So I thought I would do a review of my year through the books which I have read. I tend to see what I’m reading as quite comparable to what is going on in my world, and I really like these end of year looking back post things. So without further ado…
Ahh January is always a good month for reading because I will always get books or book tokens for Christmas. (Which FYI are just about the best present possible for book lovers, the ability to go and browse in your favourite book shop and then buy whatever you want? Heaven!) In January I was still working full time and commuting on the train and the amount which I managed to read reflects this. Roughly one book a week and then a bit more because James and I went on holiday at the beginning of January and I always do a lot of reading whilst away.
My favourite book of this month has to be We Need to Talk about Kelvin by Marcus Chown- this is an excellent introduction to lots of basic science ideas explained really simply and well. I loved this book and have since lent in out to multiple members of my family to spread the joy as far as possible. If you have any interest in science at all this is a really good introduction with excellent explanations.
Reading for me in February is dominated by Looking for Alaska by John Green. I loved this book! I vividly remember sneaking an extra long lunch break to continue reading it and actually being happy about a delayed train because it gave me more time to read! I finished it in a day and since then I’ve been rationing out my reading of John Green books so that I can have his genius spread out over a longer period rather than just gorging on all his books all at once! February is also when I found out that I had been accepted on to my teacher training course, something which made me very very happy and precipitated a lot of squealing!
I dislocated my knee at the end of February and thus spent all of March at home sitting on my sofa waiting for the tendons in my knee to start liking me again. My reading increased exponentially because of this and was dominated by re-read of comforting books that I have loved for many years- basically David Eddings. Defiantly my go to author when I tired because I know the books so well that they don’t really take much of my brain power! I also treated myself to another John Green book- Paper Towns and loved it just as much.
In April I was back at work and back commuting and I read one of my favourite novels of the year- Kraken by China Meiville. I loved this novel- it was so densely imagined and well written that I immediately had to buy a copy for my Mum for her birthday- it really was so so good. Novel wise it was one of the best modern novels I think I have read in a long while and I would recommend it to anyone who likes slightly dark modern fantasy.
May was the month which I read my very first Sherlock Holmes book! I don’t know why I have never read them before- my Dad loves them and had the entire works of Arthur Conan Doyle whilst I was growing up so I really don’t have any excuse- but I made it all the way to 22 without even reading a line! It was very good- and I plan to read more when I get round to it. Sadly my to read list is ever growing and shockingly long!
In June I discovered P.D. James as a writer when I picked up one of her books at the hospital jumble sale whilst I was there to have physiotherapy for my still recovering knee. (And yes I am always reminded of a quote I had on a postcard and t-shirt as a teenage ‘Wouldn’t it be good if hospitals and schools had all the money which they needed and the Army had to hold jumble sales to buy guns.’ But I digress.) Safe to say, I loved her style and since then I’ve been looking out for her books and plan on slowly making my way through her extensive back catalogue.
July contained one of the worst books I have read in a long time- The Captive Queen. I just couldn’t get in to this at all. I’m not brilliant at reading historical fiction (I think my history degree has ruined this for me!) and this was possibly my least favourite book of the year. However I did plow my way through to the end! I always feel that once I have got so far in a book I kind of need to finish- I can’t remember the last time I actually abandoned reading a book because I didn’t like it.
In August I read only one book- The PGCE Survival Guide. This is possible indicative of the fact that I leaving my job and going back to university! This was a lot of upheaval but incredibly exciting at the same time. I was very preoccupied with teaching and this book was incredibly comforting in spelling out some basics and just generally making me feel a bit more comfortable stepping in to the unknown.
Once back at university I found my spare reading time severely curtailed- hence only managing to read 2 books- another excellent P. D. James book and a nice easy reading Nick Hornby. Since going back to university I have gravitated towards ‘easier’ books. Mostly because I tend to read late at night just before going to bed and my brain just isn’t up to much more!
Jeal M. Auel books dominated October. My Dad found a very dilapidated copy of The Clan of the Cave Bear on the train and thought- well something this well read must be worth a look. He got me hooked on them and I read the first 5 practically back to back. I still have the 6th one to read and I’m saving it up for when I have a nice long period of time to indulge myself!
In November I read one of the most challenging memoirs I have read for a very long time- Nothing Left Over by Toinette Lippe. This was a very moving book about one woman striving for simplicity in our overly complex world. I made me think long and hard about ‘stuff’ and what it is that has true worth. A book to go back to I feel when I feel over whelmed by the amount of stuff that I have.
The best book I read in December by far was The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood. I would even go so far to say it was possibly the best book I read this year. It made me think very deeply about certain aspects of my own views of the world and that is one of the best things about well written literature- it can change your mind and your outlook.
Well there we have it, my year in reading. This year I have read 69 books and can honestly say that I’ve only hated one of them! Well if you’ve made it this far through a post this long, I salute you! Here is too another excellent year in reading- roll on 2012!