All By My Shelves – a challenge for 2021

During the long lockdowns of 2020 I have read and bought a lot of new books from Independent Publishing Houses. This started out as a way of supporting independent businesses during the financial hardship that accompanied the Lockdown but has now become a concerted buying plan given that nearly everything I read during this time was high quality (but low publicity) literature.

It has also led me to a wonderful reading community on Twitter and Instagram which is supportive. I’ve joined one reading group through the Republic of Consciousness and found a variety of new authors and topics to learn about. I read two books about the mental health challenges faced by Lucia Joyce and two books about the wonderful Ann Lister. I’ve reconnected with nature writing, especially that of the mid-twentieth century, and been introduced to wonderful new women’s writing as Indie Houses are actively seeking to address publishing imbalances.

Even though I read an average of three books a week, I have not been able to keep up with my subscriptions and other purchases! So my plan for reading in 2021 is to harvest my shelves of the wonderful books that I’ve bought over the last year and any future purchases will be new books from my favourite publishers.

I will still read my favourite authors as they release new books but my focus will be again on the Indies and on my shelves. Lockdown has seen us have to be more self-reliant – hence the ‘all by my shelves’ title.

My goal for this year is to continue with the UKLA book panel and to increase my profile as a reader and blogger. I love talking about reading and sharing books and ideas with others. I have found this a challenge since moving to London and especially during the Covid Lockdowns. I’m looking forward to a more community based reading life in 2021.

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