Amongst many other things, I, unfortunately, didn’t complete my 2019 reading goal (wanted to read 24 book, read 23 and a half. VERY frustrating), so I felt a bit shy to make my goal for 2020 30 books, which is what I had originally planned for. I feel like if the number is too high I might feel defeated and give up altogether, or it will make me want to pick up only shorter books to try and complete the goal. And that’s not what it should be about, right?
I want to keep my reading habit because I feel new books expose me to worlds that I otherwise wouldn’t even think of. And it does it in a way that requires my undivided attention, which in today’s world doesn’t happen very often. So in order to achieve that, and inspired by The Anna Edit (as always), I downloaded the app Habit and now I am trying to read every day, and tracking it too. Given the huge nerd that I am, that last bit is important. Because if I get to give myself a little “check” at the end of the day, I am actually a lot more likely to do it.
All of that being said, let me give you a little tour of the books I have been reading lately.
Towards the end of 2019 I was looking back at the books I had read that year, and I was not amused. I had read some good books, yeah, but nothing great. No 5 star reads… Little did I know, I was in for an epic end of the year.
Calypso was so very enjoyable. It made me laugh out loud, insist on reading fragments to my boyfriend who couldn’t have cared less, but it also made me think and connect deeply with its writer: David Sedaris. Let me just say it: I want to be like him when I grow up. That’s it. Fitbit obsession and Lipoma included (you’ll get it when you read it). I am currently reading Me Talk Pretty One Day and I am enjoying it just as much, and I checked Sedaris Goodread and I think I counted 9 books? Well, don’t mind if I do…
The Woman in the Window
And the good strike continued with The Woman in the Window. Yeah, yeah, the author has slightly… questionable morals, and the book is not that deep or meaningful, just a mystery novel… But WHAT A MYSTERY NOVEL. I has hooked from page… 6? 7? and cruised through the book in 4 days in-spite of work and a full adult life with annoying responsibilities. There were some times when the main character was being so self destructive I kinda wanted to scream at my book, but I still couldn’t put it down. I have since lent it to two friends, which is why there’s no picture of this one.
2020, however, didn’t start as strong as I hoped it had. I was beyond excited to pick up this book at my second hand store, since the author, Anthony Doerr, also wrote some of my favourite books All the Light we cannot see. But let’s just say… it was not the same. About Grace is about a man who has a premonition of the death of his daughter, and spends all of his life trying to prevent it from happening. Sounds interesting? It is… for about 80 pages. After that the actions of the main character become completely absurd, causing him disgrace and sadness. One becomes alienated as a reader, just watching this guy torturing himself and ruining his life, only to reach a happy ending in his mid sixties (spoiler? I am sorry. I didn’t think after reading this review you’d want to read the book). You could see the writing style was similar to All the Light we cannot see, and the way in which the main characters had a deep appreciation for small things in life (snowflakes, insects), but in his newer book it was better balanced with the progress of the story, so it didn’t get boring.
One good thing about this book was reading a mean review in good reads that cracked me up.
“The ending is horrible (…) However you have to take your hat off to Doerr. To have started off his writing career with so little promise and gone on to write All the Light is some achievement. “
But don’t you worry, things get better with the help of a bit of Nostalgia. I found this book next to the trash next to my mum’s house in Spain. I used to love Roald Dahl as a kid, and the witches was my favourite book, and this particular edition was the one they had in my school’s library. So to say I was excited is an understatement. I took insta stories of it, shared it with my friends, and told anyone willing to listen (and some people that weren’t) about the gem I had found in the trash.
I hadn’t read The Witches since being 9 or 10, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was FUNNY. The plot is fairly simple (the Witches want to kill all the children in the world and a little boy tries to stop them), but the way it’s told is heart warming and the details in the book are so creative! I read it when I was suffering from a pretty nasty back spasm, and it brought joy to some otherwise pretty dreadful days.
When Breath Becomes Air
This is my current read. One that has been recommended many many times to me and that I kept putting off. Why? Because mortality is SCARY and I wasn’t sure I could handle it. When Breath Becomes Air is an autobiography written by neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi who, at age 36, gets diagnosed with a terminal Cancer. Kalanithi attempts to answer the question “What makes life worth living” in this book, which tells the story of his youth, his years as a university student, a medical resident, his diagnosis, and eventually, his death.
What makes this book so scary to me is that it’s a true story, Kalanithi did actually die in 2015 at 37, which makes this book the thoughts of a dying person. But when I found this book in my local library I thought I’d be brave and give it a go. I am currently 50 pages in, and I am not scared yet. The story is so beautifully written, that even though I know it will have a heart breaking ending, I think it’ll be worth it.
What are your 2020 reading resolutions? Did you set a goal or are you more of a habit tracking gal like me? (don’t get me wrong, I still have a goal on good reads, but I kept it to 25 because I am afraid of failure). Please do let me know about you book recommendations, because I am cruising through my bookshelves these days.