Reading the Year – May


The year is starting to get busy – you know how I can tell? My reading is slowing down. I feel as though I have less and less time to delve into a book. Less time to devote to a heavy novel. Less time to take my time and read what I really want to. I hate that!

Reading is my one true love outside of my family and friends. When people ask the inevitable question “what do you like to do?” my first response, without hesitation, is always “to read”. Reading is my escape, but also my grounding. Without it I just don’t feel like me.

So I am making a commitment to myself to come back to my reading over the next couple of months – to take the time to do the one thing I love above all else. To put down the phone, to stop channel surfing and to pick up my book. Let’s see how it goes…

Even though I have been slowing down I have still read some great books this month:

A God in Ruins – Kate Atkinson – This is Atkinson’s newly released companion novel to her best seller Life after Life which I wrote about here. After loving Life after Life so much I was wondering if A God in Ruins would live up to my expectations – but it did. In some ways I think it is even a better book, more developed and intricate somehow. The book focuses on the brother of the main character in the first novel and so while some of the same events are covered they are told from a completely different perspective. Atkinson has a wonderful way of developing her characters for a reader – they are fully formed people who you are invested in from the very beginning. I loved this book – the only problem I had with it was that it ended and I just wanted more!

Persuasion – Jane Austen – This is my favourite Austen book, and one of my all time favourite novels, so re-reading it for possibly the 20th time was far from a chore! This was a selection for a book club I belong to with a group of colleagues and it created quite a bit of debate. I feel it is Austen’s most “mature” book, the character of Anne is more reserved, although no less bright and engaging than a Lizzy Bennett or a Marianne Dashwood. I love the theme of second chances that is woven throughout and it has possibly one of the most enchanting and romantic lines in literature from Captain Wentworth; “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope”. He had me at hello!

The Beginners Goodbye – Anne Tyler – After falling in love with Tyler’s writing in A Spool of Blue Thread which I wrote about here I was keen to read another one of her books. The Beginners Goodbye is the story of Aaron and his response to the sudden death of his wife, Dorothy. I have to say the story in this one didn’t capture my heart as much as Blue Thread but I still absolutely adore Tyler’s writing – she can turn the every day into magic so I will definitely be reading more of her work.

The First Stone – Helen Garner – And for a complete change of pace I have re-read a book from my favourite Australian writer. Garner controversially tackles the subject of sexual harassment in this book which was first published just as I was in the midst of completing my social work degree. I do think Garner misses (or is oblivious to??) some aspects of power and gender but I still love her writing style and her ability to question herself in the midst of her writing. I always feel engaged with her work even if I am not agreeing with her point of view.

How about you – what have you been reading lately? Do you feel like you have enough time in your life to read?


4 Comments on Reading the Year – May

  1. Brona
    June 12, 2015 at 10:09 pm (3 years ago)

    I love the idea of Colm Toibin introducing Persuasion – I’d love to know what he had to say.

    I read The Beginner’s Goodbye and have been surprised by how much it has stayed with me over the years. I have A Spool of Blue Thread on my TBR pile & hope to get to it soon.

    I haven’t read The First Stone yet, but after This House of Grief, I want to read more – I loved the way she questioned and challenged preconceptions.

    Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get into any of Kate Atkinson’s stuff, but all these good reviews makes me wish otherwise.

    • Karen
      June 16, 2015 at 6:40 am (3 years ago)

      Hi Brona – thanks for dropping by! I’ve heard Kate Atkinson can be a real dividing author for a lot of readers – you either love her or not!

  2. Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages
    June 14, 2015 at 8:11 pm (3 years ago)

    A few books here I haven’t heard of so will go check them out. I love to read too and most nights I read in bed before I go to sleep. It is so exciting to get into a book so much that I push aside anything else and read it all day. Can’t wait to find a book like that again.

    • Karen
      June 16, 2015 at 6:42 am (3 years ago)

      I know what you mean Malinda – I both love and dread finding books like that! I often feel guilty for pushing aside other “real” stuff to read but sometimes the compulsion is just too strong!


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