Reading

04Jun11
My lovely brother gave me a kindle for Christmas (and a cover for it for my birthday!). Guys, ereaders are awesome. When I was in high school I used to read all the time, but got out of the habit at university – who had time for novels when you also had reading to do for class? Last year (my first year with no time spent in formal education since I was, oh, 5) I started to read a bit more, but nothing crazy.
But this year? Reading galore! Or something. Certainly the fact that I’m only working part-time has helped, plus spending a lot more time sitting around on planes and trains. But I think the kindle has also had an enormous impact. I read faster on the kindle, I take more in, and on a really basic level, it’s a lot more convenient. It lives in my handbag so it’s with me all the time. I can easily switch between books if I’m getting bored, and if I feel like something different I can surf amazon on the kindle itself and buy a book in seconds.
So this is what I’ve read since arriving in the States at the start of December. All of these, bar Absolute Friends, I read electronically (Never Let Me Go I read on my phone and laptop, which was surprisingly easy/pleasant). I’d love to get to 52 books in 12 months, but I think 26 (or even 30?) is a more realistic goal. I know people who read far more than that every year, but for someone who read maybe 10 novels total in 2010, it’s a huge increase.
  1. Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
  2. Absolute Friends, John Le Carré
  3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Steig Larsson
  4. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon
  6. Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall, Kazuo Ishiguro
  7. The Attenbury Emeralds, Jill Paton Walsh
  8. A Presumption of Death, Jill Paton Walsh
  9. A Slight Trick of the Mind, Mitch Cullin
  10. Darcy’s Voyage, Kara Louise [don’t judge me, it was free]
  11. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
  12. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
  13. Fourth Sunday, B.W. Read
  14. Identity Theory, Peter Temple
I’ve got two more on the go at the moment – The Sherlockian by Graham Moore (for pleasure) and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (for book group) – but I’d love recommendations for summer reading. Favourite book of all time? Something fantastic you’ve read lately? Send ’em through. Although if it’s not available for the kindle, it’s unlikely I’ll pick it up 🙂
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7 Responses to “Reading”

  1. What, you’re not going to count your foray into that other book for book group? With the southern male boy prostitutes or whatever?

  2. 2 justsomethings

    Heh, you mean “Feast of All Saints”? I didn’t actually finish it (only got about halfway through), although I’m tempted to add it simply because it did take up so much of my time.

    Also: I think Anne Rice should put the description “southern male boy prostitutes” on all future blurbs.

  3. 3 Susannah

    That’s great! I read a lot while I was away on my trip (though none of it electronic, leading to heavy luggage on return). A couple of things I read lately that you might enjoy … firstly, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is truly one of the most excellent novels I have read for a long time. It’s being made into a film (not due to be released til mid 2012) and I shudder to think how they will capture the six cleverly interlinked stories, each with its own literary style – each set in a different period, from a Melville-esque late 19th century to a sci-fi post-apocalyptic future.
    I really think you would enjoy it. And also in a year’s time you will have the ability to say smugly that the film wasn’t as good as the book.

    A few lighter things: I always love Alexander McCall Smith for those times when you don’t want to read trash but don’t have the energy for serious books. I prefer the ones set in Edinburgh (Scotland Street and Isobel Dalhousie series) to the African ones. ‘The Still Point’ was a good first novel by a writer called Amy Sackville. Interesting parallel family stories involving arctic exploration.

  4. 4 justsomethings

    Thank you for the recommendations! Oh wow, Cloud Atlas sounds amazing. And there’s a kindle edition! Excellent.

    I read the first Ladies Detection Agency book and wasn’t inspired – found them to be a bit too self-consciously twee. But might have to go back and try out the Scottish ones; would be less of the novelty feel than the Africa series I guess?

  5. 5 Sandro

    I can’t think of any recent novels, but here’s a recent non-work book for me: Paris An Adventure History by Andrew Robb which came out last year. Unfortunately a couple of shitty chapters, but most were really great (and I just finished his earlier book ‘The Discovery of France’). Otherwise still mainly history for me. I did read The Slap, which I thought was really worth it, not the most sophisticated writing, but ‘it made me think’, as it were.

    I’ll see if I think of others.

  6. 6 Sandro

    I tell a lie, because my memory’s so crap: I’ve read a tonne of travel writing. I read all the works of Bruce Chatwin (In Patagonia is damn good, but everything is worth a try; though I don’t think On the Black Hill is that good; his essays are really good as well; about 6 or so books). I’ve read On the Silk Road by Colin Thubron, amaze-balls, and supposedly his later works are the best–one of the best writers I’ve ever read, and quite an interesting traveller, which helps. Also Peter Mathieson’s The Snow Leopard, which I wouldn’t suggest, but he is rather ‘acclaimed’… just to spoil the ending, he never, in fact, sees a Snow Leopard, only some fancy Himalaya sheep that the Snow Leopards eat, which was interesting enough, but they aint a Snow Leopard.

  7. 7 Candice

    I’ve got no recommendations but I know quite a few people who have gone to electronic readers and they LOVE them. I’d like to read more and I think an electronic reader is the way to go for me, less hassle… but I think i’ll go in the iPad direction (there is a Kindle app which you can access – SWEET)

    Good to hear your getting back into what you love!


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