I haven’t blogged here for such a long time, though you’ll be pleased to hear that I have still been reading books during my absence. I think I’ll do a quick recap of the year so far, to get the ball rolling again.
According to Goodreads, I’ve read twenty-six books in 2017, though I have actually read more than this, as I’ve re-read certain books either in full or just a few chapters for research. One book I read again recently, was ‘How to See the World’, by Nicholas Mirzoeff. I find the chapter on cities particularly interesting and I would recommend it for a stimulating discussion of the peculiar times in which we live.
In a similar vein, I also read ‘How to Think Like an Artist’ by Will Gompertz. I wouldn’t say it was life changing, but it was definitely encouraging, and if, like me, you’re a bit chaotic, then you may find it a helpful way of approaching creativity in a more structured way.
I haven’t read many novels this year. Those I have read have been pretty average in the main: The Silver Linings Playbook, Apple Tree Yard and The Girl on the Train. They were entertaining enough, I liked the use of an unreliable narrator in The Girl on the Train, although I think it became increasingly implausible towards the end. One book absolutely loathed was The Girl with all the Gifts by M R Carey. In hindsight, I’ve no idea why I thought I would enjoy a zombie novel, but my expectations were raised by some Booktubers’ enthusiastic reviews. The best novel I’ve read in 2017 is Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë, which probably shows that I should stick to the classics, rather than listening to what other people rave about.
Sticking with Brontës, I also read the anthology of short stories called Reader, I Married Him, taking the famous line from Jane Eyre as their inspiration. Or so I was led to believe. In actual fact, very few of the stories seemed to have anything to do with Jane Eyre at all. My favourite was by Tracy Chevalier, who also edited the collection, and so perhaps was the only author who stuck to the brief!
The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing is an examination of loneliness through the art work of Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol, Henry Darger and David Wojnarowicz. Now this was quite fascinating actually, when she was talking about the artists instead of herself, that is. I can’t deny that she is a very good writer, but I found the discussion of her own mental state a bit boring and felt she was someone trying to make herself seem more interesting by piggybacking on other people’s hardship. Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh, but I’ve had enough of self-indulgent moaning from a Feminist perspective.
So that’s the pick of the year so far. I’m reading Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot at the moment, though it’s too soon to say what I think of it.