Reading in 2021

We are on holiday at Rhyll on the quiet side of the island. We are six, from fairly old to very young. This is a place of wind and tides, seabirds and mangroves, sailors, bushwalkers and fishermen. We enjoy our early meals, our games of Cranium and Dixit.

It is not however conducive to my usual Great Read and I have been contemplating my approach for this year. I was quite overwhelmed to read on Calmgrove’s blog of all the potential reading challenges one could participate in in 2021. Not for the Gerts I’m afraid. We always were stubborn non-participants. However I have decided to read with a little more focus this year, or a combination of focus and randomness. I plan to read one book every month by a twentieth century writer of accepted literary merit, and the usual flights of fancy. I will read books from a number of countries, some in translation. I have chosen eight so far.

Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann

The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse

Friday by Michel Tournier

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolano

I Q84 by Haruki Marukami

Ulysses by James Joyce

The City and The City by China Mieville

I am still open to suggestions for the last four books.

I realise I have no female writers here so far and no American or Australian writers. This may just reflect the fact that I overwhelmingly read books written by women from these countries and need a change.

What Other Gert chooses to do is her affair. She is well ahead on the literary reading score; she has read Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu in French!

As a small diversion, let me give you some of the titles on the bookshelves of our lovely rented holiday house. One usually finds ancient Agatha Christie or Rex Stout. The shelves here shown signs of someone having endured an emotional crisis.

Are you the One for Me?

Instant Calm

Fighting  Fatigue

Everybody Can Win

Taming Toxic People

Dare to Forgive

Dancing with the One You Love

You Bet You Can

You Don’t Have to Take it Any More

Toxic Parents

The Liver Cleansing Diet

And very many more. Not a Golden Age crime novel anywhere in sight.

Now if you’ll excuse  me I have to go off and read The End of My Addiction

19 thoughts on “Reading in 2021

  1. That is a weighty list! And the “vacation” reading sounds weighty, but in entirely different realms. My only vacation reading is “The Lies and Life of Bella Hatherly,” and I hope that I have enough time on the return flight to finish it.

    Sounds like a lovely time with family on the island.

  2. I too dislike the term ‘reading challenge’ as it sounds rather competitive or too much like work to me. Reading projects, however, I can cope with! Your plan sounds excellent, and that’s an interesting selection of books on your list. If you’re in the market for other suggestions, how about something by F. Scott Fitzgerald or John Steinbeck for the American perspective? Or maybe you feel you’ve had enough of that in recent years!

    1. I like your suggestions although I have read work by these authors quite a few years ago. I’m thinking I have neglected black female writers. Any suggestions in that area?

  3. Excellent choice Gert one and two. My brother has a box of books for me to read – all non fiction but current. I quite enjoyed Plutarch. Just finishing him up.

        1. Don’t go anywhere near the tourist traps of central Bali. They have been absolutely ruined and are infested with the vile species Ugly Australian. The northern part of Bai is still unspoiled and beautiful. I have been several years in a row with my yoga group to a lovely place called Gaia Oasis at Tejakula – highly recommended if your dream ever becomes reality.

          Other Gert

    1. I had a much longer reply drafted but after an interruption most of it disappeared and I’m too mentally exhausted just now to repeat myself, sorry! I may come back later and add what I remember.

  4. Great to know that you are on vacation and that you are visiting a beautiful place. The list of the books for 2021 has muscle and shows diversity. Bravo for the choices! Enjoy your stay and please take care of yourselves. Hugs to you from California.

  5. Good to see ‘Friday’ on your list. It’s not a book one hears much about these days. American writers – have you read Marilynne Robinson? ‘Housekeeping’ and ‘Gilead’ are two I can recommend.

    1. It’s by a NIgerian writer and is about the Biafran War. I have read good and bad reviews. Some say it’s very moving others that the writing is clunky and it’s a bit simplistic, so I’m not sure …

  6. May I suggest So Long A Letter? It’s a classic work of African feminism by Senegalese author Mariama Bâ, translated from the French by Modupé Bodé-Thomas. It’s the musings of a woman about your newly dead husband, and they’re not all fond memories… Or, likewise on the same theme as your musings about men and why woman do what they do, Changes, by Ama Ata Aidoo, it’s the journey of a modern, educated Ghanian woman as she tries to reconcile the demands of love with her own sense of self-respect.
    (Both reviewed on my blog, if they pique your interest.)

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