Reading the Year – January

  Karen iphone 2015 1892

Some of my friends and I are doing this reading challenge this year. Now, before Sweet Pea came along I would have had no problems in knocking over this challenge – I was easily reading 70 – 80 books a year – my reading time knew no bounds!

Things have changed a little on the reading front…

But – I still love reading, it inspires me, informs me, entertains me, builds me. So I am trying to set aside more time for reading in my life. I have jumped into this challenge and am also attending a monthly reading/book club with some of my dear colleagues. My reading life is coming back, slowly but surely.

As a way of keeping track of my reading – and to share the experience with you all – I am going to start a monthly post all about my reading endeavours. Hopefully you will pick up some great reads to add to your TBR pile along the way…

January was a pretty good reading month – both in terms of numbers read and great books consumed. Here are the books that I got through:

The Book of Strange New Things – Michel Faber – This is definitely not my “usual” type of read but I picked up on all the hype surrounding this one and decided to give it a go – and I’m so glad I did. This is already shaping up to be one of my favourite reads of the year. As the description on the publisher’s site says it is a “genre-defying” book – something that I am usually not a fan of at all, I like a book to be clear about where it sits in terms of genre but this book is just so good I didn’t care. It is dystopian, it is a little sci-fi but really it is all about relationships, communication and identity – it is brilliant and I highly recommend it. For the purposes of the challenge this book has been filed in the “Book with more than 500 pages” category.

Wild – Cheryl Strayed – This book is receiving a lot of air time at the moment due to the movie that has just come out starring Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl. The movie is brilliant and powerful but I would encourage you to read the book first because it really packs a punch. I know the words “raw” and “emotional” and “honest” are probably over used when it comes to describing memoirs but they really are accurate when it comes to describing this book. I was hesitant about placing it on my reading list – I am NOT a hiking/camping kind of girl AT ALL but this book was incredible – once I started it I could not put it down. Read it! I’m placing this book in the “book that became a movie” category.

This House of Grief – Helen Garner – Garner is probably my favourite writer of all time – she nails it every time when it comes to narrative non fiction in my mind – and yet I still had trouble getting through this book. This was actually the second time I had attempted to read this book. The first time I got to the part where the police divers find the little boys bodies in the sunken car and I looked over at my sweet, sleeping toddler beside me and I just couldn’t go on…But this is a testament to Garner’s writing – she leaves nothing left unsaid and it makes for tight, emotional, brilliant writing. For those who don’t know the book is Garner’s account of following the trial of Robert Farquharson, a ma who was accused (and found guilty) of murdering his three young sons on Father’s Day 2005 near Melbourne. It is a tough read at times, but always evocative and reflective. I’m placing this in the “Book based on a true story” category.

Glitter and Glue – Kelly Corrigan – This was a book I came across when browsing through Amazon one day (as you do!). It is an easy read, but challenging in some ways too. The author is telling the story of the relationship with her own mother through the memories of her time in Australia working as a nanny for a widower and his two young children. I know this sounds like quite heavy stuff, and it definitely is in places, but it is also funny and revealing. I really loved it. I’m putting this one in the “Book you can finish in a day” category.

Eva Luna – Isabel Allende – This was actually the first Allende book I have read but judging from my reaction it won’t be my last. This is a haunting book in so many ways – a feisty, powerful, admirable main character and musical, mystical language combine so well that even in the quieter parts (of which there are not that many) you are holding on for the next part of the story with bated breath, just gorgeous. I am placing this book in the “Book that was originally written in a different language” category.

How about you? What have you been reading lately? Any good recommendations for my challenge??

10 Comments

10 Comments on Reading the Year – January

  1. Chloe
    February 11, 2015 at 2:19 pm (3 years ago)

    I’m currently reading A Clash of Kings by George R. Martin.

    Oh and I love Wild by Cheryl Strayed it is one of my favourite books of all time! If you enjoyed Wild I recommend checking out Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, it’s a collection of advice columns which at first the idea didn’t appeal to me at all, but I thought it was brilliant.

    Happy Reading!

    Reply
    • Karen
      February 16, 2015 at 12:22 pm (3 years ago)

      My partner reads a lot of George R. Martin but I really struggle with the fantasy genre… I quite liked The Hunger Games books though – that’s about as close to fantasy as I get I’m afraid!

      Reply
  2. Amanda Kendle
    February 13, 2015 at 11:54 pm (3 years ago)

    Helen Garner’s is on my to-read list too. I have tried Isabel Allende before because I’m sure I should like her, but couldn’t get into it – maybe it was just the wrong book. Must try again!

    Reply
    • Karen
      February 16, 2015 at 12:23 pm (3 years ago)

      Give Eva Luna a try maybe Amanda?? I find a lot of the time it’s the timing for me too – I’ll try to read a book and hate it but then go back a few months (or even years!) later and love it!

      Reply
  3. Bele @ BlahBlah
    February 15, 2015 at 12:34 pm (3 years ago)

    What an awesome list. I loved Wild and I really love the guiding quote – What will you do with this one wild and precious life
    I made cushions out of it x

    Reply
    • Karen
      February 16, 2015 at 12:24 pm (3 years ago)

      What a great idea Bele – it is a perfect and inspiring quote.

      Reply
  4. Sonia Life Love Hiccups
    February 15, 2015 at 1:49 pm (3 years ago)

    I have a pile of books on my bedside waiting to be read – I just need to find the time. You have inspired me to try and find the time though as man I love escaping into a good book xx

    Reply
    • Karen
      February 16, 2015 at 12:25 pm (3 years ago)

      Oh Sonia I completely understand. I have found my spare time available for reading greatly diminished of late but I’ve just had to dig in and claw it back!!

      Reply
  5. Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages
    February 15, 2015 at 4:49 pm (3 years ago)

    I have Wild on my must read list. So far this year I have managed to tick off 5 books and I am on my 6th.

    Reply
    • Karen
      February 16, 2015 at 12:25 pm (3 years ago)

      Sounds like you are going ok in the reading stakes this year Malinda! I know it’s not about the quantity but I just feel so sad sometimes when I think of the number of books I used to read compare to now…

      Reply

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