Saturday 15 January 2022

QuickLit January 2022: Reading year review

 Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy once more for QuickLit reviews. Time to look back on my reading year. Last January, I declared that my goal was actually to read fewer books, but more mindfully. I did end up down on the 2020 count, but not really for the intended reason. I just ran out of steam by October - Covid fatigue, I guess. I even stopped remembering to note down which books I'd read, but luckily they were almost all on Kindle, so I could figure it out. So, as far as I know, my stats are:

Total: 41 books (I was averaging a little over 50 the past few years)

Print books: 9

E-books: 31 (Due to Covd restrictions, I only had one trip to the UK to stock up on print English language books.)

Audiobooks: 1 (But it was the enormous Clan of the Cave Bear. I also listened to a lot of podcasts.)

Fiction: 36

Non-fiction: 5 (I prefer to read non-fiction in print form so that I can flip back and forth, so this one is obvious.)

Here are my favourites of 2021:

Taylor Jenkins Read - Daisy Jones and the Six

My parents grew up in the 60s, so our house was full of  sixties music, which is why I'm a Stones and Kinks fan. This book nailed the 60s/70s rock scene - it felt like I was reading a non-fiction memoir. An investigative journalist tracks down members of the iconic band Daisy Jones and the Six to find out why they split up at the height of their meteroic rise to fame. Absolutely read if you're a fan of this musical era!

Timothy Dalton is THE Mr Rochester, and I'll take off my corset and fight anyone who disagrees ;)

Charlotte Bronte - Jane Eyre

I read through all of Charlotte Bronte's novels this year. It began with Jane Eyre - I always name it as my all-time favourite book, but I hadn't read it for a while, and I was afraid to find out if it had lost its charm. Reader, fear not. Fierce, independent Jane, who holds fast to her integrity whatever the world throws at her, is a timeless heroine. And I still get a deep thrill at the words, 'Reader, I married him.'

Kazuo Ishiguro - The Remains of the Day

I totally hated the ending of The Buried Giant, and there's no way I'm going to frighten myself with Ishiguro's dystopian novels, so it took me a while to try this one. In the 1950s, a butler takes a road trip to meet a former housekeeper, and reflects on his life of service to a high-minded but ultimately misguided lord. A beautifully written, bittersweet reflection on lost love and lost causes, but with a little hope at the end.

The iconic New Forest ponies

Edward Rutherford - The Forest

Rutherford seems to have carved out a niche penning huge tomes that cover centuries of history. I'd read the more well-known Sarum, but I think I enjoyed this even more. The novel tells the stories of the families (and trees and animals) who inhabited the New Forest over a thousand years of history (yes, in Britain, a forest gets to be called new when it's only a thousand years old). This, and Sarum, is really a series of interlinked novellas, so they're a good choice if you love historical fiction and/or want to tackle a large book for a reading challenge.

Molly Martin - The Art of Repair

I read this in May, but still keep turning to it. This slender volume is part clothing repair manual, part paean to the art of caring for our belongings. Her few methods are simple (well, OK, I don't feel up to tackling Swiss darning yet), but her love for mending is infectious. And slowly Sashiko stitching a patch on my son's trousers, when I could replace them for a few euros, feels like a subversive act of rebellion in our throwaway society.

Phillipa Langley and Michael Jones - The King's Grave

As a teenager, I was a devoted Ricardian, reading everything about Richard III I could get my hands on, fiction and non-fiction. I even wrote 'Richard III is innocent' on the front of my school history notebook! The King's Grave is Langley's account of the excavation of the Leiceistershire abbey that led to the discovery of Richard III's grave in 2012, interspersed with Jones's revisionist biography of this controversial king, England's last monarch to die in battle. I have a more moderate view of Richard now, though I'm still inclined to think he did not order the murder of the Princes in the Tower. And for 2022, I'm exicted to put Nicola Cormick's new novel The Last Daughter (US: The Last Daughter of York) on my reading list, a historical fantasy take on the fate of the younger prince.

I think 2022 is going to be a slower reading year, as my main goals are more Slovene classes (got to get fluent in the language since I live here) and finishing the sequel to my novel A Dorset Summer. But my six-year old is now into longer chapter books, so I'll have more interesting kiddie reading. We're currently up to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in the Narnia series. How was your 2021? Do you have 2022 reading goals, or, like many of us, have you ditched your usual plans? If you have a review, I'd love to link to it!

A roundup of 2022 Quicklit reviews:

Katie @ The Cozy Burrow

Shannon @ Shannon Enjoys Life!

Elena @ A Beautiful Hope

Susan @ In the Storm