Last year was about making time to read and by the end of 2018 I had read 43 books. For me, it was a success. It also lit a fire in my belly – I wanted to read more.
This year, via GoodReads, I set myself a target of reading 50 books. I read 100. I consumed poetry, fiction, short stories and non-fiction. I discovered new authors through Reedsy Discovery, re-read one of my favourite books and allowed myself to wallow in Italian detective fiction. It was bliss.
The top ten:
1. The Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo
because reading a novel in the form of spoken word poetry was sensational.
2. Atonement, Ian McEwan
for being incredibly well-written and reminiscent of a time lost long ago.
3. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
because it is one of my absolute favourites ever.
4. The Silk Road, Peter Frankopan
an exceptional piece of non-fiction which broadened my horizons considerably.
5. A River in the Trees, Jacqueline O’Mahony
because it was such a gut and heart wrenching story set in Ireland.
6. Pinch the Lock, Candice Daquin
for being beautiful.
7. Six Red Seeds, Samantha Lucero
for being so raw and visceral.
8. A Girl is a Shapeshifter, Jasmine S. Higgins
because it is a phenomenal debut poetry collection.
9. A Song for Issy Bradley, Carys Bray
for opening my eyes to grief and how it is dealt with, within a Mormon family.
10. Sassafras, Trish Heald
another novel about grief which had me giggling and crying.
The Guido Brunetti series by Donna Leon which follows the Venetian detective as he uncovers corruption, death and the harsh reality of losing Venice to tourism.
Rain and Embers by Ali Nuri, another triumphant debut poetry collection which shares his experience as an Iraqi refugee.
Some of the cult classics – Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and Brighton Rock by Graham Greene.
Exceptional poets such as John Biscello (Arclight), Kindra M. Austin (All the Beginnings of Everything), Melissa Lozada-Oliva (Peluda), Olivia Gatwood (New American Best Friend), Neil Hilborn (Our Numbered Days), Rachel Finch (Conversations with my Higher Self), Nicole Lyons (The Lithium Chronicles Vol. 1), Yrsa Daley-Ward (The Terrible), Shay Siegel (Bleeding Flowers), Nicholas Trandahl (Bravery) and Joseph Fulkerson (The Glenmore Sessions).
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this year and I cannot wait to reach 100 books again. I will still set the safe record of 80 on GoodReads, however. I have also embarked on Penguin’s Reading Challenge this year – each month I will be sent recommendations based on my chosen challenge which is all about expanding my horizons, reading more non-fiction and delving into topical issues.
My top five to read in 2020:
X and I, S. K. Nicholas
SPQR, Mary Beard
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald (re-reading)
Anything written by Mary Oliver
Let me know what you enjoyed reading this year… and, shameless plug, perhaps you would like to make my debut collection Between the Trees part of your ‘to read’ pile in 2020. Links below.
Happy New Year!