I. Is there a book that you started that you still need to finish by the end of the year?
I’ve just started Nino Haratischvili’s The Eighth Life (for Brilka), which is a good 944 pages long and takes in all of the changes that the twentieth century brought to Russia, Georgia and the Caucasus. I’d be surprised if I can’t finish it by the end of the month, let alone the end of the year, although its enormity makes it not very portable…
II. Do you have an autumnal book to transition to the end of the year?
I always read a Dickens in the winter, but haven’t previously had an autumn reading tradition. That may change given that I just finished M.R. James’s Collected Ghost Stories and found them perfect atmospheric reads. They’re not terribly scary while you’re reading, but this is deceptive: two days later, I can’t stop thinking about them. I’ve also found Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novels, narrated by Stephen Fry, excellent audio companions to the turning of the season.
III. Is there a release you are still waiting for?
Good heavens, no. Not in 2019, anyway. There’s one book coming out in November that I have a proof of and may yet read (Unknown Male by Nicolas Obregon), but it’s not essential.
IV. Name three books you want to read by the end of the year.
Just from my current library stack: Paradise by Toni Morrison, The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell, Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans. Also, on my bedside bookshelf: Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart, The Need For Roots by Simone Weil, and We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. Plus the thirty-six books on my “home” TBR, although those are certainly not going to get read by the end of 2019.
V. Is there a book that can still shock you and become your favourite of the year?
Probably, but I haven’t read it yet. I’m actually kind of sad because although 2019 has been, thus far, an extremely good reading year, I haven’t had the kind of mind-electrifying experience with a book that made 2018 such a pleasure. (It was Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss, in case you’re wondering.) I’ve read lots of great stuff–which I will write about in December, because goddammit, we’re six weeks out from New Year’s Eve, it’s much too early to start doing personal roundups–but so far nothing arresting.
VI. Have you already started making reading plans for 2020?
Heh. Aren’t I always making reading plans?
In 2020, I would like to continue:
- reading my way through this crowd-sourced list of the 21st century’s best children’s books
- reading my way, slowly, through Women’s Prize and Arthur C Clarke Award winners
- using my local public library a lot more
- reading backlist paperbacks and classics, including rereads
I want to read everything, you know. Really, I don’t understand–not on any meaningful emotional level–why I can’t.