My reading has been a little bit slower this year, although I raised my goal slightly from in 2016 and again this year to 52 books so that I could attempt one book per week. Smaller books and graphic novels usually pad this number for me, but even those have been few and far between. So far this year I have read 30 books and I need to get on the ball if I’m going to make it to my goal. I never went over any of the books I read in 2016, so I should probably mention that was the year I decided to dig into Stephen King’s work. Lots of his titles on my list over the past two years, although none appear in this blog post.
I started off the year with 17 Carnations: The Royals, The Nazis, & the Biggest Cover-Up in History. If you enjoy history in any way or wonder about how close the pendulum came to swinging the other way — pick this one up. They dodged a bullet (probably more than one) when that guy abdicated. This is a great look at how normal middle and upper-class folks almost let the whole thing happen and if you have concerns nowadays with the way things are going then I suggest you pick this up. I will say it’s a little dry in parts, but I found it enjoyable. Great for people who enjoy Downton Abbey and hate fascism.
At the beginning of the year I started the Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante and I have been swept up in all of that intimate intrigue and drama that springs from a friendship formed when two girls are very young.
There’s something deliciously small town about it, with everything that happens in the neighborhood, even though it’s all taking place in the middle of Naples. It follows their lives throughout their childhood and adolescence, and as the second book starts we’re just reaching the wedding of one of them. I feel like all of it is a very accurate depiction of friendship between women and how it can be equal parts love and devotion and competition.
I’ve had to force myself not to rush through, although by the end of the second book there was no going back and I had to get to the third. I’m saving the fourth so I can savor it. You’ll like these if you like Anne of Green Gables and The Godfather.
I read Walden and still paid my taxes. BUT IT WAS PAINFUL. In other news, I’m in love with a man who lived in another century, which will shock no one. Read it if you want a classier Bear Grylls experience.
Bruce Cannon Gibney makes a compelling argument in A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America for why things are in the state they’re in and I think everyone should pick this up and give it a little thought. Basically, selfishness doesn’t work. It might be working for you RIGHT THIS SECOND, but somewhere down the line it is going to come up and bite you in the behind, likely while you are waiting for someone to turn you in your bed while you lay in a nursing home. Lucky for you you’ll be far past the point of knowing or caring at that point, but hey, those government programs you didn’t want anyone younger than you to enjoy were great while they lasted for you, right? It’s not quite as inflammatory as I’m making it sound and certainly worth your time to pick up and give some thought.
Lastly, I picked up Anne of Green Gables again for my first reread as an adult and it was such a different experience for me this time around. Much like going through Gilmore Girls as an adult and feeling more compassion toward Emily than anyone else, the story of Marilla is what got me this time. If you were a fan of the books or movies as a kid, but haven’t read them as an adult, you should pick this up and read it while focusing on Marilla. So worth your time.