Reading Year. Q1

2579 pages and 90 days later.

Back in January, I’ve set a goal to read 22 books in the next 12 months. The first quarter of the reading year is over, the results are out! Let’s take a look at the books I have read throughout the first 3 months of 2017 (first to last).

Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah

I started a new reading year with a non-fiction on inbound marketing recommended by a fellow marketer. It was just what I needed, easy to follow introduction to the topic of interest. Perfect for those who want to have a better understanding how and why inbound marketing works.

Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov

Pnin is a story about Russian-born professor in his 50s who teaches Russian in the United States in the language he has yet to master himself. Grotesquely comic situations make you feel sorry for the protagonist who tries to maintain his dignity in the most obscure ways.

There were moments when I thought to myself it’s brilliant, but then there were moments when I had to put extra effort to concentrate and follow the story. I am most definitely will be rereading Pnin as I feel it has something I still need to discover.

The Accidental by Ali Smith

I came across The Accidental in a local bookshop. I have never read anything by Ali Smith before and knew little to nothing about the plot of the book I decided to take home with me. Exciting!

The Accidental is a story about a family of four that is on vacation when one day a stranger named Amber comes to their household. All family members are so disconnected from each other, that nobody bothers to ask whose friend is a woman staying with them.

I enjoyed seeing personalities of each family member unravel as they grew fond of the stranger that intruded their lives. I have also attempted writing a review for this book earlier this year.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang (audiobook)

I’ve downloaded an audiobook of The Vegetarian on Audible back in February. It is a rather short book I was intending to listen to on the flight to Israel and back.

The Vegetarian is a story about Yeong-hye, an ordinary woman who after having a brutal nightmare decides to stop eating meat. This change greatly affects not only hear physical but also mental health, leaving her delirious in most situations.

Melancholic, shocking at times, yet somehow very humane, The Vegetarian is surely my type of book. What stopped me from loving it, however, was the narration. Chapters that were narrated by Stephen Park were okay, but the one narrated by Janet Song were offputting. Till the very end, I couldn’t understand whether it was the pace of speech or her voice (or perhaps both) that sounded almost robotic, difficult to follow and enjoy.

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

With the release of Zadie’s latest novel Swing Time back in November, social media profiles owned by book lovers’ were discussing Zadie’s work more actively than ever before. Almost instantly I’ve been sold the idea I must pick up something by her. I didn’t want to start with the newest release, so I did my homework and picked On Beauty instead.

I can see why many people enjoyed On Beauty. Funny, at times absurd, On Beauty is easy to follow story that covers many different subjects, amongst which – race, class and gender are discussed in academic life surroundings.

Even though I enjoyed the book, for the most part, few months after reading it I remember only a few episodes from it. I guess that says something.

Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith

Girl Meets Boy is a modern retelling of the Ovid’s myth of Iphis. The story follows two sisters, Anthea and Imogen, one of whom falls in love with another woman. It is a novella about sexual identity and social injustice in the spotlight of contemporary times.

I read Girl Meets Boy in one sitting, being amused how such a light read can carry such a strong message.

Stoner by John Williams

I’ve been planning on getting my hands on Stoner for a long time and it just happened I picked it up in pre-loved books store in Tel Aviv, Israel. Little did I know that Stoner will turn out to be something that consumed me so deeply, I will be left with serious book hangover for a good couple of months. My experience and relationship with this book have been discussed in the previous post, along with a short review.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I’ve heard all kinds of words about Milk and Honey, some people fell in love with the poems, others – not so much. That’s why I decided to just take the plunge and judge for myself.

And so, I did not particularly like or dislike Milk and Honey. There were poems I found too cheesy, but there also were a few that made me stop and think. My overall experience of reading poems and then observing the illustrations was different. Different and delightful. Take a look at one of the poems from Milk and Honey, reposted on Rupi’s Instagram account to understand what I am speaking about.

With each page I’ve grown to enjoy the pattern of reading and observing, observing and reading more and more.

1984 by George Orwell

I have a handful of friends who name 1984 as their favorite book of all times. This, naturally, puts me under invisible pressure to like it too, which is not the case.

This was my third time reading 1984. I simply wanted to learn whether my opinion about the book changed since the last time (three years ago) I’ve read it. The answer is no.

I like that 1984 is a book that sends a very clear message and makes you question the reality. Nevertheless, something about the way it is written puts me off. This reading experience has proved me that 1984 is simply not a type of book I would enjoy reading.

NW by Zadie Smith

I don’t have much to say about this one, simply because I didn’t finish it. I have managed to push through the fist half but then left it off there. This usually doesn’t happen, as I am determined to finish what I’ve started, but perhaps due to the books read prior to NW, I’ve had a hard time to take it seriously.

Altogether I’ve read 10/22 books on the first quarter of the year. How is your reading year going?