What I Read – January 2018

For although a man is judged by his actions, by what he has said and done, a man judges himself by what he is willing to do, by what he might have said, or might have done – a judgment that is necessarily hampered, not only by scope and limits of his imagination, but by the ever-changing measure of his doubt and self-esteem.

– The Luminaries

One of my goals for 2017 was to read more classics. As such, I re-read The Power and the Glory, an amazing classic that I read several years ago but so many things in it felt like I was reading it for the first time. I’ve also (finally) begun to tackle The Silmarillion. I think my dad will be proud of me.

And, as always, I want to read more from my own library (Meaning read some of the stacks of books that I already own but have not yet read.) 84, Charing Cross Road, Rules of Civility, The Luminaries, Purple Hibiscus, and The Painted Girls all fit into that category.

I managed a couple of book reviews (titles are linked) but hope to do better in February. Feel free to share your favourite reads of the month in the comments!

Read:

  1. 84, Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff (Penguin Books, 1970)
  2. The War that Saved my Life – Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Penguin Books, 2015)
  3. Rules of Civility – Amor Towles (Penguin Books, 2011)
  4. Your Heart is the Size of Your Fist – Martina Scholtens (Brindle & Glass, 2017)
  5. The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton (McClelland & Stewart, 2013)
  6. The Power and the Glory – Graham Greene (Penguin Books, 1979)
  7. Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2012)
  8. The Painted Girls – Cathy Marie Buchanan (Harper Collins, 2012

There was silence all round him. This place was very like the world: overcrowded with lust and crime and unhappy love, it stank to heaven; but he realized that after all it was possible to find peace there, when you knew for certain that the time was short.

– The Power and the Glory

Currently Reading:

  1. Rest, Play, Grow – Deborah MacNamara
  2. The Silmarillion – J.R.R. Tolkien
  3. The Hut Builder – Laurence Fearnley

But Ilúvatar knew that Men, being set amid the turmoils of the powers of the world, would stray often, and would not use their gifts in harmony; and he said: “These too in their time shall find that all that they do redounds at the end only to the glory of my work.”

– The Silmarillion

*Friendly reminder that you can follow me on Instagram @karissareadsbooks if you’re into that sort of thing. Mostly pictures of what I’m reading as I’m reading and my kids.

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What I Read – 2017

My Favourite Reads of 2017:

Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien

The Break – Katherine Vermette

The Lonely Hearts Hotel –  Heather O’Neill

Silence – Shusaku Endo

All We Leave Behind – Carol Off

The Golden House – Salman Rushdie

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me – Sherman Alexie

The Good People – Hannah Kent

Bellevue Square – Michael Redhill

Barrelling Forward – Eva Crocker

Wonder – R.J. Palacio

The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey

Thoughts and Observations:

  • My total number for the year is 72. Which comes in slightly below last year’s 76 so I’m pretty pleased.
  • Last year included 5 re-reads and I didn’t have any this year, despite intending to re-read a couple of classics
  • Speaking of classics, I read very few this year. That’s a goal I’ve set for 2018. Including (maybe) Ulysses…
  • Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of my reading is Fiction (61 fiction versus 11 non)
  • More surprisingly to me, I read very few theological type books this year. My non-fiction tended to be memoirs in 2017.
  • Female authors won out again this year with the women pulling ahead by a larger majority. (I counted 41 women and 28 men. So I obviously missed a few but I’m not going to go back and re-count.)
  • It surprises me to see that the U.S. is so highly represented with 31 authors. Canada, which usually wins this round, comes in next with 21 authors.
  • Also represented are: England, Ireland, Japan, Nigeria, India, Scotland, Russia, New Zealand, Chile, Spain, and Australia.
  • That said, only three books this year were translated from other languages. This is a category I know I always need to work on.
  • Other numbers:
    • 3 books were mysteries
    • 3 books had more than 500 pages.
    • 10 books were short story collections
    • 1 book was on parenting (Expect this number to increase in future!)
    • 7 were young adult or middle grade books
  • I abandoned 5 books without finishing them. (I don’t count these in my overall total.) This is actually a fairly high number for me but I am becoming more selective as I get older/my reading time becomes more limited.
  • I reviewed all but 6 of my 2017 reads, a number I’m pretty proud of. I had a 100% success rate until mid-November. I’m going to blame Rose for the drop off but I am hoping to catch up in 2018.

The Complete List:

