A year filled with dazzling debuts and dearly loved classics
Another diverse and entertaining reading year has come to an end. If the unintended theme of 2017 was First and Second World War narratives, then 2018 became the year of reading fresh works by favourite authors and promising new writers.
The most notable debuts for me were House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara and Home is Nearby by Magdalena McGuire. From established authors came Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss, White Houses by Amy Bloom and my personal favourite, The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker.
I read several classics and universally treasured works, including Around the World in Eighty Days (1872) by Jules Verne, The Little Prince (1943) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, A Month in the Country (1980) by J.L. Carr and Treasure Island (1882) by Robert Louis Stevenson.
For a variety of reasons my reading rate slowed considerably towards the end of the year and I therefore devoured far fewer books than 2017. I was, however, still able to complete my Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge by the first week in August.
I signed-up for an online course in February: How to Read a Novel and finally succumbed to joining The Classics Club mid way through the year. I also took part in a handful of exciting challenges and events, for which I read the following:
- 1977 Club: Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams (1977) by Sylvia Plath
- 1944 Club: Ficciones (1944) by Jorge Luis Borges
- Margaret Atwood Reading Month: Bodily Harm (1981) by Margaret Atwood
- Nonfiction November: The Year of Magical Thinking (2005) by Joan Didion
- German Literature Month: The Unhappiness of Being a Single Man: Essential Stories (2018) by Franz Kafka
The highlight of my year was attending the Hay Festival, where I obtained tickets for a variety of author events, including those by Margaret Atwood, Rose Tremain and Roddy Doyle (among others) – an experience I will never forget.
Looking ahead to 2019 I’m most highly anticipating The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, which is due to be published on 10th September; and I’m filled with enthusiasm for the very first Wales Readathon (aka Dewithon 2019), which will take place throughout the month of March.
Here is a brief breakdown of books I enjoyed reading this year:
OUTSTANDING READS BY CATEGORY:
Autobiography/Memoir: The Year of Magical Thinking (2005) by Joan Didion
Biography: In Search of Mary Shelley (2018) by Fiona Sampson
Children’s Fiction: Matilda at 30 (2018) by Roald Dahl.
Children’s Non-Fiction: Great Polar Bear (2018) by Carolyn Lesser
Contemporary: Asymmetry (2018) by Lisa Halliday
Historical Fiction: Walking Wounded (2018) by Sheila Llewellyn
History: Sylvia Pankhurst: The Rebellious Suffragette (2018) by Shirley Harrison
LGBT: The Great Believers (2018) by Rebecca Makkai
Literary Fiction: The Silence of the Girls (2018) by Pat Barker
Nature/Environment: The Library of Ice: Readings from a Cold Climate (2018) by Nancy Campbell
Pleasant Surprise: Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear? 200 birds, 12 months, 1 lapsed birdwatcher (2018) by Lev Parikian
Science Fiction: Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley
Short Story Collection: Her Body and Other Parties (2018) by Carmen Maria Machado
Translation: Bottled Goods (2018) by Sophie van Llewyn
YA Fiction: Where the World Ends (2018) by Geraldine McCaughrean
Scoop (1938) by Evelyn Waugh
May I take this opportunity to wish all my book blogging buddies and followers a very happy New Year!