This has probably been the worst year for me in terms of reading – or maybe 2016 was even worse – but I am now making a sincere effort to read more. I really slowed down in 2017, and I regret wasting precious reading time, although I made an effort to pick up the pace towards the end of the year. I’ve omitted a few poetry books, flash fiction collections and plays, and you can see more of my books on Goodreads, but here’s my 2017 book list:
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
Ashamedly, had I not been as infatuated with Yanagihara’s second novel, A Little Life, I would probably have never considered picking up The People in the Trees. I bought it only with the assumption that the author of one of the greatest books I’d ever read was not capable of disappointing me, and yet I still neglected reading this book for a stupid amount of time, for very stupid reasons. Firstly, the plot outlined in the blurb (and it really is the entire plot, on the surface) didn’t appeal to me; I had no interest in science or anthropology or scientifically-accurate semi-fictional memoirs despite never having read one before. Secondly, of all things, the footnotes scared me! I was convinced I was not the sort of person to enjoy a novel with footnotes (granted, I didn’t like John Green’s Abundance of Katherines, which is littered with many tongue-in-cheek footnotes, although these were to provide comedy, rather than something as horrifying as the Harvard referencing system), and this novel is full of them, some filling entire pages. Yes: I was very stupid to have put off this novel for so long.
A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
I always used to have a bit of a thing for ‘diary’ books when I was younger – Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dork Diaries, Do Not Read This Book – and A Tale For The Time Being is perhaps the first ‘mature’ diary novel I’ve read. One half of this novel consists of the diary of Nao, a Japanese schoolgirl, and the other half consists of Ruth Ozeki’s fictional account of reading and investigating the diary. That might sound a little odd, but the idea works – mostly (I’ll get to that later). Continue reading
The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami
I’m a big fan of short stories. It all started after I read Instruction Manual for Swallowing by Adam Marek. Anyone who knows that collection knows they’re pretty weird stories -animals measured by volume, robot wasps, zombie cafés – but I was really into them. I read more and more short story collections, and ‘weird’ seems to be a common theme. It’s almost as if writers aren’t quite confident enough to carry their strange and unusual ideas out in a full-length novel, so they opt for short stories instead. Continue reading