I’ve challenged myself to read 60 books by the end of the year. That’s just over one a week. Work and volunteer projects and family life have all conspired to make March a slow reading month, so I’ve set myself a challenging catch up target. I have a week off over Easter and I plan to read an ambitious 7 books in that time.
So which are the lucky 7 teetering at the top of my to be read pile?
Medicine for the Dead – Tex Thompson
I did buy it with the intention of reading it over Easter. But curiosity got the better of me. So I ditched the Angela Carter fairytales anthology I was supposed to be reading for book club, dove into this and read it cover to cover in 3 days last week. But it’s so good!
I put it on my list of Books to Look Out For earlier in the year and it is so worth it. Keep an eye out here for a proper review soon.
Half Wild – Sally Green
I bought the first book in this series, Half Bad, and then it sat on a shelf for ages while I kept making up silly reasons not to read it. Of course, when I did finally sit down to read it, I loved it and so I can’t wait to see what happens in this next part. Imagine the world of Harry Potter if Umbridge ruled the Ministry of Magic and you couldn’t even trust your own family. Welcome to Nathan’s world.
Yes, this is YA. But it’s not the cosy kind where you’re off on an adventure, then back in time for tea with a chiselled-jawed boyfriend in tow.
A Darker Shade of Magic – V E Schwab
I seem to have a bit of a thing for red, white and black covers at the moment (check out my review of The Raven’s Head for possible reasoning.) I think I just like the starkness and how uncompromising they look. That’s what you get after spending your early 20s immersed in pastel-hued chick lit, I suppose.
Then there’s also the fact that the main character in this is called Kell. It was always a point of irritation for me as a child that there were never any characters with my name in the adventure books I liked. But I’ve also heard a lot about this book and want to see if the reality lives up to the hype.
The Three Body Problem – Cixin Liu
I made a bit of a resolution to myself last year that I would try to read a more diverse range of stories. I’ve also tried over the past couple of years to overcome my instinctive reluctance to read science fiction. (I struggled with an Anne McCaffrey sci fi as a teenager that completely put me off. I was expecting dragons and it was full of aliens and hive minds and space ships!)
Having seen a very interesting review of this in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, I thought it might be a good candidate for fulfilling both those aims. Besides which, I’ve been harbouring a sneaking interest in modern and future visions of China ever since I read The Incarnations last year.
The Four Marys: A Quartet of Contemporary Folk Tales – Jean Rafferty
Seriously, what I’m interested in here is that these stories look at the experience of motherhood. So many fairy tales either end at the happy ever after wedding, or dispense with the mother as soon as the child is born. I want to see how Jean Rafferty explores fundamental issues around the transition from person to parent. Things like losing your identity, finding yourself suddenly regarded as public property and the huge and unfair burden put on mothers to hold sole responsibility for how their offspring turn out.
Diving Belles – Lucy Wood
I’m spending my holidays in Cornwall, so I think this will be the perfect book to bring with me. Full of short stories drawing inspiration from the Cornish coast, I can already imagine leafing through it in the sunshine in Boscastle.
Last time I visited the town, 16 years ago, I saw a seal in the harbour. It was only a few yards out and I was surprised at how human it looked, with its big eyes staring up at me. It’s easy to see how the area has become so steeped in folklore and so I’m looking forward to seeing how those ancient tales are woven into this short story collection.
Milkweed – Jerry Spinelli
I suspect this one will be a tearjerker along the lines of The Bookthief. It’s the fictional account of a young pickpocket growing up in Nazi-occupied Warsaw, but it is based upon the true experiences of the Gypsy and Jewish populations living there at the time.
The awful suffering the Jews experienced during the Second World War are well known. But I think that less is known, at least in popular consciousness, about its effect on the Roma, Sinti and Gypsies in Nazi occupied areas. We know that the scars of the Porajmos (which translates as “the devouring”) remain in Roma, Sinti and Gypsy communities today, but I want to see if this book has the power to make the wider world more aware and understanding of it.
What’s on your TBR pile this Easter?