1. The SelloutPaul Beatty (Picador, 2015)

2. Reflections on the PsalmsC.S. Lewis (Harvest Book, 1958)

3. I Carried You Home – Alan Gibney (Patrick Crean Editions, 2016)

4. Beauty Plus Pity – Kevin Chong (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2011)

5. The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey (Regan Arthur/Back Bay, 2012)

6. When She Was Electric – Andrea MacPherson (Polestar, 2003)

7. Perfect Little World – Kevin Wilson (Harper Collins, 2017)

8. Such is My Beloved – Morley Callaghan (McClelland & Stewart, 1994)

9. Fates and Furies  – Lauren Groff (Riverhead Books, 2015)

10. The Conjoined – Jen Sookfong Lee (ECW Press, 2016)

11. Here I Am – Jonathan Safran Foer

12. Barrelling Forward – Eva Crocker (House of Anansi, 2017)

13. The Best Kind of People – Zoe Whittall (Anansi, 2016)

14. What is not Yours is not Yours – Helen Oyeyemi (Hamish Hamilton, 2016)

15. Eileen – Otessa Moshfegh (Penguin, 2015)

16. The Dark and Other Love Stories – Deborah Willis (Hamish Hamilton, 2017)

17. How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen – Joanna Faber & Julie King (Scribner, 2017)

18. The Break – Katherena Vermette (Anansi, 2016)

19. Garden of Eden – Ernest Hemingway (Scribners, 1986)

20. A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara (Doubleday, 2015)

21. The Dinner Party and Other Stories – Joshua Ferris (Little, Brown, 2017)

22. Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Knopf Canada, 2017)

23. The Unwomanly Face of War – Svetlana Alexievich (Random House, 2017)

24. Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien (Knopf Canada, 2016)

25. The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas (Balzer + Bray, 2017)

26. A Manual for Cleaning Women – Lucia Berlin (Farrar, STrauss and Giroux, 2015)

27. The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman (Northfield Publishing, 1995)

28. Silence – Shusaku Endo (Picador Classic, 2015)

29. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman (Viking, 2017)

30. The Collected Stories – Grace Paley (Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2007)

31. Holding Still For As Long as Possible – Zoe Whittall (Anansi, 2009)

32. Spoonbenders – Daryl Gregory (Alfred A. Knopf, 2017)

33. Trust No One – Paul Cleave (Upstart Press, 2015)

34. Everything was Good-Bye – Gurjinder Basran (Mother Tongue Publishing, 2010)

35. Harmless Like You – Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Sceptre, 2016)

36. The Red Pony – John Steinbeck (Penguin Classics, 2009)

37. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me – Sherman Alexie (Little, Brown and Company, 2017)

38. The Tennis Partner – Abraham Verghese (Harper Collins, 1998)

39. The Japanese Lover – Isabel Allende (Atria Paperback, 2015)

40. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie (Cardinal Editions, 1960)

41. Autobiography – G.K. Chesterton (Hamish Hamilton, 1986)

42. The Lonely Hearts Hotel – Heather O’Neill (Harper Collins, 2017)

43. Stay With Me – Ayobami Adebayo (Knopf, 2017)

44. Meddling Kids – Edgar Cantero (Blumhouse Books, 2017)

45. Himself – Jess Kidd (Atria Books, 2017)

46. The Heart’s Invisible Furies – John Boyne (Hogarth, 2017)

47. The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden (Del Rey, 2017)

48. Teardown – Clea Young (Free Hand Books, 2017)

49. Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8 – Naoki Higashida

50. The Golden House – Salman Rushdie (Random House, 2017)

51. The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters: The Jolly Regina – Kara LaReau (Amulet Books, 2017)

52. The Good People – Hannah Kent (Little, Brown, 2017)

53. The Wind is not a River – Brian Payton (Ecco, 2014)

54. How to Breathe Underwater – Julie Orringer (Vintage, 2003)

55. All We Leave Behind – Carol Off (Random House Canada, 2017)

56. Lost in September – Kathleen Winter (Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2017)

57. Bellevue Square – Michael Redhill (Doubleday Canada, 2017)

58. A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles (Viking, 2016)

59. The End We Start From – Megan Hunter (Hamish Hamilton, 2017)

60. Ghost Warning – Kara Stanley (Caitlin Press, 2017)

61. Winter’s Tale – Mark Helprin (A Harvest Book, 1983)

62. A Boys’ Treasury of Sea Stories (Paul Hamlyn, 1968)

63. The Lifters – Dave Eggers (Alfred A Knopf, 2018)

64. Wonder – R.J. Palacio (Alfred A. Knopf, 2012)

65. Beloved – Toni Morrison (Plume, 1998)

66. My Cousin Rachel – Daphne du Maurier (International Collectors Library, 1952)

67. Next Year For Sure – Zoey Leigh Peterson (Doubleday Canada, 2017)

68. See What Can Be Done – Lorrie Moore (Alfred A. Knopf, 2018)

69. Letters from Father Christmas – J.R.R. Tolkien (Harper Collins, 2015)

70. The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Novellas – Henry James (Signet Classic, 1962)

71. Late Nights on Air – Elizabeth Hay (Emblem, 2007)

72. The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid – Colin Meloy (Balzer + Bray, 2017)

Books I Didn’t Finish:

The Travelers – Chris Pavone

Green Mansions – W.H. Hudson

Gork, the Teenage Dragon – Gabe Hudson

The Wonderling – Mira Bartok

The Beauty Myth – Naomi Wolf

What I Read – November 2017

The Lifters – Dave Eggers (Alfred A. Knopf, 2018)

Wonder – R.J. Palacio (Alfred A. Knopf, 2012)

Beloved – Toni Morrison (Plume, 1998)

My Cousin Rachel – Daphne Du Maurier (International Collectors Library, 1952)

Currently Reading:

