What I Read in 2017

Because to be honest, this page serves a double purpose – one, I kind of need it because I’m a book blogger, and two, I need to keep track of the books I read for English Lit. Killing two birds with one stone, in my typically lazy (I prefer ‘energy saving’) way. I read a lot of books last year (mainly because I had a nine week summer), and I’m hoping that I can keep the momentum going despite having ESSAYS AND ESSAYS AND MORE ESSAYS.

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood (I read this in two days, and although the concept and style of writing was fairly interesting, I wouldn’t say that it was beautiful. The plot itself was very intriguing because it is so plausible – a fast paced,  read, but not one of my favourites.)

The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles (Bloody hell, I love this book. It subverts all expectations of a narrator and storytelling convention, plus the sheer lyricism of the writing is enough to send me into a Victorian-esque descriptive haze. Plus Christina Rossetti makes an appearance, and Remember is guaranteed to make me cry. Could be one of my favourite reads of 2017.)

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson (Technically, I didn’t finish this book, so it shouldn’t be listed here. But I am also very proud of the fact that I managed to contain my anger at the sheer stupidity of a couple of characters. A potentially entertaining comedy gone wrong.)

Brick Lane by Monica Ali (I think I remember my English teacher mentioning this, and realised that my dad has it. A tale of forced marriage and a mix of cultures, that has made me feel slightly sick. A brilliant book, regardless.)

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (This book delivered. Russia, Satan and an oversized cat. Very Gothic, absolutely fantastical.)

Conversations with Peter Brook by Margaret Croyden (Not quite sure why I decided to read this book, as the only thing that I’ve seen by him is a recording of the Mahabharata. The Empty Space is the more useful, I think.)

Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin (religion. interesting in a strange, powerfully descriptive kind of way)

It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis (christ alive. If you are even vaguely concerned about politics, you must read this. Must. One of my top reads of 2017.)

The Road by Jack London (Picked up this because it was on the same stand as Into the Wild in Blackwell’s. A tale of journeys and life as a ‘hobo’ in late 19th Century America. Inspires wanderlust.)

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (Wow. WOW. That was an experience. The characterisation and exploration of love is intriguing and beautifully written. An incredible book.)

Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell. (Haven’t read much George Orwell for a while, and I found this one on my shelf. About a poet who has declared war on the money gods. Protagonist (Gordon Comstock) led me to describe – read, yell at – him in impolite terms, but I warmed to him.

The Plumed Serpent by DH Lawrence (I adore his short stories, and although I originally bought this because I thought there was a cult involved, I loved this. A bit hard to get into, but his description and the debate it sparks about religion is fascinating.)

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (A gentleman friend recommended this to me, ended up bawling by the end. A must-read for any aspiring medic, questions life and love in the face of death.)

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (I loved 1Q84 and Kafka on the Shore, and was expecting a similar magic realism. This novel doesn’t have those same fantastical elements, but worth a read – the most basic description is ‘love triangle’, but it’s so, so much more.)

Posh by Laura Wade (Planning on using this play in English next year, and would definitely recommend to any satire fan, or anyone with a sense of humour. Posh boys – the play behind ‘The Riot Club’ film. Brilliantly funny, but also highlights the ‘them/us’ disparity.)

White Teeth by Zadie Smith (I’ve enjoyed Zadie Smith’s other work, and I loved this one just as much. Funny and very real – throws up interesting questions about family, and ethnic identity, and religion, and teeth.)

Ariel by Sylvia Plath (I’m not one to sit down and read poetry; I dip in and out of it. I sat down and read this cover to cover – I’m fascinated by Plath and Hughes’ relationship and how they’re both regarded today. Brilliant poetry.)

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (wasn’t a fan at first – it took me a while to get used to Woolf’s prose – but it’s beautifully written. I’m a convert.)

The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster (slightly baffling trilogy of detective stories. Definitely requires a re-read.)

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (I adore this novel. No more to say.)

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks (I loved The Notebook film, and I loved this book. An easy read, yet the emotions made my heart sing. I also cried. Again.)

Psychedelics (The Doors of Perception) by Aldous Huxley (At its most base form, Huxley takes drugs and writes about his experience. Eloquent and very much a workout for the brain.)

CURRENTLY READING

John Major’s autobiography (don’t ask) (I think the History department low-key hate me. ‘Light summer reading’ my backside.)

The Three Sisters by Chekhov (I had a Chekhov craving that was impossible to ignore. Working through this one first, then up next will be The Cherry Orchard and Uncle Vanya.)