Wednesday 14 December 2022

Summer reading list

I was going to say, it's that time of the year that I start getting excited about my summer reading pile. But that's a lie - I start getting excited in about September, stockpiling books I want to enjoy over the break, each addition a promise to myself for relaxation and world exploration.

Will I read all these? No. Will I pick up old books from my shelf and re-read those instead? Inevitably. Do I feel buoyed every time I look at this promise to the future though? Most definitely.

Before you start - I have to recommend Rachael King's write-up of her year in reading - a complete joy 

Rebecca Solnit's Wanderlust (abandoned) and The Faraway Nearby. I enjoyed Orwell's Roses very much this year, and (shallow reasoning, but still) these new books are from the same design family (though slightly squatter). Solnit is one of the few people who I don't know IRL that I follow on Twitter, for her trenchant and roundly-considered views.

Zana Fraillon and Bren MacDibble's The Raven's Song. The only YA, which is unusual for me. Bought on the basis of Rachael King's review. Read and reviewed.

Claire Keegan's Small Things Like These. An impulse buy, one I kept picking up & putting down at my local, Good Books, and finally walked out the door with. I've not read anything by Keegan before. Read.

Ted Chiang's Exhalation. I really enjoyed Chiang's previous collection, Stories of Your Life and Others and am looking forward to sinking into his imagination again. Read and reviewed.

Elizabeth Strout's Oh William!. I read my first Strout, My Name is Lucy Barton, this year, and I am fascinated by (but not yet sure if I enjoy) her chilly voice. Read and reviewed.

Maggie Shipstead's Great Circle. I think I was feeling blue a few months ago and got a dopamine hit by ordering a bunch of Booker-nominated novels I hadn't yet read. This was one of them. Read.

Catherine Chidgey's The Axeman's Carnival. One of two books that everyone has been talking about this year. Read and reviewed.

Coco Solid's How to Loiter in a Turf War. The other book everyone has been talking about this year. Read.

Paul Diamond's Downfall: The destruction of Charles Mackay. I adore Paul and I'm excited to read his take on this (in)famous story. Check out his interviews about the book with Andre Chumko and with Kim Hill. Read.

Julian Aguon's No Country for Eight-Spotted Butterflies. I started by noticing Alice Te Punga Somerville retweeting Aguon and then read his essay, On Guam there is no birdsong, you cannot imagine the trauma of a silent island. Layering this on top of Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass, which I finally read this year. Read.

Kate Atkinson's Shrines of Gaiety. I read every Atkinson that comes out. Reliably good holiday company. Read.

N.K. Jemisin's The World We Make. I've gotta say the prequel to this book, The City We Became, was my least favourite Jemisin to date, but I'm such a stan, I'll buy every one. Read.

Orhan Pamuk's Nights of Plague. I've never read Pamuk but I wanted a thick historical fiction addition to the stack, so there you go.

Rachel Buchanan's Te Motunui Epa. I loved Buchanan's Ko Taranaki Te Maunga and as with Paul Diamond, I'm excited for her style of telling this tale

Plus one for luck

Again via Rachael King (with Claire Mabey, my two chief reading inspirations) the BBC have adapted Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising as an audio drama and I might give that a whirl.

Unscheduled reading

There's always going to be some.

Katherine Rundell's Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne. Added to the reading stack late because literary Twitter was so positive about this book. Reviewed here.

Noel Streatfeild's Ballet Shoes. Read after listening to the Backlisted Christmas episode about this book. Reviewed here.

Tamsyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth, added after realising I needed some levity in the stack. Reviewed here. And then Harrow the Ninth.

Sarah Moss's Ghost Wall, after reading The Raven's Song - couldn't resist the bog-sacrifice connection.

Alan Garner's Treacle Walker - continuing that bog people theme. Reviewed here.

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