The end of January, and my first task for the year is complete; well not quite, for I didn’t read thirty books. Only twenty-eight. But wouldn’t you say reading Dickens is like reading two books? Here are the titles listed below. I leave you to form your own opinion as to whether I could have done more. But whatever the number, it has again been an agreeable experience and one I recommend. As I often say to the Silent Companion, ‘If only I was at the beach for a month with no interruptions.’ And he replies, ‘But you live at the beach.’ And it is true we live about twenty paces from the sea. But the interruptions of daily life also surround us.
Titles in order read
The Godmother … Hannelore Cayre
Mimi … Lucy Ellman
The Projectionist … Carlo Gebler
Bamboo Secrets: One Woman’s Quest through the Shadows of Japan … Patricia Dove Miller
How Proust can Change Your Life … Alain de Botton
Spook Country … William Gibson
The Black Notebook … Patrick Modiano
The Years … Annie Ernaux
The Time it Rained Fish … Philomema van Rijswijk
First Days of the year …Helene Cisoux
Gravity is the Thing … Jaclyn Moriarty
Zero History …William Gibson
Flaneuse … Lauren Elkin
Loudermilk …Lucy Ives
The Principles of Uncertainty …Maira Kalman
The Three Weissmans of Westport … Cathleen Schine
The Reading Party … Fenella Gentleman
Fin and Lady … Cathleen Schine
The Catastrophist … Carlo Gebler
The Underground … Hamid Ismailov
Paperboy … Christopher Fowler
Echoland … Per Petterson
Only a Matter of Time … V C Clinton-Baddeley
1947 … Elisabeth Asbrink
Bruny … Heather Rosev
The Devil Upstairs … Anthony O’Neill
Death’s Bright Dart …V C Clinton-Baddeley
Our Mutual Friend … Charles Dickens
Nine non-fiction and nineteen fiction.
Fifteen books written by women and thirteen by men.
Most enjoyable and impressive: The Years by Annie Ernaux. I will review this in the near future.
The worst, i.e the most annoying, written with overweening pretension, was First Days of the Year by Helene Cisoux. She seemed to be attempting to do what Annie Ernaux did so well, but the amount of throat clearing and general bull-dust meant she failed.
One new discovery: Cathleen Schine. An American fiction writer in the genre of family stories, but more interesting than that, in that her stories are about Jewish families where money is short, divorces are acrimonious, and credit cards are way over the limit. The Weissmans of Westport was particularly enjoyable and described as a new take on Sense and Sensibility.