Books read in 2019

I’m keeping a list of the books I read this  year.

There’s no definitive reading goal, other than to keep reading.  Some months, and January looks as if it will be one of them, I might average a book a week. But I also know from experience, there will be months when I’ll be lucky to read one complete book. My life, and my reading life in particular, is like that.

It’s likely that on the list you’ll see a fair smattering of recent publications from fiction, translated works, travelogues and the occasional classic. I usually read or reread one of the truly greats each year.  I enjoy the occasional biography, the occasional investigative non-fiction. But I don’t expect they’ll feature that often. And you probably won’t see much  “chick lit” on this list—it doesn’t engage me in the  way it once did.

The list works like this:

  • Titles are grouped by the month in which I complete them
  • Titles appear in the order in which I read them
  • If I’ve posted a review there’ll be a link to that
  • Where I can, I include information about how the book came to my attention.

January 2019

A Change of Key by Adrienne Jansen (Library copy)

I’m a fan of Adrienne Jansen’s writing. I’ve read nearly all her novels and I’m on the email list for Escalator Press, the small publsihing house run by Whitireia, which published this book.

All This by Chance by Vincent O’Sullivan (Library Copy)

Vincent O’Sullivan is a well-known New Zealand writer but this is the first of his books I’ve read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton (Library Copy)

Tim Winton is a longstanding favourite of mine. Jaxie, the narrator, bursts on to the page, gripping me from the get go.

The Path of The Tiger by Sila Khoamchai (own copy)

My first reread of the year, and my first work in translation for 2019. This book is a classic. It rewards careful reading.

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich (Library copy)

This is a book that will break your heart, and then somehow help you put it back together again.  Outstanding debut from a writer  whose career I’ll be following.

February 2019

two old men dying by Tom Keneally (Library copy)

Not a favourite, nevertheless it grapples with some interesting ideas

The Baghdad Clock by Shahad Al Rawi (Library Copy)

This a gem of a book, which I learned about from Claire over on Word By Word.

Opening sentence: A cow came into her dream.

The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke by Tina Makereti (Library Copy)

Longlisted for the 2019 Ockham New Zealand book awards, and that’s where I first came across this book.

Opening sentence: Listen, miracle of the future.

March 2019

Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Library copy)

Opening sentence: There was a knock.

The Man Who Would Not See by Rajorshi Chakraborti (Library Copy)

Longlisted for the 2019 Ockham New Zealand book awards

Opening Sentence: My brother and I are with our dad at Howrah station to meet our grandmother off the train, but have learnt upon getting here that it’s running two hours late.

This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman (Library Copy)

Winner of NZBooklovers best New Zealand fiction award 2019
Shortlisted for the Ockham Book Awards 2019

Opening sentence: October 1955. If Albert Black sings to himself he can almost see himself back home in Belfast, the place where he came from.(p7).