2022

reading goal: 25 books - at least 5 non-fiction books - at least 5 books by writers of colour.

the numbers so far: 12 books read: 10 fiction, 2 non-fiction - 1 re-read.

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.

january

Cover of The Midnight Library.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

read

book 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.

february

Cover of There's No Such Thing As An Easy Job

There's No Such Thing As An Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura translated by Polly Barton

read

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.

Cover of The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

read

book 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.

march

Cover of Braiding Sweetgrass.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

read

book 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.

april

Cover of The Hobbit.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

read

book 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.

the mixed reaction to this book in our club meeting was amusing. I enjoyed it, for superficial reasons, and that's pretty much exactly what I was hoping for in this month's pick.

may

Cover of Persuasion.

Persuasion by Jane Austen

read

book club pick

A re-read of my favourite Jane Austen novel thus far (having read Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, and half of Pride and Prejudice).

Cover of Her Body and Other Parties

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

read

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.

june

Cover of Trick Mirror

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino

read

book club pick

essays about internet culture, modern life, and the lies which distort our view of our lives.

july

Cover of Good Riddance

Good Riddance by Elinor Lipman

read

cute, contemporary rom-com involving a much-annotated yearbook, a nosy documentarian, and a charming next door neighbour. sweet.

Cover of All Flesh is Grass

Doctor Who: All Flesh is Grass by Una McCormack

read

in true wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey fashion, I picked up this novel at the library on a whim along with a couple other Doctor Who books, only to realize that is part of the big transmedia Time Lord Victorious storyline, and the second novel to boot. lol. anyway, you've got the Tenth Doctor trying to defeat death, the Eighth Doctor paired up with Daleks, and the Ninth Doctor in league with vampires. also an Ood assassin.

this made me want to go back to the Fourth Doctor/Sarah Jane novel I was writing.

Cover of The Future for Curious People

The Future for Curious People by Gregory Sherl

read

on the shelf, next to Robin Sloan's novel Sourdough (which I read in 2020 and loved), was this book with a charming title and intruiging summary: "What if you could know your romantic future? What if an envisionist could enter the name of your prospective mate into a computer that would show you a film of your future life together?"

friends, I was so thoroughly charmed by this book 💚 this is a book that believes in true love. not naively, but earnestly. it is quirky and whimsical and though I know it was just a coincidence of surname, it absolutely belongs on a shelf next to Sourdough.

Cover of Magic for Liars

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey (narrated by Xe Sands)

read

recommended by E

I listened to this audiobook on a recommendation from my brother, and it, uh, surprised me. the pitch is solid: a non-magical private investigator is called in to investigate a gruesome murder at the magical academy where her sister teaches. but the actual unraveling of that mystery takes us to some dark places. like, this book takes trauma seriously.

it's a slight spoiler to say—but this is not a book interested in giving you a happy ending. but I guess...when did a P.I. ever get a happy ending?

Cover of Ragtime

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

currently

picked up a copy at my fave used book store while on vacation. familiar with the musical first; I couldn't help but hear the music of the prologue while reading the first chapter.

Cover of Beautiful World, Where Are You

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

currently

my first Salley Rooney novel (I read her short story "Mr Salary" just a couple weeks previously). has me thinking about narrative distance. very, very unlike my style of writing. compelling.

on the shelf
Cover of The Long Game 1996-2003: The Inside Story of How the BBC Brought Back Doctor Who.

The Long Game 1996-2003: The Inside Story of How the BBC Brought Back Doctor Who by Paul Hayes

set aside

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.

Cover of Beowulf: A New Translation

Beowulf: A New Translation by Maria Dahvana Headley

set aside

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.

to-read pile