not exactly true

Reading List 2019

Well, despite not having had regular work until September last year, and having had regular part-time childcare, I got very little written and not so much (on my own, albeit lofty, standards) read; this year I've got full-time, very absorbing work (hurray!) and a novel I NEED to get drafted and revised, but also I need to properly tackle all the accumulated books scattered unread about the house. I kicked off by spending a week halfheartedly reading an Iris Murdoch (The Nice and the Good) which I then let go because it was becoming a slog (it's as sharp as any of her works but I couldn't bring myself really care what happened). Let's see what happens now, eh?

32. Gingerbread, Helen Oyeyemi. Disappointing. Review to follow.
31. How To Break Up With Your Phone, Catherine Price. Yeah, not my usual genre. But depressingly useful.
30. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers. So moving.
29. Charlie Savage, Roddy Doyle. Review here.

28. Number One Chinese Restaurant, Lillian Li. Grew on me as it went along.
27. Supernatural Tales, Vernon Lee. Old-school creepiness.
26. The Surface Breaks, Louise O'Neill. Feminist reimagining of The Little Mermaid. Pretty didactic (it's YA) but powerful stuff.
25. Ghost Wall, Sarah Moss. Incredible. Review here.
24. Lanny, Max Porter. Creepy and lyrical and nicely scathing. Review here.
23. This Paradise, Ruby Cowling. Debut story collection - fantastic stuff.
22. Ironopolis, Glen James Brown. Reread. Still fantastic: intricately plotted, beautifully descriptive, fiercely political.
21. Slip of a Fish, Amy Arnold. Innovative and disturbing (that's my bag).
20. Let Me Be Like Water, SK Perry. Novel about grief and mourning: a sneaky hard-hitter. Very moving.
19. Allegiant, Veronica Roth. Well, I can see why these were so popular: massively simplistic morality systems, cutout characters, awful dialogue, a ridiculously convoluted plot... oh, hang on. (I did not enjoy these books.) (I read them for work-related reasons.)
18. Insurgent, Veronica Roth.
17. Divergent, Veronica Roth.
16. The Butcher's Wife, Li Ang. Feminist Taiwanese novella from the 1980s. Gruesome but compelling.
15. See What Can Be Done, Lorrie Moore. Great collection of reviews and essays; review here.
14. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon. Re-read; still very good.

13. You Know You Want This, Kristen Roupenian. Stories: some great. Review here.
12. Rules, Cynthia Lord. Kids' novel about disability, autism, inclusion and acceptance.
11. My Coney Island Baby, Billy O'Callaghan. Novel about a long-term love affair. Review here.
10. X, Vona Groarke. Superb poetry collection.
9. Chess, Stefan Zweig. My first Zweig (and the second novel I've read all about chess obsessives?!); compelling and terse novella.
8. Paralogues, Evan Jones. Poetry collection by a friend, colleague and fellow Manchester PhD alumna.
7. Firestarter, Stephen King. Frequent and casual misogyny aside (grr), a good old page-turner from an old reliable.

6. Where Reasons End, Yiyun Li. Incredibly moving meditation on a writer's son's suicide. Review here.
5. Jellyfish, Janice Galloway. Reissued story collection. Review here.
4. For The Good Times, David Keenan. Novel about an IRA member. Superb. Review here.
3. The Mental Load, Emma. Graphic essays on feminism and socialism. Excellent. Review here.
2. Mongolian Travel Guide, Svetislav Basara. Very odd novel in the vein of Flann O'Brien (but more sexist). Review here.
1. The Gunners, Rebecca Kaufmann. Coming-of-age novel (sort of). Definitely not for me. Review here.