about that and continue through the series once more.
As you can see by the pages at the top, I'm sticking with The Classics Club (I would never abandon The Classics Club - I'm already thinking about the next list!), and The Penguin English Library. Finally, I decided to slowly work my way through the novels of Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
I have to say, as well, I had a good sign last night I think. I decided earlier in the week to call this blog "Beyond the Stars", a reference to Dante: "The poets leave hell / And again behold the stars" (depending on your translation). Well, last night, the stars here were incredible. I saw Jupiter, the brightest star of the night, and it was so clear here - the terrible, forbidding beauty of a winter sky. I watched them for hours: Jupiter appeared to the left of my window, and it was well past the centre before I fell asleep. One of the best night sky I have ever seen!
So, then. Plans for December. Middlemarch is one of them, and finishing The Kill and writing about it for the website is another. So far, progress has been slow, but it's been a busy month. I do want to work on it this month, but I plan on starting the real work in January. Aside from Zola and Eliot, I plan on reading Kim by Kipling because it was my Classic Spin number, and I want to read Stendhal's The Charterhouse of Parma because it's my last of my 2013 Challenges, after which I shall think about some 2014 challenges!
And, Lord, it's December! Christmas cards need to be sorted, I still haven't made my Christmas cake (I planned on making it last week, but my headaches got quite bad and I had to go to hospital for a scan, which was clear thankfully), and I have pine cones to spray gold, trees to think about, presents to buy, fairy lights to buy, all the wonderful Christmas things to prepare! I do love December! This is a good month to start a new blog!
With that in mind, I'll finish by saying the boring admin-type things - if you subscribed by email or in a feeder, I'll have to ask you to do that again. But, if you just bookmarked Délaissé, in the next few days I'm going to redirect it, so when you click for it you'll end up here.
That is all! I'm going to spend the rest of the afternoon starting Middlemarch and watching 'The Muppet Christmas Carol'!
Happy December, everyone!