Pile o’ Books in 2011: Here and There

The walrus has spoken and the time has come to accept that we are in a new year and the clock is ticking. Sorry. I don’t mean to give you stress if this revelation jerks you out of the 2010 dreamland you were content to be floating in. Mind you, if you’re happy where you are, by all means stay there. I’m more of an onwards and upwards gal myself, and last year was not my favourite of annums (sorry for the faux Latin there),  though many good things happened—a promotion at work, a trip to Thailand with a stellar group of girlfriends, buying a flat, even turning 30. But 2011 is going to be a big one for your human creator of Pile o’ Books, and I’m keen to get officially started.

Why a big year? Well, remember how I moved house recently? The shelves are in, the books are unpacked, there’s this thing called a mortgage I have to try to pay each month, and even a mini-bbq on the balcony. And so, naturally, I’m planning on moving again. It’s ok, it doesn’t make sense to many people. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to me (but mostly it does).

For some time I have been planning to try the northern hemisphere on for size and I’m moving to London in May. It may be for a few months, it may be more. I may work or just take a very long holiday. Perhaps I’ll end up living in a terrace by the seaside or a cottage in the Brecon Beacons, who knows. The reason I’m telling you all of this is not to bore you with my castles in the sky, and certainly not to try to explain the madcap way I arrange my life, but to give a background for the notion behind Pile o’ Books this year.

In 2011 there will be no alphabetical or numerical rules to follow, or quantities for which to aim. Rather we will venture on a journey of consideration around the broad theme of place: settings, connection to environments, place as a character, the idea of belonging somewhere—and of not, the concept of home, the concept of the exotic, discovering new lands, foreigners afield, wanderlust—these are topics already on my mind. And while I journey across the globe with my books, Pile o’ Books will come along for the ride, and, I hope, bring you with us. 

I am labelling this journey of consideration ‘Here and There’. I originally wanted to call it ‘Home and Away’, but due to an unhappy similarity to the title of an Australia soap opera I couldn’t bear to do it. I will aim to alternate between Here books and There books (everywhere a book-book), though I think my categorising will be broad-brushed. 2011 is a year of discovery, a year of travelling, of finding new places to belong and of (no doubt) missing the places where you know you already do. I have no idea of what will happen between Here and There, but I’ll be looking for some literary inspiration along the way.

So whether the above sounds interesting, means something to you or perhaps sounds like I’m merely pulling a notion out of an overworked mind, what will be the focus and stay the focus of P’o’B is the books and our relationships with them and stories as a whole, perhaps with some new perspectives on the part of the chronicler.

This is also a good moment to announce that I’m jumping on the WordPress bandwagon of  the Post-a-week experiment. Not a book a week, you hear, but a post a week. I think that is more than possible. After all, being unemployed, poor and (near) friendless in London there will be a lot of time to read, think and write. For this one reason (and for many others too) I’m quite looking forward to it.


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