I used to keep a list of all the books I’ve ever read. In fact, I still have this list and I update it sporadically, but something stopped me a few years ago: I stopped reading as much for fun. I, as most people will, blame going to high school, and later university, for this, if only because it seemed utterly impossible to keep up with the vast expanses of homework, have a life and read. It’s not that I didn’t have the time, I just never gave myself much of a chance to read. Right about the time I went to high school was when the internet really seemed to kick off. Myspace made its entrance and sucked a lot of life from my otherwise impressive collection of books.
I kept collecting them, but stopped reading. I finally got back into reading for fun my sophomore year of university when I had a class on the contemporary novel. Up until then I hadn’t put much thought into fiction. I thought it’d all be pretty dull compared to the fantasy novels of my youth. Oh how I was wrong!
That year, for that class alone, I read Mrs. Dalloway, The Hours, The Known World, Sula,The God of Small Things and Maus. Some I loved to bit (The God of Small Things) and some I don’t think I could ever be forced to read again (The Known World). I didn’t read much during the year other than those (they kept me busy enough), but that summer was a bit of a reading renaissance for me. And the next year, which I spent in England without a television, even more-so.
I took another year off for my final year of university. And now I’m back in England and back in the habit of reading! Since January I’ve read just under ten books. I know this is nothing for the intense reader (a lot of them are YA books as well), but I can’t help but be a bit proud.
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
- The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
- Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
- Howl’s Moving Castle (re-read) by Diana Wynne Jones
- When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
- Sky Hawk by Gill Lewis
- I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
I finished I Capture the Castle the day before yesterday and absolutely LOVED it. I think it was one of those books that I managed to find at the right point in my life. Following a young girl as she falls in love for the first time, Smith managed to capture the intensity and irrationality of the emotions without being melodramatic. As a story about love, it seems to be one of the most true I’ve ever read. It works out for some, but not for others. And, well, hopefully that’s not giving too much away. I’d definitely add this to my must read list.
I’m moving on to Ragnarok by AS Byatt. I’m not quite sure how this is going to go, I’ve never read any Byatt before and am really not aware of what type of a writer she is. However, Ragnarok is a relatively short book, so I think I should breeze through it nonetheless.
What books has everyone else been reading? Is there anything I should get my hands on during my next trip to the bookstore? As long as it’s not 50 Shades or the like I’m willing to listen!