To say I have a voracious appetite for books would be an understatement... Since becoming a member of the National Poetry Library (which is free with a huge collection online), I have been devouring books. Alongside my trusty paperbacks I've been reading perhaps two poetry collections every fortnight. It's been wonderful.
My GoodReads target this year is 100 books, as it has been for the last few years. As it stands, I'm at 85 books already... And so, I wanted to share five of my favourites this year, thus far!
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Extremely late to the party on this one but after seeing it top lists and floating around on reading apps for a while, I purchased it for Christmas and it became one of my first 2022 reads. It is a sublime piece of fiction. Clarke writes beautifully and weaves together fantasy and reality admirably. It was the first book of Clarke's I read and, so far, still the only book, but I look forward to reading more of her work. There is something so refreshing and yet classic about Clarke's style that I enjoyed.
Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado
This collection of short stories was recommended to me and I absolutely loved it. The stories are dark, complex and a superb exploration of bodies, womanhood, personhood and sexuality. I found it very reminiscent of Angela Carter and it is a collection I definitely plan to read again. Machado's writing is inspiring in how old stories were retold and how many of the stories transcended expectations with plot twists and the span of time.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Now this had been on my to read and wish list for years before I finally got my hands on it this year. It was another Christmas present to myself. I knew so many people who swore by it, who had used extracts from it to teach writing, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of reading it myself. It prompted me to write the first ever short story out of my comfort zone (a short story that will be published in an anthology in the Summer!). It made me a better editor, particularly of my own work. It drove me to be more disciplined, to the point that I now write daily rather than on a whim. And it reminded me to submit my work and just keep trying. As well as it being incredibly interesting too in regards to King's memories of his own craft and development. Highly recommend! It is worth the hype.
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
I'm sure whenever I mention this book I sound like a broken record but it is simply beautiful. I re-read it because Piranesi felt reminiscent of it and I craved the way Ondaatje describes place and the interactions between people. It is just stunning. I also found myself identifying differently this time too. On my first read it was all about the Patient and his ex-lover. This time I fell in love with Hana the nurse and her resilience as well as her complete disillusionment.
Girls are Coming Out of the Woods by Tishani Doshi
I discovered Doshi's work through my National Poetry Library membership and after finding one collection a little so-so, I stumbled upon this one and found a collection which makes you stop with every piece. I felt constantly inspired by Doshi's style, imagery and subjects. Doshi's work has been central to mine recently but as a poet I do not think Doshi gets enough attention at all. Hence I am here singing her praises. Her work is excellent and I am so glad I gave this collection a chance.
And that's on five out of eighty-five books as of June 2022! What has been one of your favourite reads this year?