Everybody I know is committing to reading challenges for 2017, full of really ambitious and specific goals, but my goal is simply to read more this year. It has been difficult studying literature for such a long time, because it can really suck the enjoyment out of reading – it becomes something that you have to do, rather than choose to do. But this year I’m going to read widely and adventurously, but most importantly, read for fun. I am cutting all junk reality television out of my life this year – when you add up all the hours it can take up in a single week, I could be moving (literary) mountains with all that time! So here goes: every month I will keep this as a rolling list of what I’m reading, whether I finish it or not, and what I thought of it. If it has no information after the title, I’m still reading it. Let’s go!
- How to Write Your Blockbuster by Fiona McIntosh – this particular author is one of my writer idols. She is so absolutely driven and is incredibly disciplined about how she approaches writing; she’s not an abstract vision of a tortured artist languishing in obscurity, she is very businesslike in her approach, which is exactly what I have been lacking. Her book is such a wonderful resource for anybody aiming to change their writing from a private hobby to more of a career. I especially appreciate her insights on commercial publishing and writing for commercial audiences/publishers, because until now I’ve been so focused on literary writing that it’s been a huge blindspot for me.
- The Queen of Distraction: How Women with ADHD Can Conquer Chaos, Find Focus and Get More Done by Terry Matlen
- America’s Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Sarah Bradford
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – I don’t usually read a lot of YA, but I’d heard good things. It was so desperately sad. Something that I really enjoyed was how seemingly effortlessly he inhabited the teenage voice of Hazel, while incorporating so much veiled sophistication throughout the book. It really did take me back to being sixteen and being so childish about certain things at the same time as feeling like my brain would explode with all the deep, earth-shattering philosophical discoveries I was making or discovering.
- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – quietly unfolded into something unexpectedly horrifying, but also very poignant. I’ve been thinking about it a lot ever since I finished it, and now I want to watch the film, even though they are apparently quite different.
*** For months and months, things weren’t great and I didn’t read much, or take note of what I did read. But, back on the horse… ***
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – I haven’t finished yet, but it’s my second time and I love it. That first chapter is utter perfection.
- Rebecca’s Tale by Sally Beauman
- Bury Me Deep by Christopher Pike – total throwback to being a preteen, not finished yet either
- Awakenings by Oliver Sacks