As you’ve probably guessed, I love reading, always have done and always will. My studies and career choices have always reflected that. Back when I was growing up, reading provided me with escape and respite from difficult experiences. As an adult, I find that the books I choose often help me to understand and bring compassion to those difficult experiences, assisting me on my healing journey.
Working for Brent Libraries brings me in touch with lots of books. New books, old books, even those falling apart ones, hold a deep fascination for me. Assisting, as I do, with customer reservations brings the added excitement of coming across books I might not otherwise have seen.
So I thought I’d share with you the highlights from my 51 reads of last year. I thought I would go for the top 3, and The One I Would Never Read Again.
TOP 3 –
Paris by Edward Rutherford
I really like this genre, historical fiction spanning generations. It conveys social history really well, and puts into context what I learned about political history at school – in a much more inspiring way. I discovered so much about the building of Eiffel Tower for example. Surprisingly, the Revolution wasn’t really covered as such, which was a bit of a disappointment, but there’re threads of it. On the other hand, I found that a fresh, unexpected approach. Yes, it’s 800+ pages long, and towards the end it dragged a bit, but as a whole, definitely an interesting and thought provoking read.
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
I’m late to this book, which had a lot of hype with the film, I believe. I’ve never seen the film. The story I feel has a fragile and delicate structure that I found caught at my heart. It covers a lot of themes, including love and loss, and also the stigma that can be attached to having mental health issues. There was one particular well written passage conveying the pain of stigma with depth of emotion and empathy. The frequent American football scenes and references were tedious I found, as well as the main character’s somewhat unconventional relationship with his therapist, but it’s worth pushing through those for the core psychological issues covered in this book.
Refuge by Jenny Smith
This is non-fiction, a biography written by a woman who grew up, like me, in the early 70s, a period when the first women’s refuge was opened. I learned so much about the social milieu of the time, which put my own experiences into context. For me this was a very emotional, therapeutic read. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has lived through domestic abuse of any kind, or who is interested in women’s rights and social history. It also has the racial tensions of the era as a main theme.Never Again! –
The Girl with all the Gifts by MR Carey
This was one weird book! Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with surreal, quirky fiction, I read so much of it when I did a Totalitarianism and Literature module at uni! But I didn’t expect this one to be quite so off the wall. It’s post-apocalyptic, packaged in a different way [orange and yellow cover, for example]. The blurb and the cover drew me in, but I found that it really wasn’t my cup of tea at all. But if you’re into zombies and all they entail, this is probably a book you would enjoy.
I write poetry, and am working on getting published. For a poet, I barely ever read poetry, so I plan to include some poetry books in my reads this year. I’m open to recommendations.
I also look forward to sharing with you on this blog some of my reading highlights as this year progresses.