Wrapped Up In Books, Still

At the beginning of the year, I set myself a challenge of reading 52 books. Today, the 22nd July, I read the 52nd of them (The Truants, Kate Weinberg)!

I don’t intend to stop reading just because I’ve completed the challenge, and I have a lot on my to read list. I tend to either read voraciously or read absolutely nothing for a month; there isn’t really a middle ground! I’ve been using Goodreads to record what I’m reading. It’s mostly for myself so I don’t forget what I’ve read, so I rarely use it to write reviews – if I really like a book, I’m much more likely to recommend it to an individual who I think will like it. It’s rare that I don’t finish a book – I can only think of two this year – I have finally accepted that I can’t deal with James Joyce, and I just couldn’t get into Middlemarch – I know some people love it but it just didn’t make me want to read it.

One of my aims was to read a more diverse range of authors and books, although all the books I’ve read have either been written in or translated into English. I’ve been quite successful, especially recently, but it’s always something I can and should do better at.

January seems like a very long time ago now so it’s difficult to remember what I thought about books I read earlier in the year, and I haven’t decided yet what I think about the one I’ve just finished.

If you asked on a different day, I might well come up with a different list, but so far, my five favourite books I’ve read this year were:

Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo

Queenie, Candice Carter Williams

Daisy Jones and the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid

City of Girls, Elizabeth Gilbert

Rainbow Milk, Paul Mendez

I haven’t included any non fiction in this list because although I’ve read quite a bit, it’s hard to compare with fiction. Recently I’ve read quite a lot of books about BIPOC experience, particularly in the light of the Black Lives Matter movement. They’ve all been fascinating and about a wide range of experiences and such an important topic to try and inform myself about. It’s hard to compare books about Black experience in the UK with ones about funeral ritual in the US, queer lives in religion and a collection of essays by and about Muslim women!

So, 52 books down and who knows how many to go? My current dilemma is whether to reread A Suitable Boy before the TV series – I’m tempted to wait and read it afterwards so I can appreciate the TV version on its own merits.

If anyone would like to recommend a book, I’m always very grateful for suggestions! I’m trying not to reread too much, although sometimes it’s exactly what I need and sometimes rereading just feels like meeting an old friend again. Sometimes though, you reread a book and realise how annoying it is – I had this a few years ago when I read the Catcher in the Rye for the first time since I was at school. Don’t do that, as soon as you aren’t 17 you realise he’s just a very moody and entitled brat. I have a very long list of things to read, but suggestions are always welcome regardless!

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