Well, the year is almost over. And if I sound pretty exhausted, it’s because I am – and I’m sure many of you will feel like this isn’t the most spectacular year ever. Still, though, many good, bookish things happened. This year, I’ve read sixty-two books – a record. Some I read twice, some I don’t even want to think of again. Here’s my year in books.
As usual, I mostly (if not exclusively) stuck to fiction, this year. It was a year of being bored, of being stuck inside, of hard work at school, and of broken nights. That’s why I read fiction; they provide the escape I need from my own life. I read about vampires and other scary monsters, about dystopian futures, I read about the First World War (Songbird by Sebastian Faulks and Life Class by Pat Barker), I read about dragons (The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon), about a young gay boy in poverty-stricken Glasgow (Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart), and about a screwed-up upper class family (the Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St. Aubyn – and man, they were good!). I read classical myths, I read fairy tales, science fiction, and even a fictional autobiography. I also read three Dutch novels, including an absolute classic, and even a detective novel. But my very favourite was Immortality by Milan Kundera. I still think about that one every day.
Come to think of it, books have controlled my life this year. With everything going on – or failing to go on – my books accompanied me all year long. I took them with me wherever I went; on the train, in the bookshop, to school, and even when I was working on my home (really, there’s still a bruise that hasn’t quite healed). I was curled up on the couch, watching the Queen’s funeral and Roger Federer’s farewell to tennis while the tears were rolling down my face, clutching my favourite books for comfort. Even when I didn’t have time to write, I still read a lot. What would I be without my books?
Books will be even more present next year. Even though nothing much happened, some things really have changed for the better. In January, I will do my very first real book lecture, and in February I’m performing on a literary festival (more on that later!). I have wanted to do things like this for ages, and it seems like it’s finally happening.
Come to think of it, I do believe it has been quite a good year. Let’s hope 2023 will be even better!
What is your favourite book of the year? Which book would you rather forget? Which book do you absolutely want to read next year?