January Reading

In previous years I’ve occasionally tried to post here about what I’ve read. But it’s something I’ve struggled to keep up regularly despite wanting to. I thought this year I would post a list on the 1st of each month of everything I read in the previous month.

Books marked with 1001 are from Boxall’s 1001 Books To Read Before You Die list and so count towards my goal of reading 40 more books from that before my 40th birthday.

  1. Serpentine by Philip Pullman
  2. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  3. A Promised Land by Barack Obama (audiobook)
  4. Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  5. The Circle by Dave Eggers (audiobook, 1001)
  6. The Minute I Saw You by Paige Toon

One of my vague reading goals for this year is to read longer books. I’ve read some very long ones this month – the Obama book is 750 pages, three of the others are 500 pages or more. I’ve also read what will almost definitely be the shortest book I read this year (Serpentine, which is very small in size and has only 80 pages).

The Circle and The Minute I Saw You both have disabled characters. Although I did wonder if many readers will have associated the word disabled with Hannah, the main character in The Minute I Saw You (she has a permanent limp which is mentioned several times).

A Promised Land was my favourite this month, it was so interesting. President Obama reads the audiobook himself which added to my enjoyment. Serpentine was probably my least favourite. As much as I’ve previously enjoyed the His Dark Materials world, this did leave me not sure what the point of it was…

In 2021 to date I have read 6 books or 2893 pages.

40 Before 40: Pandemic Edition

My 40th birthday is at the end of this year. At the end of 2019 I wrote a “40 before 40” list of goals to achieve before I reached that milestone. I blogged about that a little bit but never shared the list online

I did achieve three of the goals last year – I went to see Book of Mormon and did a photography course before the pandemic hit. I also manged to use my manual chair every day for over 40 days later in the year. Looking at the list as I write this, I could also be said to have done two more – I attempted to make button art at Christmas but it didn’t work out (I have plans for a different button art project) and whilst I didn’t make it to a writers retreat, I have done a couple of online retreats.

But there were several overnight trips in that 40, and even more one day trips. Most of those are currently out of reach. And to be completely honest I’m struggling with motivation to get things done at home at the moment. So a lot of the habit forming ones such as “write everyday for 40 days” feel unachieveable.

That said I didn’t want to give up on the idea of 40 before 40 entirely. So at the end of last year, I came up with two slightly simpler versions of the 40 before 40 goals.

I occasionally crochet squares for Woolly Hugs. This year I am aiming to crochet and send 40 of the 12 inch ones. I’ve already done two which will be in the post next week.

Also, for years I’ve been occasionally reading books from the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die book (I have a list of all the books that have been in each edition and read from that – it’s about 1300 when you count removed books). This year I want to get back into it and read 40 books from the list. I’m in the middle of listening to the audiobook of The Circle by Dave Eggers from the list now.

If I could manage to do more of the “at home” or low key goals from my original list that would be good, but the crochet and the books are what I’m actively planning to do write now.

And perhaps at some point when life looks something a bit more like normal I might start a 101 in 1001 list with the tattered remains of my original 40 before 40 list. It’s quite a long time since I’ve done one of those…