reading goal: 25 books - at least 5 non-fiction books - at least 5 books by writers of colour.
the numbers so far: 4 books read: 3 fiction, 1 non-fiction - no re-reads.
if a single book spans more than one month of reading, it is catagorized in the month I finished it. I am doing away with ratings this year.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
readbook club pick
heard a bit of the adaptation on BBC radio 4 last year, picked it back up for book club. a good new year's pick and an engaging read. reached me at a good time for this kind of message.
the discussion surrounding depression is complex, and I don't think this book is interested in that kind of complexity. but I do think it offers an accesible way of conceptualizing how much both our choices and our perspective can shape our lives.
additionally—I just started a creative writing program, and this book is a great introduction to structuring chapters. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the chapters are all titled (gosh do I miss chapter titles) and though they are short, many of them end on cliffhanger or moment of suspense. it is easy for chapters to feel somewhat arbitrary, or just representative of a change in time/place. Matt Haig's chapters end with anticipation for the next. it seems simple, but this is the real art of the page-turner.
There's No Such Thing As An Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura translated by Polly Barton
started in may 2021 and was enjoying it, but reading slowly; didn't finish before my loan had to go back to the library. picked it back up in january. finally finished it in february!
as you might have guessed from how long it took me to finish, this book didn't have a firm grasp on me. but as the jobs took our protagonist into increasingly absurd situations, I became increasingly interested. how interesting something appears stems from how much attention we pay to it. our protagonist, being who she is, can't help but get overly involved, and so even the most seemingly mundane jobs can become strange and wonderful adventures.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
readbook club pick
read this in fits and starts, never disappearing into it. an enjoyable, complex read. it builds layers of complexity as we go, watching the twins grow up, then their girls. and that's how life goes, starting off simple even when it's hard, then getting complicated even when it's good.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
readbook club pick
thanks to sarah, I am reading another science book. one a year seems like a reasonable number! but for real, this book appeals to my sensibilities as a storyteller and does what I think all great books do: gives me a new lens through which to look at the world. a lens which can sharpen our focus on gratitude, reciprocity, and empathy.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
currentlybook club pick
after three book club picks that dealt with some heavy stuff (suicidal ideation, racism and colourism, the lingering impacts of colonialism), we have opted for a lighter read. so off I go, into a land of hobbits, dwarves, trolls, dragons, and adventure.
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
I am on a mission to read and write more short stories this year. there is a vein of fantasy, sensuality, and horror running through Machado's work that I find totally delicious.
on the shelf
The Long Game 1996-2003: The Inside Story of How the BBC Brought Back Doctor Who by Paul Hayes
after hearing Paul Hayes on The Doctor Who Show podcast, I was curious enough about this book to buy it. there may as well be a sticker on the cover that reads "for Whovians only" but nevertheless it is a worthwhile read and offers insight into the inner workings of the BBC. it's just, uh, dense.
Beowulf: A New Translation by Maria Dahvana Headley
started in april 2021 and was enjoying it right up until I set it aside! I am a distracted reader, but keen to pick this one back up.
- The Broken Places by Frances Peck (« I know her!)
- The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett
- The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
- Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen
- Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
- The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin