Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What I've been reading

Late last year it started to irritate me that I could never remember what books I'd read. I could remember characters, or plots, or settings but never anything useful like a title, or an author. Which is hopeless when you're trying to tell someone you've read an excellent book set in Greece, or about an old woman. I borrow my books from the Parliamentary Library, which has a small but perfectly formed fiction collection. And it's literally 100 metres from my desk ... talk about enabling. Even if I wanted to break the reading habit (which I don't) it would be impossible with my supplier downstairs giving it away for free.

Anyway the only bad thing about the library is that it's a primarily research library, not a lending one, so they don't have a record of what you've borrowed. So I whinged for a bit about not being able to keep track, then decided to do something about it and installed Goodreads. It has an excellent scan function, so now I'm in a routine where before I drop my books back I scan the barcode with the iPad camera and put the book in my "2018" shelf on Goodreads. It is very simple, and means I can tell you that for the first six months of 2018 I read the following 61 books (in reverse chronological order, with the most recent at the top):

Leonard Woolf: A Biography
Victoria Glendinning
The End of the Day
Claire North
The Women in Black
Madeleine St. John
Re Jane
Patricia  Park
Primary School Confidential: Confessions From the Classroom
Mrs. Woog
Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal #1)
Zen Cho
One Fifth Avenue
Candace Bushnell
We Are Not Ourselves
Matthew  Thomas
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd (Flavia de Luce, #8)
Alan Bradley
Relatively Famous
Roger Averill
The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen
Syrie James
King of the Badgers
Philip Hensher
Where There's A Will
John Mortimer
Ink and Bone
Lisa Unger
An Unkindness of Ghosts
Rivers Solomon
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1)
Alan Bradley
The Passengers
Eleanor Limprecht
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia de Luce, #7)
Alan Bradley
The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (Flavia de Luce, #2)
Alan Bradley
How Hard Can It Be? (Kate Reddy, #2)
Allison Pearson
Love & Fame
Susie Boyt
Dying: A Memoir
Cory Taylor
Too Close To Home
Georgia Blain
The Girl With All the Gifts
M.R. Carey
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
Gail Honeyman
This Side of Paradise
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)
Becky Chambers
Vivienne Kelly
Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris
Edmund White
A Red Herring Without Mustard (Flavia de Luce, #3)
Alan Bradley
The Supernatural Enhancements
Edgar Cantero
The Secret Recipe for Second Chances
J.D. Barrett
Jennifer Mills
The Wonder
Emma Donoghue
Breathless: An American Girl in Paris
Nancy K. Miller
The Days of Abandonment
Elena Ferrante
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer
Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1)
Ernest Cline
Never Let Me Go
Kazuo Ishiguro
Eleanor & Park
Rainbow Rowell
Of Human Bondage
W. Somerset Maugham
Norse Mythology
Neil Gaiman
Wedding Night
Sophie Kinsella
Cosmo Cosmolino
Helen Garner
The Jane Austen Project
Kathleen A. Flynn
Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles, #1)
Melina Marchetta
The Group
Mary McCarthy
Diary of a Provincial Lady
E.M. Delafield
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Claire North
Neil Gaiman
When We Were Orphans
Kazuo Ishiguro
The Outcasts of Time
Ian Mortimer
DIS MEM BER and Other Stories of Mystery and Suspense
Joyce Carol Oates
Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark, #1)
Veronica Roth
Let Me Be Frank With You
Richard Ford
Rainbow Rowell
The Forgotten Garden
Kate Morton
The Distant Hours
Kate Morton
I've Got Your Number
Sophie Kinsella
She's Not There
Joy Fielding
Then We Came to the End

Joshua Ferris

Most of them are reasonably lightweight - I read for pleasure not for learning - and I haven't included about another twenty that I started and then decided life was too short to read a boring book (most literary prize winners end up in this group because I am a philistine and book judges are mental). Also this list doesn't include the really crappy ones I download from the ACT public library for when I travel ... this is mostly anything by M.C. Beaton, the Phyrne Fisher series and many with the words 'regency' and 'romance' in the title. Embarrassing, but I can't read anything remotely intellectual in a plane or an airport. I think it's the avgas.

If I had to pick three books off this list as worth reading I would say The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, which we did for book club and loved;  When We Were Orphans  - bits of which still stay with me randomly; and the most recent one - a biography of Leonard Woolf who I knew absolutely nothing about (and cared less to be honest) but Victoria Glendinning is such a superb biographer that I loved every page.

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