We’re heading into my favorite reading season: deep winter. Every January I try to read one huge 800+ page novel to enjoy winter by hunkering down with a difficult book. In the past I’ve read Les Miserables, The Crimson Petal and the White, and London. All excellent books! Here are some recent reads I’ve loved, just in case you want to be like me and hibernate until spring arrives.
Ragnarok, by A.S. Byatt
A.S. Byatt has become one of my new favorite authors. This year, I read two of her books and Ragnarok is my third. It’s also the fourth book about Norse mythology I’ve read this year! Mythology is one of my favorite subjects, and this one is beautiful: it’s about a “thin child” living in the English countryside during the Blitz of World War II. Her father is fighting in Africa and the unnamed child finds solace and adventure through her book of Norse myths. Byatt also retells the myths in gorgeous detail, and draws parallels between Ragnarok and World War II. Highly recommended!
A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, by Eimear McBride
Last year, I read McBride’s second novel, and this year I went back to read her first. This book, about an adolescent woman dealing with physical and verbal abuse, rape, inner turmoil, and the death of a brother utterly destroyed me. The writing is highly unusual, all written in stream-of-consciousness and devoid of normal punctuation. Also, none of the characters have names. If you’re ready for a challenge and love to read unusual books, this is for you. But you may ugly cry by the end. You’ve been warned.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
Ahead of Blade Runner 2049, I thought I’d read the book it’s based on (as well as the original)! I first read Dick’s book The Man in the High Castle just this year, again because I wanted to watch the adaptation. I am quickly learning how much of a genius Dick is and how much his books scare the daylights out of me. This one is no different; it’s not horror or thriller or even very outlandish, but his world building and big questions about morality and humanity send shivers through my spine. Amazing book.