2018 Books and Reading Goals

As I said in my previous post, 2017 Books and Reading Follow-up, I am greatly simplifying this year. I am generally happy with my reading, but not my reviewing or the amount of data collection. So changes are warranted.

Reviews: will do them when and if moved to do so and they will be of whatever quality I am moved to. Otherwise I simply do not care or, at least, hope not to let the lack of a review bug me.

My overall book goal is 90 books for 2018. I have a list of potential books-to-be-read divided into categories but decided not to post it or hew to it either.

My main goal is to read more translations; total 12. Maybe without the goal of reviewing them too I can actually get close to 10-15% of the total being translations.

I think that is pretty much it. I will track a few categories and such but if I fail to do a good job then I intend and hope not to pressure myself into going back and getting the data straight. If I end up with a raw number of books read of 90 or more, of which 12 or more are translations then I will be satisfied with my 2018 reading goals (based on this criteria). The end of the year may well bear different criteria. ::sigh::

On why Aesop’s Fables

I wanted to make myself a quick note so I could remember in the future why I chose to re-read Aesop’s fables in the upcoming immediate future.

Friday morning (Jan. 15, 2016) I wrote this in my journal:

“11:12 AM Just had my third Aesop’s reference this morning! The beer place, Brontë, and now my crossword.”

I figured the universe was trying to send me a message of some kind so on Friday afternoon while at work I grabbed myself a copy of Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables, selected by John J. McKendry and published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1964.

My first reference came via Facebook to the article “Napa’s Mad Fritz brewery stakes out new terroir” in the San Francisco Chronicle. Mad Fritz’s beers are named after specific fables from Aesop, such as The Larks in the Corn, or The Viper and File. All in all, the brewery and beers sound fantastic and I might have to put a little effort into getting my hands on some. The labels are also beautifully illustrated and “The moral takeaway is noted on the back label.”

My second reference came while reading further in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. On page 95 of the Oxford World’s Classics edition we read,

“If life promised no enjoyment within my vocation, at least it offered no allurements out of it; and, henceforth, I would put my shoulder to the wheel* and toil away, like any poor drudge of a cart-horse that was fairly broken in to its labour, and plod through life, not wholly useless if not agreeable, and uncomplaining if not contented with my lot.”

In the Explanatory Notes on p. 424 we learn that “put my shoulder to the wheel” is a “proverbial expression, from Aesop’s fable of Hercules and the waggoner. ODEP, 729.” [ODEP is the Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs, 3rd edn. (1971).

The third reference came as I waiting on my sandwich bread to toast for lunch. I was working on the 2 September 2015 Los Angeles Times crossword when 65 across popped up with “Greek storyteller” as the hint and who, of course, should be the answer? Our friend Aesop.

I’m not one much for “signs” but something was prodding me here.

I went with it. I hope that I can find what it is the universe may have been pointing at.

I have since seen several other Aesop references but that is the way these things go, isn’t it?