It’s well known that the best writers are notoriously shite readers. You spend too much time immersed in words for your day-to-day, that you spend very little time sinking into a good book when you clock off for the evening, and there’s no way you’re making it through your list of books to read in 2022. Last year I was determined to change that, when I committed to reading a book a fortnight. By some stroke of good luck and hyperfixating, I managed to make it. And I learned a few things along the way too.

This year as I dive deeper into my writing work, I thought it would make sense to read some more. So I decided to give myself two weeks grace and commit to 50 books for 2022. I’ve used summer thus far to get a good head-start for my year’s reading list, and it turns out people were actually kind of curious to hear my thoughts on the reads. So I thought I would share them with you (or rather my ramblings from goodreads), and hopefully inspire some more page turning, when you get the chance.

1. 1984 by George Orwell

“The best books, he perceived, are those that tell you what you know already.” p. 202. A poignant outtake for today’s readers.

Slow start, but everything was slower in the 50s. It felt oddly prophetic to read in times like these, but perhaps it’s fair to say that the book influenced our current reality more than our current reality influencing the records of history. But isn’t that the essence of the book? I’m conflicted in my beliefs about the world right now. Should have read the book when I first started it 5 years ago.

2. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

So just when I thought my big sexy crush on Matthew McConaughey couldn’t get any bigger, he whispers these sweet nothings into my ear. I’m a fan of autobiographies that are told differently, and this feels like the kind of pillow talk you have at 1am when it’s dark and safe and there’s nothing to talk about but up until this moment.

Don’t let me get you wrong, it’s raw and it’s loud and it starts out unnecessarily traumatic, but when you can hear an entire book in the author’s voice (no matter how iconic that voice may be), there’s something to be praised in it.

I’ve always imagined that when I get around to starting my book it’ll look something like this. Poetry, lists, chaotic notes that give you hope.

This is the kind of read that makes you want to keep livin.

3. Tell Me Lies by J. P. Pomare

There’s something so delicious about a book that you can just gobble up. So one night, before dinner, I sat there and did exactly that. It’s an easy, thrilling read that held me captive while mum prepared an Ottolenghi from scratch (blue cheese no less).

While I’ve never really ever read a thriller, apart from Gone Girl because everyone did, I have to say this book made me a little toey for more. I would give it more than three stars but the twist, despite thrilling, was a little obvious and the actual writing itself felt somewhat uninspired. But who am I to judge?

4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Oh my.

I’ve never read an entire book waiting so desperately just to see one line immortalised in print, but I sadly discovered that Kate Bush created the iconic line on her lonesome.

I tried so desperately to love Heathcliff, but as time went on you couldn’t help but hate him even more. I also absolutely adore the way they write in old literature, taking 50 pages to explain a pointless conversation, but killing a main character off in a sentence only 100 pages in. Once you shift yourself back into that reading mindset, it’s just wonderful.

I see why Sandra Bullock reads it every Christmas. Maybe I will too.

5. When In Rome by Nicky Pellegrino

There’s something quite divine about a book that promises to be an easy, summer read and nothing more. And that’s exactly what this book was for me. An easy page turner and nothing more.

Nothing gripping, but it makes you feel good just like a long day in the sun would. It did little to fill the Naples-sized hole Elena Ferrante left in my heart, but I loved reading the literature that looked back on this era all the same.

I probably wouldn’t reach for more from this author, because I’m hungry for reads that challenge me, but it was a breath of fresh air all the same.

6. My Body by Emily Ratajkowski

Oh boy, here we go. What I really liked about Emily’s debut isn’t that it confirms what you already know to be true of the world, or that it has a pleasing cover for summer reading snaps. It’s that it reads like memoir.

She’s been extremely clever in her writing, to take two of my favourite non-fiction forms and weave them together in a collection of essays that appear as autobiographical. Too often essay collections are clunky, mismatched and feel like exactly that – a collection. My Body is a series of arguments and revelations about life, that pull from Emily’s life as she knows it. It’s insightful, maddening and a breath of fresh air to watch a woman take back the ownership of her body.

I’ve heard there are mixed reviews, but I honestly could not fault it. An absolute must read for all.

7. Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

Christ on a bike, this was a challenging read but so worth it and exactly what I needed. Many of the books I have read so far this year have played into that theme of finding comfort in reading what you already know, but Jia’s essay collection takes it further. It challenges you, not in a way that conflicts with your beliefs for the most parts, but just inspires you to look deeper in ways you might not have before.

She is a wonderful essayist, and the book is very true to form. You almost need to stop and reflect for a day, or at least a few hours, after each piece, but it makes it all the more worth it.

And those delightful reads should keep you busy for the next few weeks, I’m already burning through the next lot to share.


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