One of my resolutions for years has been to ‘read more’. It took until 2017 to realise that I don’t need to read more, I just need to read steadier. I go through serious peaks and troughs with my reading, devouring a book or a series and then becoming stuck in that world and unable to move on. So instead of ‘having a break’ after a book I’ve loved, I am going to dive straight in to the next. And if I find a book uninspiring, I’m going to move straight onto a new one without ‘taking time to make sure the next one is perfect’. Reading’s like exercise – there’s no use just thinking about it, you’ve got to do it or the habit will die, and you’ll get none of the benefits.
My main problem is not knowing what to move onto after finishing a book, so I’m staying a few steps ahead and creating a reading list that’s got variety to keep me going. I always find trying to find a new book when you’ve just finished one is like shopping for food when you are hungry. You get frustrated and angry and end up buying nothing that you actually want, or stuffing your face with Pick ‘n mix.
On my list I’ve tried to mix up crime, general fiction and non-fiction. I really need to work on other genres outside of crime, but I’m also a fan of reading what you like and not what you should. So here is my list:
1. Friday Night Lights by HG Bissinger (already started in January but it was in the last week so…it counts)
A journalist spends a year in a small, Texan town whose whole life revolves around high school football.
2. The Dry by Jane Harper
A man comes back to his hometown in rural Australia during a heatwave for the funeral of his old friend, who killed his family before shooting himself. But did Luke Handler really do it?
3. This is Not a Diet Book by Bee Wilson
I loved Bee Wilson’s First Bite, about our relationships with food (like why some people crave sweetness and others bitterness, how humans learn about food, why and how we create eating habits) in the most non-condescending, clear-speaking way possible. This one is a dinky little pocket book and I am hoping This is Not a Diet Book is more of her distilled wisdom.
4. Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
A woman’s been presumed missing, drowned, for 12 years. Then there’s a possible sighting and her children come home to entangle exactly what happened to her, including the letters their father wrote to their mother for years about their marriage.
5. Ratking (Aurelio Zen) by Michael Dibdin
Italian detective drama in Perugia. Rufus Sewell played Aurelio Zen in the BBC series adapted from Michael Dibdin’s books, that was stupidly dropped years ago.
Stretch goal – in case I do better than I think or ditch a book
1. A Voice in the Night – Inspector Montalbano, Andrea Camilleri
My favourite Italian detective, in fact probably my favourite detective. He loves his food, lives in a small house on the beach, and has been tangling with the illegal elements of Sicily all of his career. This is the latest in the series. Also, there is a great TV series (Montalbano and Young Montalbano both shown on BBC over here in UK) based off the books.
2. The Land Where Lemons Grow, Helena Attlee
I seem to have an Italian theme in this list. But this ticks all my boxes; it’s about Italy and it’s about food. Lemons are beautiful, tasty, and I still find it a novelty that my parents have a tree of them at home for martinis and cooking.