Summer Reading: 10 Books of Summer

10books

While it might be a little late to write this now, the summer technically starts the 21th of June in the Northern Hemisphere so really I am only a few days late.  Today I’m bringing you my Summer TBR, tbr standing for to-be-read although it’s a little more tentative than set in stone. I’m joining in on the 20 Books in Summer challenge hosted by Cathy of 746 Books but I ended up having an odd number, so while I’m using the number of 10 for the challenge – I’m really listing 11 here. I suppose I can see it as options? Or me being typically rebellious to rules? Anyway, here are the books I’m hoping to read during the summer weeks.

  1. Strange Heart Beating – Eli Goldstone
  2. No School To-Morrow – Margaret Ashmun
  3. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  4. The Hunting of the Snark – Lewis Carroll
  5. Fever dream – Samantha Schweblin
  6. Behind Bars – Ty Wenzel
  7. Corvus – Esther Woolfson
  8. Lost Animals – Errol Fuller
  9. The Oxford Illustrated History of English Literature – ed. by Pat Rogers
  10. Tove Jansson: Work and Love – Tuula Karjalainen
  11. A Woman in Arabia – Gertrude Bell

 

That’s all for now, happy summer reading!

Natalie

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Reading Goals, 2016

As the year is drawing to a close, it’s time to start looking ahead – to the year to come. Truth to be told I started thinking about my goals (reading related and otherwise) sometime in November, brainstorming ideas, musing. However it wasn’t until sometime this month that they were truly perfected. I’m not the sort of person to cry over not reaching my goals, but I do call them goals rather than resolutions for a reason – it’s something I’m working towards, something to aspire, and hopefully to reach. For me, the entire point of goals is to have a clear view of yourself – of who you want to be, what you want to accomplish. And the key to goals – I think – is to have a mixture of them, some that will be easier to reach, some that perhaps are more general and almost philosophical in nature.

In 2015 my reading goals were to: reread more, decrease TBR, stop star-rating books, read more non-fiction, read more books from the Rory Gilmore reading challenge, and to read more POC authors/translated works. Some went better than others. For example, I realised fairly soon that I didn’t want to decrease my TBR. I had started feeling guilty over owning too many books, but I realised it wasn’t actually my true feelings, but rather inspired by the talk in the internet book community. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to decrease one’s TBR of course, it just wasn’t what I wanted to do. But that is a discussion for another day.

Without further ado, here are my reading goals for 2016:

  1. Read more translated works (especially outside of Japan & France)
  2. Reread at least two books (The Little Prince & The Wizard of Oz doesn’t count for this, as they are the only books I’ve read multiple times)
  3. Read what I want, not what I think I should (which I do for the most part – but I want to make a point of not checking Goodreads ratings and numbers every single time I pick up a book. Sometimes it would be nice to pick up a book simply because wanted to read it)
  4. Buy no books from Amazon (so of course that means no Bookdepository or Abebooks. I’m looking forward to finding new sources for my book buying)
  5. Only buy books written by women & books in translation full-price (might seem an odd goal, but I’ve realised a large portion of my TBR are books written by English (white) men, and in order to change up my reading I also need to change up the books I own. Plus, I’ve noticed it’s a lot easier finding books written by men in the secondhand stores around where I live, at least for the books I’m interested in)
  6. Read about half/every other book non-fiction (this is a big goal! It’s my main goal for the year, and it’s something I’m very excited about. It’s also possible it’ll be hard, but I look forward to discovering new genres within this ocean of books I’ve been neglecting)
  7. Annotate more in my books (something I’ve been thinking about the last couple of weeks, I do use post its but sometimes I have thoughts I want to save somehow and especially since I want to read more nonfiction, I figure annotating will make it easier for me to take it all in – similarly to how I handle my course literature)
  8. Lastly, read 70 books! (this number might change as the year progresses, depending on life circumstances, but for now – let’s aim high!)

