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So, I’m going to be honest here. I haven’t read anything on my Reading India list for months. But I have been reading. This is a quick catch up on all things bookish in my life (made more difficult because last year I noted my completed reads in my diary, and numbered them as I went; this year none of that sensible business is happening.) So here goes.

These are some books I’ve read in the last little while:

Jane’s book was not something I usually pick up, and she won’t mind me saying that I struggled with it because it was overwhelmingly dark, violent and grim, deliberately so. Jane has created a protagonist who is damaged, alone and a survivor in a bad, mad world. I found it a tough read and had to pace myself, but having said that, I never got bored with it, and was amazed at how vividly I could see the world, the landscape and the people. She has done an incredible job there. It’s an amazing debut and is best for people not easily shocked; people who like their reading hard and dark. Sam’s book I finished a few days ago. I loved it. The Windy Season is my type of book. It’s literary but the language is not OTT and dripping with metaphor. I found myself thinking about it in the evening and looking forward to getting back to it. It’s a good read and again, bloody great debut.

The Knausgaard I was really looking forward to (I may have already written about this here. If so, sorry, but I’ll be brief.) I was looking forward to reading it because I knew it was about ‘a young writer’s life’ but out of all the five books so far in the series, I found it DULL and didn’t love it.

Rebellious Daughters – I haven’t read all the stories yet – but the ones I did (and I won’t mention names cause that’s not fair, and shows my favouritism in picking and choosing) I found super readable, fascinating and varied. Oh all right. I’ll mention Lee Kofman’s essay in which she takes her mother to Sexpo. It’s worth reading if only for her mum’s funny, wry reactions.

The last book of the bunch, Sarah Drummond’s The Sound. Finished the last few pages in bed last night. Again, I paced myself with this book because it’s a dark look at the history of Maori and Australian indigenous people ‘working’ with colonial sealers in the west of Australia. I use the quotation marks because working sometimes meant enslaved, forced, used, stole, abused, violated and terrorised. The prose is beautiful, you learn history at the same time, but it’s not overloaded with it. I was entirely satisfied with the ending as well, another reason why I think I was stalling. Another brilliant book from the wild west fisherwoman.

Books I am part-way through:

I’m reading these two (well, have started City on Fire but am powering through The Sympathizer because of book club next week). I was immediately struck by the voice in The Sympathizer. It’s pretty extraordinary so I am trying to work out why, why is it so?

And then because I’ve fallen off the wagon so spectacularly, these are some other books I have lined up ready to go:

Ah, that’s better. I feel cleansed. Confession is good. Happy reading all.