I saw this on FictionFan’s blog, but it’s a meme started by Jo at The Book Jotter. It’s a pause for reflection at the half year mark: you select select six categories from the selection Jo provides or create your own categories, and then find six books you’ve read between January and June to fit each category. A great way to procrastinate from either reading, reviewing, writing, translating or working!
Six books I have read but not reviewed
Although I loved each of the books below, I somehow didn’t get round to reviewing them – either because I was planning to write something longer and more elaborate, or else because I just lost my reviewing super-power during lockdown.
Francesca Wade: Square Haunting
Debbie Harry: Face It
Rosamund Lupton: Three Hours
Julian Symons: The Colour of Murder
John Dickson Carr: Castle Skull
Six authors I am looking forward to reading more of
Graeme Macrae Burnet – after reading The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau, I want to read more of his books, whether set in France or in Scotland.
Ron Rash – although I had mixed feelings about Serena, I certainly want to read more by him and have bought another two of his books
Machado de Assis – a rediscovery
Maggie O’Farrell – I really enjoyed Hamnet but have been told there is much more and better from where that came from
Elizabeth von Arnim – I’ve read her two most famous books a while back, but this year I discovered The Caravaners (which could easily fit into at least two other categories) and I think there’s a lot more there to explore
Six books that I had one or two problems with but am still glad I tried
Carlos Ruis Zafon: Shadow of the Wind – I got about halfway through and didn’t finish it, which makes me feel guilty, since I was reading this as a tribute to him following the news of his death. I think I’d have enjoyed it a lot more if I’d read it in my teens, and I seem to remember quite liking Marina, the only other book of his that I’d read. But at least I know now that I haven’t missed anything by not reading more by this author.
Harriet Tyce: Blood Orange – I’d probably not have read it if it hadn’t been the May book for the Virtual Crime Book Club, as the subject matter was quite troubling and the descriptions a little too grotty for my taste. However, it was undeniably a powerful story and led to some good discussions at the book club.
Lily King: Writers and Lovers – I do like books about writers and about entitled male egos, so it was both fun and quite revealing, but just not quite as good as I wanted it to be
Nino Haratischwili: The Eighth Life – I struggled because of the sheer length of it and because family sagas are not really my thing, but it is undeniably ambitious, fascinating and entertaining
Kate Briggs: This Little Art – the only reservation I had about this is that it requires great concentration to read, you need to stop and reflect after every few pages, but I was completely captivated. Masterful!
Yokomizu Seishi: The Inugami Curse – very bizarre and somewhat crazy murders in this country manor mystery set in Japan – but lovely to see And Then There Were None transposed to a Japanese setting. Certainly enjoyed it much more than Shimada’s Murder in the Crooked House
Six books that took me on extraordinary journeys
Abir Mukherjee: A Rising Man – India (Calcutta) – and the start of a series I really want to explore
Shirley Hazzard: The Bay of Noon – Naples, Italy
Carol Carnac: Crossed Skis – my favourite sport and one of my favourite countries
Ludovic Bruckstein: The Trap – town nestled amidst the Carpathians in Maramures, Romania
Mary Stewart: Nine Coaches Waiting – the French Alps
Ueda Akinari: Ugetsu Monogatari – Japan (and ghosts of the past)
Six books to read to avoid politics
Nick Bradley: The Cat and the City
Mary Stewart: Airs Above the Ground
Philip Pullman: The Book of Dust
David Foenkinos: The Mystery of Henri Pick
Alan Melville: Weekend at Thrackley
Beth Ann Fennelly: Heating & Cooling
Six books purchased during lockdown but not yet started
All of the below have been purchased following tweets or reading reviews by fellow book bloggers:
Helon Habila: Travellers
Tshushima Yuko: The Shooting Gallery and other Stories (transl. Geraldine Harcourt)
Luke Brown: Theft
Sylvia Townsend Warner: The Corner That Held Them
Michele Roberts: Negative Capability
Antal Szerb: Journey by Moonlight (transl. Peter V. Czipott)