The Reading Year That Was

books read 2018
A screen capture of my ‘Books Read 2018‘ Pinterest board.

Late, but better than never.

I read thirty-five books in 2018.

The Ones I Really Loved and Will Probably Re-read:

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

The Nakano Thrift Store by Hiromi Kawakami

Manazuru by Hiromi Kawakami

Provenance by Ann Leckie

The Magicians of Madh by Aditi Krishnakumar

Bird Cloud by Annie Proulx

Murder While You Work by Susan Scarlett (Noel Streatfeild)

The Tale of the Bidadari by Stephani Soejono

Enormous Changes at the Last Minute by Grace Paley

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers

Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng

Least satisfying/ most disappointing books (they didn’t meet my expectations):

Holy Men, Holy Women by Dina Zaman

Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li

The Girl with the Ghost Eyes by M. H. Boronson

The Three Sisters of Sze by Tan Kok Seng

The Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

If I could re-read just one of the books I read last year it’d have to be … The Nakano Thrift Store by Hiromi Kawakami.



WWW Wednesday

What are you currently reading?

Bird Cloud by Annie Proulx

Yes, still reading this. ‘Savouring’ is the word.

The Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

It’s taken me awhile to get to this book although I’ve had it on my Kindle for some time now. Loving it so far. It’s funny and charming, and unpredictable. Reminds me of Diana Wynne Jones too, which is never a bad thing. I adore Peter Grant so far, but I disapprove of his attraction to Lesley. HarHar.

What did you recently finish reading?

Invitation to the Waltz and The Weather on the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann

Lehmann is one of my lovely dead white women authors. Invitation was a re-read, first time reading Weather.

Invitation sparkles. Olivia Curtis is adorable. I like her awkwardness and her honesty. And I love her and Rollo at the ball. Weather is more Olivia and more Rollo, but ten years have passed and their relationship is less than ideal. It’s a depressing book, on the whole. Enjoyed it, but it definitely made me droop.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I have no idea. I thought of re-reading Microserfs by Douglas Coupland but I can’t find it. I may read JPod by him, but I also have eleven new books I bought on Sunday. Maybe something from that pile. There is also the other pile by my bed. Maybe the short stories edited by Linh Dinh.

What I Read in 2017

These are the books I read this year: I don’t know if I’ll manage to finish anything else by the end of Dec, will add on if I do.

As I write this post I am re-reading Over Sea, Under Stone, the first book in The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper; I’ve also started Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng; and Faith in Writing: Forty Years of Essays by Goenawan Mohamad.

I feel it’s been a good reading year, because I started out telling myself I should not re-read and then realised how silly I was being. I shall continue reading whatever I like in 2018.

Not that it matters, but here’s a breakdown of what I read. If the numbers don’t compute, just blame by poor counting skills:

Re-reads: 14

New Reads: 37

Non-fiction/Memoir: 3

Comics/Illustrated Books: 6

Short Stories: 9

Novels/Novellas: 39

Books published in 2017: 14

By Writers of Colour: 25






Another Update

Two weeks to the end of the year. I am looking forward to 2018 as I always do look forward to new years, new weeks, new days. They are always a chance to start again, and goodness knows I need a fresh start.

I’ve been trying to squeeze in a new read or two before the end of 2017, but nothing apart from Mt Anderson’s Landscape With Invisible Hand is sticking. Even so, it’s going very slowly, like I like it, but my attention keeps drifting.

This morning I started re-reading Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising Sequence. I think I need something familiar and comforting to see me through Christmas, but I’m not sure if I’ll re-read all five books. I’ve also just started Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng. Just a page or so in, but I’m hopeful that I will want to carry on.

I’ve been spending a lot of time getting my 2018 planners ready. I have two: an ana.tomy monthly planner with lots of extra pages (blank, grid and dotted) that I intend to use solely for work; and a Muji dotted notebook that I hope to use as a daily (bullet) journal to help me be organised in my non-professional life. I have spent 2017 drifting and procrastinating, even more than usual, and this needs to change. I really need to be more productive, more disciplined, and more switched on. Also, I need to save for Japan. Now, that’s something to look forward to!



Still Reading Austen

Most predictably, I’ve missed the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. I had meant to write an article for the newspaper about why she is read and loved by Malaysians and what relevance the books have to our lives, but I was not as organised or awake as I hoped to be.

I mean to re-read Austen’s six novels this year. I finished Emma a  month ago and am currently re-reading Mansfield Park. Sense and Sensibility next. I may write a review of all six books in one post, but no promises. My energy levels and ability to focus are not predictable these days. But this means that I’m reading more slowly and that’s a good thing. It may even be that, at a slower pace, I understand and appreciate Fanny Price more than I did when I was a teenager (which was when I first made her acquaintance and the last time I read the book). It may also be that I am less impatient now.

As for Emma, I liked her both more and less. And I was totally put off by Frank Churchill – oh how my tolerance for silly young men has diminished over the years. Haha.

Jane Austen (as drawn by Cassandra Austen) (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817)