It was recently suggested to me by Shahrin, one of my favourite bloggers, that I do a post about all the books I have read so far this year because there’s been a lot! In less than 3 months I’ve read 16 books. Although I’ve read more than ever in such a short space of time, I have noticed a dramatic difference in the types of books I am reading. The pandemic has left everyone in a constant state of exhaustion and I have slowly been losing my ability to concentrate for long periods of time.
When it comes to reading, my concentration has slowly seeped away. Looking at a year a go I was sinking my teeth into challenging books and wasn’t afraid of experimental writing. Things started out as usual in January where I was trying to challenge myself with different genres, only to feel drained and left craving some easy reading.
Now, anything that requires massive amounts of attention is quickly discarded. Prose and drawn out character explorations send me to sleep. If there isn’t a clear plot and obvious sequence to the story, I am lost. I put this down to screen fatigue; whilst our lives may have slowed down, we are having to concentrate more than before. Below are some of the books I have read so far this year and how they are different from my usual reading habits.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Set in a world where Trump was never President, Red, White & Royal Blue is the perfect escape from reality. Following Alex, first son of the Us and Henry, Prince of the United Kingdom as they try to hide their love from prying eyes, racists and homophobes, all whilst trying to navigate growing up under the scrutiny of the public. Romance is probably the genre I read the least, (out of the 16 books I’ve read so far this year, Red, White & Royal Blue is the only one I have read) but McQuiston offers a breath of fresh air to an otherwise saturated genre.
The Guest List by Lucey Foley
In an unexpected turn of events, I have found that who dun it thrillers are the best genre to immerse myself in at the moment. Compared with 2020 where I read 2 crime thrillers, this year I have already read 4. The Guest List has multiple narratives giving their timeline of events that lead up to a murder at a wedding on a remote Irish island. I also read Foley’s first thriller, The Hunting Party, which felt like a test for her to work out how multiple narratives can work. With The Hunting Party I guessed pretty quickly who the victim and killer were, but, with The Guest List I had no idea until the end.
The Radleys by Matt Haig
The Radleys are a family of vampires trying to live discreetly as ordinary people in a sleepy British village. You are probably thinking it’s just another Twilight; I can assure you it’s not. For a start it’s a dark comedy, and it’s nice to read a novel about vampires that isn’t taken too seriously. Haig also gets the insecurities and embarrassment of being a teenager spot on. And, the icing on the cake – there is zero gas lighting.
What I like about Haig is that all his works of fiction are completely different. The Radleys worked so well for me, especially at the moment because it’s a bit silly and fun – definitely need some of that during a global pandemic!
The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
As you may already know memoirs are one of my favourite genres, however since my concentration lapse I haven’t read that many, preferring to escape the realities of real life and immerse myself in fiction. In The Complete Persepolis, Satrapi details growing up in Tehran during the Islamic revolution through black and white comic strips. She covers hard hitting subjects which were easier to digest in the story board format, and, because of this made it an easy read.
I am currently fully immersed in The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue; a fantasy fiction about a woman who makes a deal to live forever but be forgotten by everyone she meets. That is until one day she stumbles across a man who remembers who she is…
Have you noticed your reading habits have changed over the last year? How has the pandemic affected what you read?