See What Can Be Done – Lorrie Moore

Rest, Play, Grow – Deborah MacNamara

The Turn of the Screw and other short novels – Henry James

Next Year for Sure – Zoey Leigh Peterson

What I Read – October 2017

Bellevue Square – Michael Redhill (Doubleday Canada, 2017)

A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles (Viking, 2016)

The End We Start From – Megan Hunter (Hamish Hamilton, 2017)

Ghost Warning – Kara Stanley (Caitlin Press, 2017)

Winter’s Tale – Mark Helprin (A Harvest Book, 1983)

All rivers run full to the sea; those who are apart are brought together; the lost ones are redeemed; the dead come back to life; the perfect blue days that have begun and ended in golden dimness continue, immobile and accessible; and when all is perceived in such a way as to obviate time, justice becomes apparent not as something that will be, but as something that is. – Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale

A Boys’ Treasury of Sea Stories (Paul Hamlyn, 1968)

Currently Reading:

The Beauty Myth – Naomi Wolf

The Lifters – Dave Eggers

What I Read – September 2017

(My dad felt that my summer reading level had dropped off so I have done my best to boost my numbers this September. However, please keep your expectations low for October.)

The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters: The Jolly Regina – Kara LaReau (Amulet Books, 2017)

The Good People – Hannah Kent (Little, Brown, 2017)

The Wind is not a River – Brian Payton (Ecco, 2014)

How to Breathe Underwater – Julie Orringer (Vintage, 2003)

All We Leave Behind – Carol Off (Random House Canada, 2017)

Lost in September – Kathleen Winter (Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2017)

Didn’t Finish:

The Wonderling Mira Bartok (Candlewick Press, 2017)

Currently Reading:

The Beauty Myth – Naomi Wolf

Bellevue Square – Michael Redhill

What I Read – August 2017

The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden (Del Rey, 2017)

Teardown – Clea Young (Free Hand Books, 2016)

Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8 – Naoki Higashida (Random House, 2017)

The Golden House Salman Rushdie (Random House, 2017)

Currently Reading:

The Beauty Myth – Naomi Wolf

The Wind is not a River – Brian Payton

The Wonderling – Mira Bartok

What I Read – July 2017

Woefully lately but in the interests of keeping track (for myself because I’m sure no one has been waiting with baited breath), here is what I read in July:

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill (Harper Collins Publishers, 2017)

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo (Knopf, 2017)

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero (Blumhouse Books, 2017)

Himself by Jess Kidd (Atria Books, 2017)

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne (Hogarth, 2017)7

What I Read – June 2017

This felt like kind of a strange reading month for me. I started off by reading Alexie’s memoir and Verghese’ back-to-back, while also working my way through Chesterton’s autobiography. While I enjoyed each one, it also felt like a lot of male experiences and I was itching for some feminine perspective to balance it out. Something that hasn’t really happened to me before. I was eager to read Allende, an author I’ve also heard highly of but haven’t read before. A ferry ride and a night away on my own was the perfect opportunity. Then some Agatha Christie and I was ready to finish tackling Chesterton (reviews to come).

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me – Sherman Alexie (Little, Brown and Company, 2017)

The Tennis Partner – Abraham Verghese (Harper Collins, 1998)

The Japanese Lover – Isabel Allende (Atria Paperback, 2015)

Autobiography – G.K. Chesterton (Hamish Hamilton, 1986)

Re-Read:

And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie (Cardinal Editions, 1960)

Didn’t Finish:

Gork, the Teenage Dragon – Gabe Hudson (Knopf, 2017)

Currently Reading:

The Lonely Hearts Hotel – Heather O’Neill

What I Read – April 2017

The Unwomanly Face of War – Svetlana Alexievich (Random House, 2017)

(translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky

Do Not Say We Have NothingMadeleine Thien (Knopf Canada, 2016)

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas (Balzer + Bray, 2017)

A Manual for Cleaning Women – Lucia Berlin (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2015)

Currently Reading:

Silence – Shusaku Endo

The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman

What I Read – March 2017

I’ve fallen behind in reviewing books but am working to catch up and get some reviews posted next week. In the meantime, here’s what I read this month:

EileenOttessa Moshfegh (Penguin Press, 2015)

The Dark and Other Love Stories Deborah Willis (Hamish Hamilton, 2017)

She was glad that was done. What a relief. But then again, if she could, she’d do it all over. Everything. Her whole life. She’d live it again, just for the small but real pleasures of a donut and coffee, of holding her daughter in her arms, of making money, of sleeping late, of waking up.

  • Deborah Willis, “The Nap”

How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen – Joanna Faber & Julie King (Scribner, 2017)

The Break – Katherena Vermette (Anansi, 2016)

The Garden of Eden – Ernest Hemingway (Scribners, 1986)

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara (Doubleday, 2015)

…and he realizes that this is the way it is, the way it must be: you don’t visit the lost, you visit the people who search for the lost.

  • Hanya Yanagihara

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Knopf Canada, 2017)

The Dinner Party and Other Stories – Joshua Ferris (Little, Brown, 2017)

Didn’t Finish:

The Travelers – Chris Pavone