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.
Happening upon this little dark comedy on Channel 4 was purely accidental, but a Happy Little Accident, as Bob Ross would call it. The first twenty-minute episode of this eight-part series was shown on the telly, and then the remaining episodes were uploaded that night on the C4 catch-up app. It’s not totally clear as to why they did this – perhaps it was to promote the app to their younger, ‘hipper’ viewers (i.e. the demographic of TEotFW), or just that the show contains quite a lot of violence, strong language and sexual references – but soon enough this will be popping up on Netflix, like every other show in the world, so maybe it’s time to get used to everything being distributed virtually. It was a pain when I could only read my Dandy comic online. Now it’s the norm.
The Space Between Us (2017)
It probably seems at this point I’m picking bound-to-suck sci-fi flicks on purpose, but these movies do a really good job at inspiring me to write about them, so I guess I need to give credit where it’s due. I will be spoiling some things, so if you haven’t seen the romantic YA sci-fi drama disaster, then don’t bother averting your eyes because you don’t need to watch this steaming pile of manure anyway. (And I’m serious: this WILL be a full-on babble.)
The Circle (2017)
The kind of people who like to yammer on about social media being dangerous and toxic are the kind of people who post their rants on Facebook and ask their friends to share it. We all know social media can be dangerous, we all know it can have quite a negative influence and we all know the big tech companies are not to be trusted, but we use social media anyway because in the end, no one truly cares. The Circle is like these Facebook rants, only maybe with less substance. Continue reading
The Eighth Day is a vegetarian café and food shop on Oxford Road in Manchester, right near Manchester Met University. I’ve always found it a lovely little place to get simple, tasty vegetarian food to eat, as well as to buy for later. The first floor is a shop, but downstairs is a cute restaurant with a cosy decor. There’s usually plenty of space to sit, and it’s always a relaxed environment. 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