The pandemic ravaged my attention span and choked off my main source of books (the library) for months. I turned to a project I’ve wanted to tackle for years, reading everything Virginia Woolf wrote (including essays, letters, diaries, novels, non-fiction) in chronological order. That project gave this weird amorphous year a backbone for me to fling myself onto and limp toward the finish line. I’m currently up to October 1938.
Another project I took up and made progress with was something I’ve always wanted to do: read the goddamn Bible, the book of Books. Holy shit, it’s a bananas ride. I got through the Book of Job and took a break in August, never took it back up. The Old Testament is hilarious and fierce. I need to get back in there next year.
And I finally read Montaigne’s complete essays!
Read 140 books; 62% women writers; 38% men. Non-fiction (61%) edged out fiction (39%) for the fifth year in a row, pretty surprising since I thought I went hard for escapist fiction this year. Guess not! The overall book count was down 45% from last year but I feel like I read deeper, ruthlessly discarding books that were wastes of time.
Some worth mentioning:
- The Notebooks of Samuel Butler (I fell completely in love with Sam Butler this year, swoon)
- Diaries of Virginia Woolf. All five volumes are intensely amazing, brimming with gold. I’ll be re-reading these for the rest of my life.
- In Love with the World: A Monk’s Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying
- Crash Course: If You Want To Get Away With Murder, Buy A Car
- Cleanness by Garth Greenwell
- The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler
- Parakeet by Marie-Helene Bertino
- Olive Kitteridge and Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
- Drives My Green Age by Josephine Carson
- Poetry & Grammar by Gertrude Stein