I don't think I shared 2011's new years resolution, and maybe that's why I've kept it. The resolution was 'Less smartphone, more books' (very much a variation on 2009's resolution). So I didn't renew the contract on my smartphone and devoted my time to reading more (I do still have a phone, but it's super retro). I realise that I didn't need to make any sacrifice to acheive my goal, but I have very litle self control.
I'm super proud of this effort, because it's the most I've read in a year since I was at university. I got to reread books that I'd been missing (Lord of the Flies, The Leopard, Confederacy of Dunces) and make a dent in my 'to read' pile that's been building up since 2009. My topline highlights and disappointments:
- You may have noticed a selection of Trinidad and Tobago themed books in that pile, which I devoured in and around the two weeks I spend out there in March. I probably loved the Dragon Can't Dance more because I read it over carnival, but I would thoroughly recommend. Probably my favourite new read of the year.
- I'd never read Margaret Atwood before (thanks to Ngaio for recommending), but really enjoyed the Blind Assassin, and will probably read more.
- Freedom - Good, but I'm with Lynz on this one, not as good as The Corrections. The politicism was too overt, and what happens in the end in neon lights from about midway (but without really caring about the how)
- Both Santa Evita and The Way to Paradise are fictional accounts of real people, Evita and Paul Gaugin respectively, and interestingly both had the same pace. Most great books have you racing towards the end with a desperate need to know the resolution/ending, but these were books that you could probably give up on (Santa Evita more).
- Hegarty on Advertising was alright - I don't know if it's because I've heard most of the stories because I work at BBH, but it didn't have the reveals and stories of Ogilvy's book (loved the layout though and also spotted a couple of typos). Also, in true BBH style it's all about success, whereas I would love to know how Hegarty learned from his mistakes - there is obviously the possibility that he never made any ;)
- While I respect the way that Mark Haddon tells the story, I just couldn't get into the writing style of the Curious Incident of Dog in the Night-Time.
- As was the case with Sea Otters Gambolling in the Wild, Wild Surf, just not my sort of book (sorry Mark, I didn't enjoy it very much). Actually if despite my opinion you would like to read it then please shout and I'll send it over to you. Actually that goes for Black Rock too, as although it was an enjoyable enough read (quite harrowing actually), it's also never going to get a second reading.
Grossman's Life and Fate in the post. Vanity Fair on the bedside table. Rejoicing in wonderful, wonderful words.