“Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.” Dr. Seuss
Reading, or rather concentrating while reading, for me, was difficult this year. I wondered more than once if I was losing my mind. Or perhaps my lack of engagement meant it was time to pursue a different pastime. My inability to focus was definitely worse earlier in the year just as the pandemic was declared: headlines and numbers and stories of disaster took up my every waking moment.
I’m better now (well, as far as I can tell) despite the fact that the headlines, numbers and disasters are worse than they were in the spring. Still, when I hit a roadblock in any other situation, including with my own writing, I keep at it. Show up, I tell myself, and something good will happen. Usually that blank page turns into a few words, then sentences, then whole paragraphs.
I applied the same logic to reading and found some breakthroughs mostly because of the incredible story-telling talent of some of the authors I was so fortunate to read this year. Here are some of my recommendations. Enjoy!
Oh, and books make great Christmas presents so please, wherever you live, visit your independent bookstore (in Whistler, that store is: Armchair Books) and buy a book. Everyone (author, book seller and most importantly you, the reader) wins!
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
The Overstory by Richard Power
Station Eleven by Emilie St. John Mandel
Amnesty by Aravind Adiga
The Silence by Karen Lee White
The Swan Suit by Katherine Fawcett
People Like Frank by Jenn Ashton
The Company We Keep by Francis Itani
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
The Russian Sister by Caroline Adderson
The Certainties by Aislinn Hunter
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
The Crooked Thing by Mary MacDonald
Greenwood by Michael Christie
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
From the Ashes by Jessie Thistle
Giving Up the Ghost by Hillary Mantel
Reaching Mithymna by Steven Heighton
The Art of Losing It - A Memoir of Grief and Addiction by Rosemary Keevil
St. Boniface Elegies by Catherine Hunter
The Stray and the Strangers by Steven Heighton
And I am so looking forward to reading: Kings, Queens and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju and Duck Days by Sara Leach
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