I ended up taking a longer break from the computer than I thought, but real life has kept me busy, so that’s for the best. I hope you enjoyed a great holiday season, either filled with merry people and noise and champagne or quietly filled with music and books and hot cocoa, whichever you prefer.
I can’t remember what blogger said she was the ultimate mood reader… well, I think I do qualify too! So I’m not going to make any elaborate reading plans (which I will abandon after only 2 books), or book lists (and feel guilty not to complete), and I will follow my fancy wherever it takes me, since it was quite successful in the past.
The only challenge that tempts me for now is the unreadshelfproject, that sets out to read more from our own shelves. The principle is a bit radical : you have to finish a book from your unread pile by the end of the month, or get rid of it (oooh, the threat!) I don’t know if I’ll be able to turn a blind eye to the temptations of the library, since I go there every single week, but I’ll try. With this project in mind, I’ll track in Goodreads where the books I read come from.
I had fun compiling all the books I read this year, although I didn’t make serious stats, because I found that the number was about the same as the previous years (you won’t miss the pie charts, right?). I never read as many “older” novels, or short story collections, as I think I should – isn’t it time to be ok with it? I’m glad that I kept a healthy proportion of books by authors that aren’t American, British or French, and a healthy proportion of mystery / thrillers vs. other genres, each at about 25% of my reading. Netgalley also makes up for 25% of my total books, and I would like to not go beyond this proportion, although it is a great place for me to discover non-American / non-European writers (I am a great fan of Amazon Crossing).
I picked my favorite books of 2018, some lighter and some deeper, some set in the present and others in the past, but I soon discovered that they all have something in common: they are hopeful books (despite each presenting its own kind of challenges) and I believe I needed all the hope I could get in 2018 (don’t we all?). Now, I may read some very dark stuff sometimes and I don’t enjoy pure saccharine (too much sugar is not good for your reading health!), but the reading experience is more fun when not everything is doom and gloom. So I give you:
- Resilience, when a poor immigrant single mother never gives up on her life and her family… like in Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
- Self-discovery even when you’ve been following the rules all your life, like in The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
- Bravery when bombs are falling on your city and your friends, like in Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
- Solidarity when various broken people help each other, like in Happiness by Aminatta Forna
- Boldness when you’ll prove those young ones that life is not over after 50, like in How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson
- Self-awareness, to reclaim your own true self after someone has been stalking you and trying to steal your life, as in Based on a true story by Delphine de Vigan (although this book uses the tropes of the noir / thriller, I felt very energized at the end of it)
I wish you all these qualities and more in this new year!