Those are my reading goals for 2016. What are your goals, reading related or perhaps book buying related as some of mine are? And how did 2015 work out, did you reach your goals?

Until next time, Happy Reading!

N

Authors I Clicked With 2015

You know when you read an author for the first time, and neither the story nor the characters are always perfect, but there’s just something about the writing that really clicks? For me, good writing is a vital part in my connection to, and admiration for, a book. I can read and enjoy a book without spectacular writing – that focuses on other things, for example I truly enjoyed The Cuckoo’s Calling but the writing wasn’t the reason for the enjoyment. Well, I mean, it was well written but not spectacular. I say spectacular/good writing, but I’m basing this on my own personal taste of course. For example I remember so many people talking about the amazing and unique writing in The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – ugh. I really, really, disliked the way he used language. I understood the “uniqueness” of it, I just didn’t think it worked. So basically what I’m saying is, good solid writing to me is something very subjective so when I find something that truly appeals to me – I tend to want to read everything that author has ever written.

That was a long intro. Anyway, what I wanted to discuss today was the authors I read for the first time in 2015 and that I instantly felt a connection with, and have hopes to read their entire backlog in the coming years.

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The first one in the year was Jon Krakauer. I read Into Thin Air in January, so it has been several months since then. It was without a doubt one of the best books I read this year. I am not a big non-fiction reader (something I hope to change in the future) so I felt slightly intimidated. But Krakauer has a way of telling the story that makes it both interesting and real. It completely captivated me, in the sense that I lost track of time whilst reading it, and it was very accessible. I realized something about myself reading Into Thin Air, that I have a certain fascination with faroff places such as mountain tops, bottoms of oceans, Antartica, islands. There’s something magical about them, but at the same time Krakauer doesn’t shy away from discussing the rather more gruesome realities of the climb up Mt. Everest. Long story short, Into Thin Air was amazing and I’m curious to see how Krakauer tackles other topics as well.

Fast-forward a few months and we come to the author I think clicked with me the most, Shirley Jackson. I’d heard about her for so long, and had planned to read her short stories for a long time before finally getting to it in Spring. When I was reading The Lottery and Other Stories I didn’t immediately realize how much I loved it. Some stories definitely clicked with me, others didn’t, the title story was amazing of course. But as I finished the collection and time passed, I realized I was thinking about it constantly. It lingered in my head, whispering readmereadme and I knew something about Jackson’s writing had spoke to me. I also read Hangsaman as you’ll know, in December, and had similar feelings towards Jackson’s writing. The woman is amazing.

I finally got around to reading my first book by Siri Hustvedt this year (What I loved) and she definitely writes in a way that appeals to me. This book is a good example of a story with imperfect characters, and certainly where I felt the story itself wasn’t perfect, the writing still saved it for me. And it made me curious to read more of her work.

Next up was Fuminori Nakamura (The Thief). The Thief is actually a rather simple story, it’s short and on the surface there’s not that much too it. I did like the actual story and the characters but I also couldn’t recommend it to anyone because I wouldn’t know how to – there was nothing groundbreaking in it. Yet the connection for me was there, and I can’t explain why. Something worked for me and made me feel like this would even be worth revisiting, to get a new perspective on it. Yes, I think that’s it for me – the writing was deceptively simple, and I think the simplicity is what brings it its richness. Does that even make sense?

Lastly, the author of the weirdest book I read this year – The Master & Margarita, is Mikhail Bulgakov. Man, this book, his writing, it’s just so different from anything I’ve ever read. It really felt like falling into Wonderland, where things were turned upside down and nonsense was truth and magical things were twisted out of shape. I am very curious to read more of Bulgakov’s books to see whether I just loved this particular book and story and setting, or whether Bulgakov’s writing is what I’m utterly captivated by.

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These are the five authors I really clicked with over the year. Who are some authors you discovered in 2015? Any authors whose backlist you’re dying to plunge into and check off?

Until next time, Happy Reading!

N