Books :: 2023

My tenth year keeping a reading list here.

We all know how time is weird and fast and loopy the older you get (never mind when you're watching children grow. And don't get me started on the pandemic effect on time in the last few years), but wow it's weird looking back at old reading lists and remembering those books SO CLEARLY, like I was just reading that a few months ago surely. So weird.

A very slow start this year - the first 4-5 months of 2023 have just been a blur...

I read two related books straight after each other in the first week of the year - gems both of them.

And then not another until I was on the plane on the way to Brazil in mid April.

I finished Glennon (lots of skip reading I found her messaging all a bit obvious and was more voyeuristically interested in her personal story) and then found myself back into reading, but with nothing to read in a completely Portuguese-speaking country far from home.
I went in to a couple of book shops and asked if they had an English section (my pequena falo Portugues coming in handy) but nobody did - why would they?
Finally I got lucky at a secondhand book stall at the market. A tiny handful of English books, mostly those hideous yellow '... for Dummies' series, and one John Updike novel. Gold!

I suspect I might have read it before, but not on any of my lists here so that must have been more than 10 years ago.

This I have read before  - my lists tell me it was my favourite read of 2013! Wow. 
I loved it again. Weirdly I didn't identify as strongly with the angst of young motherhood as I did 10 years ago though ha ha.

And then this most recently. So much angst. I struggled, but I did it.

(the immortal life of henrietta lacks)

You know what's really good for your reading stats? Ankle surgery. I had my op on 2 August and in 4 weeks have read the following ...

Perfect distraction from pre-surgery jitters and then coasting along on a pethidine high afterwards. Chick-lit, but make it sports and with some pretty hard-hitting feminist messaging. I enjoyed it.

Home but still tricked up on drugs I went for another easy, compelling read. A murder mystery which turned out to be a sequel so I was lost for a fair bit of it... an accurate reflection of my mental state ha ha.

Classic Allende - a main character's life from childhood to old age through various major historical events and personal dramas. I'm coming back round to Allende after some doldrum reads, this was good but not exceptional.

This I loved. A woman in middle-age (relatable) assessing her life. Triggered by meeting Van Gogh as a patient at her husband's asylum in rural France. Loosely based on real events, this was gentle and moving.

How have I never heard of this book (or the movie) before? A quick read, very old fashioned by today's standards but a moving story of male friendship. We're passing this around our group of friends and planning a viewing of the film once we've all read it.

Strong contender for book of the year. I have never fully forgiven Geraldine Brooks for blindsiding me with Year of Wonders (I read it in 2010 when I had a toddler and a newborn and it broke me) but a couple of novels in the last few years have been slowly bringing me round and Horse was wonderful.

Two weeks flat on my back staring at a screen or a book has had me contemplating my aging neck rather more than I would like to. I had just 'invested' in this pro-collagen treatment cream when a friend came round with a pile of books including this one by Nora Ephron. It felt apt.

I will forever by a Lionel Shriver fan. This was not my favourite (gosh she's good at keeping you engaged with unlikeable characters), but still - so well written, thought-provoking, unsettling.

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