Reading Past and Present

Last year, I let my husband help pick the books I was reading – 50 in total – and he picked some things I had been meaning to read and a lot of classics. I managed to get through Middlemarch, Far From the Madding Crowd, Moby Dick and The Old Man and the Sea but not David Copperfield, Emma or The Turn of the Screw. I was pleased to get through those four as they have been on my meaning to read list for a while but I’d be a liar if I said that I really enjoyed them. I feel compelled to keep reading the classics – I’m not sure why – but I really don’t enjoy them. As a result, I went off list.

Highlights from last year were mostly modern – Take Nothing With You by Patrick Gale was a favourite, as was The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. The Plot Against America by Philip Roth was fantastic and certainly the best alternative history novel I have read. Roth and Whitehead were both new to me and I will definitely be reading more by them in the future.

Unfortunately. although I had quite a few five star reads, I also read a lot of disappointing books. David Mitchell (Utopia Avenue), Ian McEwan (Machines Like Me), Sebastian Faulks (Engleby) and Graham Swift (Here We Are) all let me down this year. The one good thing about this is the fact I do not feel compelled to read anything else by them.

This year, I am choosing less books – I only managed to read 37 books last year. I am adding some of last years books, some non fiction and more kindle books then I had last year. Hopefully, I’ll manage to stick to it a bit more successfully.

  1. Blood and Guts in High School – Kathy Acker
  2. Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  3. Ridley Road – Jo Bloom – Currently Reading
  4. Have You Eaten Grandma? – Gyles Brandreth
  5. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  6. The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
  7. Babel Tower – A. S. Byatt
  8. Good Night and Good Luck – David Cavanagh
  9. The City and the Stars – Arthur C. Clarke
  10. The Long Call – Anne Cleeves
  11. Mr Wilder and Me – Jonathan Coe
  12. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
  13. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
  14. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  15. Girl, Woman, Other – Bernardine Evaristo
  16. Sunburn – James Felton Finished 23/1/22
  17. Maurice – E. M. Forster
  18. House of Glass – Hadley Freeman
  19. Anansi Boys – Neil Gaiman
  20. Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
  21. The Princess Bride – William Goldman
  22. The Institute – Stephen King
  23. The Lost Language of Cranes – David Leavitt
  24. Live By Night – Dennis Lehane
  25. Pies and Prejudice – Stuart Maconie
  26. No One Writes to the Colonel – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  27. More Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin
  28. Homage to Catalonia – George Orwell
  29. Bleeding Hearts – Ian Rankin Finished 16/1/22
  30. Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee – Meera Syal – Currently Reading
  31. Shuggy Bain – Douglas Stuart
  32. The Kitchen God’s Wife – Amy Tan
  33. The Two Towers – J R R Tolkien
  34. Candide – Voltaire
  35. The Underground Railway – Colson Whitehead

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