In a bid to read widely/critically/at all I am going to try and continue my ‘[insert month here] reads’ posts in 2019. I have a vague notion I’ll even include a sentence or two by way of a review – imagine that! I expect I’ll give up around April. But in the meantime here are my January reads…
I read 9 books in January, or rather I finished 9 books. Technically I began 3 of them in December.
4 were autobiographical, 4 were novels and 1 was in verse.
8 of these were by women and 1 by a man.
6 were by caucasian writers, 1 by an American writer of Chinese descent, 1 by a Dominican-American writer and one by a mixed race Scottish writer of Nigerian descent.
Only 1 was by an LGBT writer.
0 were by disabled writers.
Books I listened to on Audible
Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
This book unfolds quite slowly and then all of a sudden sucks you in. I disliked Mrs Richardson with pantomime villain-esque vehemence. Beautifully written and great narration by Jennifer Lim.
James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes – James Acaster
A collection of comical anecdotes read by the author. Nearly killed my family due to laughing so much when listening to this as we drove home for Christmas.
Dear Fatty – Dawn French
I wanted to listen to something nice and gently funny. This seemed to fit the bill, indeed someone gave it a one star review on Goodreads because it was ‘too nice’ and kept acknowledging ‘how lucky the author is’. Written in the form of letters to people in French’s life and narrated by Liza Tarbuck I found it charming and warm, with some unexpectedly sad bits too.
Bonkers: My Life in Laughs – Jennifer Saunders
Made sense to listen to this after Dawn’s really. This is both less personal and much funnier than Dear Fatty, with some on the nose gags about how crap celebrity autobiography cash ins are. It also made me wonder how much more successful I might be had I been trying to get my writing career going in the 1980s… but I was only born half way through so not much to be done about that.
Books I read with my eyes
Fishnet – Kirstin Innes
Gripping tale following a young woman’s search for her missing sister after she learns she’d become a sex worker before vanishing. Very readable, and it was announced earlier in the year it’s being adapted for telly.
Red Dust Road: An Autobiographical Journey – Jackie Kay
This book is warm and funny and makes you want to be pals with Jackie Kay. She talks about growing up as a mixed race kid in Scotland, deciding to trace her birth parents, and meeting her biological father in Nigeria with a lot of humour.
The Poet X – Elizabeth Acevedo
YA book following the story of a teenage girl from quite a repressed background who begins to find herself through writing and performing poetry. This is a novel written in verse, I wasn’t sure what I’d make of it but it was really well put together and very readable.
Swim Until You Can’t See Land – Catriona Child
I’ve been meaning to read this for ages after really enjoying Catriona’s debut, Trackman. This is very different but another great book. It weaves together the stories of a championship swimmer who can no longer compete and an old lady who was a spy in WWII. It’s very visceral in parts and a page turner, not sure why it isn’t better known to be honest.
You Had Me At Hello – Mhairi McFarlane
I downloaded this for kindle ages ago after reading a very funny article by Mhairi that was doing the rounds on Twitter, a spoof celebrity interview. This is a light and funny romcom, not a genre I read too much of so don’t have a wide frame of reference but the writing was good and I’d read her again.
I wrote not a lot in January, largely because the baby decided to stop napping during the day unless in motion. This meant I spent a fair whack of time taking said baby for lengthy walks / entertaining an increasingly fractious baby / slumping on the sofa in a stupor.
Blogging and fiction writing time was in short supply, but I did put down a few addled thoughts on my phone here and there, generally in the dead of night. These may see the light of day at some stage!