I’m making great progress towards my target of 12 books for the reading challenge and 100 read for the year. I’m currently sitting at 10 books read for the challenge and I only need three more to hit 100, and I’m fairly confident I can get them read in the next week.
I’ve had some great reading this week and some average reading. Thankfully I haven’t hated anything that I’ve read, but there were a few that didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
Here are this week’s books:
Suspended Sentences: Three Novellas
Author: Patrick Modiano (translated by Mark Polizzotti)
Genre: Fiction (Literary)
Release Date: November 25th, 2014
Modiano was the recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature and after reading these three novellas, beautifully translated by Mark Polizzotti, it’s easy to see why. Modiano’s work focuses on memory and the past, and for the most part it reads like a love letter to a Paris that has all but disappeared. It’s easy to get lost in his writing and I would happily do so forever. I’m excited to read some more of his work, which is great because I have another of his books lined up for this month. You can check it out on Goodreads here.
Author: David Mitchell
Release Date: October 20th, 2015
So I was kind of really excited about this because I’ve wanted to read something by David Mitchell for ages. Unfortunately I was a left a little disappointed and I’m not sure whether it was because of the excitement, or whether I should have read something else by him first. Don’t get me wrong, I had a reasonably good time reading it – the premise was amazing. But by the time I got to the final section of the book (it’s split into four sections, each from a different character’s point of view) it felt a little repetitive. Basically the same thing happened in each section, with slight variations. I also found a spelling error, which really annoyed me. You can check it out on Goodreads here.
Girl With a Pearl Earring
Author: Tracy Chevalier
Genre: Historical fiction
Release Date: First published in 1999, my edition is from 2000
This was OK. I liked it, but I definitely didn’t love it. The writing irritated me a little at times and was a little flowery. But it was the main character, Griet, that brought the whole thing down for me. She didn’t have a whole lot of personality, was quite passive and, well, a bit boring. The rest of the characters I really liked though. The book overall is a solid piece of historical fiction that regular readers of that genre would probably enjoy, particularly in terms of reading about everyday life in 17th century Netherlands which I always find interesting to read about. You can check it out on Goodreads here.
The Year of Magical Thinking
Author: Joan Didion
Genre: Non-fiction (memoir)
Release Date: First published in 2005, my edition is from 2012
This hurt my heart so much, but was really beautiful to read. I’m almost not even sure what to say about it, it’s left with a lot of thoughts and a lot of feelings and I wondered how I would deal with the loss of a loved one. This passage towards the end I found particularly moving and a reminder that life does eventually go on:
All year I have been keeping time by last year’s calendar: what were we doing on this day last year, where did we have dinner, is it the day a year ago we flew to Honolulu after Quintana’s wedding, is it the day a year ago we flew back from Paris, is it the day. I realised today for the first time that my memory of this day a year ago is a day that does not involve John. This day a year ago was December 31, 2003. John did not see this day a year ago. John was dead.
You can check it out on Goodreads here.
Richard II: Arkangel Shakespeare (audiobook)
Author: William Shakespeare
Release Date: June 15th 2008
I thought I’d take it easy on the last day of the week and listen to an audiobook (I have the play in print so I read along too – it was fun). I was kind of excited to listen to this after seeing the same play performed while in London recently and in the end I had a pretty good time listening to this, mostly because it reminded me of seeing it live. I have to say that the King Richard I saw, was A LOT better than the one I listened to. But on the whole it was a pretty solid production and exactly what I needed to round out the week.