The first two months of the year have flown by and March is now upon us so I thought I’d look back at my reading progress so far this year. I’ve only read three books (although I’m part-way through several more) which means I’ve achieved 10% of my Goodreads goal of reading 30 books in 2019, which puts me one book behind schedule. I need to up my game as I now have 10 months to read the remaining 27 books.
The first book I read this year was The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher and Other Stories by Hilary Mantel. I had been unaware that Mantel wrote short stories until this collection was picked for my short stories book group so I was intrigued to see what they were like. The titular story is set in 1983, an alternative history tale where a hitman plots the demise of the then-Prime Minister. My favourite story in the collection was ‘Harley Street’ where the narrator thinks she understands the world she lives in but things aren’t quite how they seem. I also enjoyed ‘The Long QT’ and ‘Winter Break’ for the shock value they contained.
The second book I read this year was Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal, translated by Jessica Moore. Mend the Living was a compelling, if sometimes difficult, read. Set in France, it starts with Simon Limbeau, a 19-year-old boy, heading out to surf with his friends. Tragedy strikes and the book becomes the story of a heart transplant told over the space of 24 hours. The book is written first in the viewpoint of Simon, then switches to various medical staff and, the most difficult viewpoint to read, Simon’s mother. It is an absorbing look at the procedures that must be carried out during the donation process, the careful scripts the medical staff must follow, the devastation grief brings to a family and the hope that this death can bring to someone desperately awaiting an organ transplant. It’s not a light read and I definitely shed some tears but I’d recommend it.
The third book I read this year was A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young. This was a short book (64 pages) and it was written as a guide to a technique for producing advertising ideas but the technique could be applied to creating ideas for other fields. It essential boils down to: know your topic well, do your research, give yourself time for ideas to appear (while you are keeping yourself busy doing something that entertains you) then, when an idea does appear, take the time to develop it into the best version of itself you can. This book was originally published in 1965 but I think its contents still hold true and I found this to be an interesting read.
If any of these books look interesting I’ve left links below – as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.