It’s this and shopping lists.
I’m going to make time to read, this year, because honestly, there’s supporting other people and then there’s martyrdom. My kids don’t need me to give up books, and everyone else can learn to look after themselves.
Well, it’s 2020 and this year, I’m going to list all the books I’ve read. Yeah, I know, it’s August and I haven’t started yet. So:
- Children of the Chief by Mabel Shaw. Published by London Missionary Society, 1921. Thought I’d start with something different… 1920s semi-biographical story of a young, English female missionary in Kenya. LOTS to unpick.
- All other reading seriously shafted by COVID lockdown and trying to feed and home-ed the kids while working full-time with no support. Reading therefore limited to lots and lots of kids’ books – favourite being Paver’s Chronicles (Wolf Brother etc), and yey for Viper’s Daughter, thank you Santa, looking forward to it.
Bit of a half-arsed attempt at listing what I read this year. Could do better.
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. If you’ve ever needed loving arms around you or if your mother’s an astonishing let down, this might make you smile.
- The Little Book of Whittling by Chris Lubkemann – gorgeous, photo-illustrated book on how to whittle animals and tools out of wood.
- Milkman by Anna Burns. Complex, observant, tribal story of gossip, politics and violence in an unnamed city (Belfast).
- Womanhood: The Bare Reality by Laura Dodsworth. The third of the triptych – similar vein to the others.
- Best Microfiction 2019 anthology of editor-nominated microfictions. Am biased because I have one in it, but enjoyed it anyway. Crumbs by Nicole Rivas, Not Sorry by Sarah Salway, The Seeds of Things by Joe P Squance, My Father Comforts Me in the Form of Birds by Sharon Telfer. Lots more.
- the everrumble by Michelle Elvy. Utterly gorgeous, life-affirming story of Zettie who stopped speaking at age seven to focus on listening. A world poem. Best read in 10 years.
- The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan. Girl growing up on a remote island, sweet story of magic and loss by the sea – selkies and remote islands. I live by the sea and swim in it most weeks, but expect other readers might find this otherworldly.
- Fleabag: The Original Play by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Shorter and more heartbreaking than the TV series. Clever. Ouch.
- Something Like Breathing by Angela Readman. Observant coming-of-age story of two girls in a small island community. Unexpected.
- All That Is Between Us by KM Elkes. Excellent short fiction collection, on relationships between people.
- The Choice by Edith Eger. Memoir of Auschwitz survivor who became a clinical psychologist. Devastating, inspirational.
- The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. Interesting but didn’t hook me like The Choice, although it provided more detail. Should have read this one first.
- Becoming by Michelle Obama. We love Michelle Obama. Warm, smart advocate of hard work.
- The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. Soul balm. Book hugs. Perfect for a child or an adult. One of my special Mum-to-child gifts. Have also given copies to friends and a school library. If “must read” exists, this is it.
- The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris – fab, will comment properly shortly
- Things We Say in the Dark by Kirsty Logan – fab, will comment properly shortly
- The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry (reading now).
So, in the week before New Year, can I remember what I read this year? Even the slightest chance?
- The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell. Classic, gothic creepy.
- Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. The culture and history of ultra-running (with opinions on evolution and footwear). Inspiring and fun.
- Manhood: the Bare Reality by Laura Dodsworth. Men’s relationships to their penises. Lots of anxiety, less relaxed love and fun. Quite miserable.
- My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal. Painful and poignant but beautifully told story of adoption.
- Other Household Toxins by Christopher Allen. Merciless flash fiction. Excellent.
- You Can’t Spell America Without Me by Alec Baldwin and Kurt Andersen. It’s sad that it’s funny.
- The Story of Life by Chris (Simpsons Artist). Flanimals meets Edward Monkton.
- Boost Creative Writing Confidence at KS2 by Kate Long. Ace – fun for parents, too.