Yesterday was Haruki Murakami and I’ve seen plenty of people on Instagram picking up his books this month. I decided that I wanted to pick something up and decided to finally get round to this short collection. I’m not as well-versed in Murakami’s short stories as I’d like to be. It’s not about their quality but more about my attention span for short stories. I typically need a longer narrative to keep me going or I just lose my pace. I have lost count of how many anthologies I own but have never read more than one story. So, I was determined to keep to my “read more books from my shelves” resolution and finish this one.
On Saturday, I set out a list of reading resolutions for the year. As usual, one of the majors ones was to buy fewer books. This is something I try and fail to keep every year. The publishing industry just can’t stop bringing out more fantastic books. However, I do intend to do better this year because I’m painfully aware that I have something of storage problem. In order to stop myself from buying new books, I have set myself a second resolution of actually reading the books on my shelves. I have that classic bookish problem of having owned books for years. This is especially true of my Kindle. I tend to buy cheap ebooks on a whim and then forget about them. According to Amazon, I bought Jonathan Unleashed in December 2016. That means I’ve owned it for 4 years. It feels as though it was time to finally give it a chance.
What have you been reading this week?
A lot has happened in the first week of 2021. I blame all of those people who proclaimed that 2021 would be better than 2020. Of course, it was going to try to prove them wrong. Although, I guess the coronavirus, Brexit and white supremacists had quite a bit to do with the drama as well. We might as well accept that we’re not really going to be back to normal for about 10 years so we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. At the very least, we’ll be pleasantly surprised if it doesn’t take that long. Rather than focusing on the awful news stories we’ve been seeing, I’m going to see the opportunity to read more great books. It’s been a slow start but I can can sense it’s going to get better.
I wasn’t going to bother setting any resolutions this year, reading or otherwise. I think it tends to put too much pressure on and you end up feeling worse if you don’t do as well as expected. I’ve tried doing the normal ones but it never last more than a couple of weeks. So, I just tend to tell myself that I’ll just try and be happier, kinder and healthier. That’s the kind of goal I can work with. I also don’t even really set reading ones. I’ve only been setting myself a yearly reading goal since 2018. Again, I just don’t like the added pressure. I always worried that I would end up reading books simply to cross another number off. However, I found that it has helped me read more, so it’s a tradition that I’ve kept up. Even though I tend to keep my target fairly modest.
Yesterday, I posted my review of Nick Hornby’s novel A Long Way Down. As it was the first book that I finished this year, it only felt right that I also watch the film adaptation for today’s post. The fact that it also stars Pierce Brosnan was just a wonderful benefit. Although, I’m always up for watching Bronhom is anything and there’s a brief scene of him dancing in this one. Yep, even after the first Mamma Mia! film he still thought it was perfectly acceptable for him to dance on screen. Say what you will about his acting but, boy, does he have a great of confidence for a man born without rhythm. I must say that I’m incredibly jealous. I’m also a terrible dancer despite all my best efforts. I wish I was able to give as few fucks does about what I look like on the dance floor and just went for it.
I admit that it took me longer to read my first book of 2021 than I’d have imagined. I started on January 1st and have only just finished today. I’m just experiencing that classic January reading slump. I could have spent last weekend reading but I just couldn’t focus. It doesn’t help that I’m pretty tired now I’m starting back in the old work routine but it should help me get better at reading. It got so bad this week that I was worried I wouldn’t even finish the book in time. So, I turned to the audiobook version to finish the last two thirds. It turned out to be a bad idea because I really didn’t get on board with one of the narrators. She just didn’t sound like I imagined the character would. In fact, very few of the voices seemed to fit their characters. It was a real shame and made it harder to engage with the story.
Pixar films have been a bit dangerous in the last few years. By which I mean, they have been steadily getting more and more existential and they make me sad. Inside Out is one of the best discussions about mental health that I’ve ever seen. Coco explored the concept of death in such a moving and human way. These are the kind of films that I wish had been around when I was a kid. Maybe I’d have grown up to be a slightly more well-adjusted adult. Not much obviously. Pixar are great but they can’t perform fucking miracles! Considering the studio has something of a habit of making me cry, I was especially concerned about their latest film but I also knew that I couldn’t miss it. Even the poster was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen. How could I not watch the whole thing?
I finished Twleve Nights about 2/3 days before the end of 2020 so I had a bit of a conundrum about what to pick next. I wanted something that I could definitely finish in time because I hate the idea of carrying a book over. I feel like a failure and I don’t like that it skews my final count. I picked this one up even though it’s the longest book I’ve read for ages because I was being cocky. Of course, when it got to the morning of the 31st, I still have about 200 pages to go. Considering we were babysitting my niece during the day, it didn’t leave me with a great deal of time to read either. So, as soon as she left, I retreated to my room and didn’t come out until I’d finished. As it turned out, I finished it in about 2 hours, which goes to show how much more I could achieve if I just took the time to read properly. Anyway, I did what I wanted and got it finished. But was it the best book to choose as my final book of the year?
What have you been reading this week?
2020 is finally over and we can start looking to the future. Of course, things are going to magically get better over night but we can all hopefully see our friends and family a bit more this year. If we do, I am certain that my yearly reading count will go down but I’m hoping that I can keep the momentum going for now. I was almost always getting through 2 books a week last year and I hope to be able to do that consistently this year. Maybe even every week, though I do doubt my skills.
That’s it. 2020 is over and we’re staring a new year. It feels good that it’s all behind us but I can’t pretend that 2021 is magically going to be better. After all, the virus is still raging and it’ll be a while before the vaccine is really rolled out. Then there’s Brexit which has the potential to fuck everything up. It might cause problems for food and shopping. There’s also the chance it will create issues with the vaccine. So, who knows where we’ll be this time next year. I’m hoping that the Leave voters were right and we’ll be fine. However, I can’t see it being that rosy. Anyway, enough about the future. We’re hear to look back. I’ve already posted my 2020 review post but I still wanted to breakdown the books I read in December.
Number of books read: 10
Number of rereads: 1
Number of physical books: 10
Number of ebooks: 0
Number of audiobooks: 0