Gosh, it’s an interesting experience to look back through what you’ve read in a year!
And remember the pleasures of the great books and, admittedly, the tedium of the less-amazing books.
To be sure, not one of the titles I read was a bad book, but the blazing light of the best as listed here really testify as to why I embarked upon this project in the first place – to teach myself that any book you’re not enjoying is not worth forcing yourself to finish. When you read a book you’re loving, you’re really enjoying, you know it.
And you know what? These books were overall quite serious books. One I finished sobbing like a bereft child. But they didn’t drag, and they didn’t depress. They just glowed. They make you realise life’s too short to read anything second-best. So from now on, I’m only finishing stuff I love. Hell, I’m only starting stuff I love. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to read smart books or hard books. But they have to be great.
So without further ado, the best books I read this past 52 weeks:
- The Sea, The Sea – Iris Murdoch (tense, disturbing)
- Flesh and Blood – Michael Cunningham (immersive, affecting)
- The Dispossessed – Ursula Le Guin (visionary, uncompromising)
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer (innovative, devastating)
I’m not going to rank them, it’s too close a call. Trust me, and read them all.
(If you won’t trust me, at least trust Dr Seuss)
On Beauty – Zadie Smith (radiant, absorbing)
To be honest, this was just as good as the others, but I didn’t have a copy of it any more because I decided to pass that one on so it could brighten other people’s lives. So it didn’t get in the group photo.
Stay tuned! Before this project officially closes, one more post to come… The Aftermath