This isn’t really a New Year’s resolution – I already read plenty, mostly to keep my commute on the train interesting. It’s more one of the fun parts of reading is talking about it afterwards which I don’t get to do much so I thought blogging about them regularly might help. Also it might serve as a bit of a memory aid when looking over the books I’ve enjoyed this year.
So as is expected at this time of year here’s some of the books I enjoyed in 2015.
I read a huge amount, mostly fiction, but the odd autobiography popped in this time round, and for the first time in a while I read a mix of real books, books on my Kindle and books from the library.
I’ve loved picking up library books as it allowed me to trial books which I probably wouldn’t have if I was parting with money. For instance a guilty pleasure of mine is Jenny Colgan’s chick lit which I would never have thought to buy, with their saccharine titles like ‘Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweet Shop of Dreams’ or ‘The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris’. But thanks to the library I’m certain I’ve now read her entire back catalogue in a year.
Chris Hadfield’s ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth’ was another library recommendation, covering his career and family life in the run up to his time on the International Space Station. I was initially put off as I always thought I wasn’t a fan of space and the science behind it. I realised this was incredibly silly of me.
Chris Hadfield will mostly be remembered for singing David Bowie’s ‘Space Oditty‘ in space, but he’s also the first Canadian to walk up there. The sheer amount of training they have to do is amazing and because so few people go to space its still all on a bit of a wing and a prayer. It’s also interesting to see what impact this career has on an astronaut’s family such as, spending a lot of time without them, the risks as well as the fun parts.
I also love the attitude that astronauts develop when they see just how tiny Earth is compared to the whole universe, so political feuds mean nothing to them.
Basically all this means I am excited to learn more about current Brit in space, Tim Peake. I mean you can now even tweet in space!
Other book highlights include ‘Hiroshima’ by John Hersey and Jon Ronson’s brilliant So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’. I also reread ‘Orlando’ by Virginia Woolf. At it’s most basic it’s about a man becoming a woman. I read it first when I was a teenager and thought it enjoyable but didn’t really get the full impact until now, especially this passage.
Reading Orlando by Virginia Woolf and in 1928 she had a better understanding of transgender issues than some do now pic.twitter.com/l1yXTEE9dH
— Charlotte Reid (@charlottereid) November 3, 2015
And it would be a shame not to include Count Arthur Strong’s memoirs ‘Through it all I’ve Always Laughed’. The fictional entertainer is already one of my TV and radio favourites and hopefully these lines about botox and Cliff Richard explain why: “It would be dreadful if they got the syringes mixed up and you ended up with Cliff Richard’s buttocks in your face. I wouldn’t know where to put myself. I mean I like ‘Mistletoe and Wine’, but I wouldn’t want his buttocks in my face.” Still makes me laugh like a banshee.
There’s been a few clunkers, some from the library where the blurb didn’t match my expectations and Donna Tartt’s ‘The Little Friend’ is taking longer than I expected. But the one book I just couldn’t finish this year was ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’. I couldn’t get into or excited enough about the plot to carry on with it.
I didn’t really stop reading over the holidays, now currently working my way through the Poldark series. I’ve got a stack of books already waiting, and I’m keen to read some Dickens and Sherlock thanks to Christmas telly. And I’ll see how it goes from there – catchup at the end of January.