Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you’ve all had a great week. I know I just said in my April Wrap-up that I don’t do well with a TBR, but… here I am, making one anyway. This is all very tentative—I don’t do well with a strict TBR, but I find I’m more motivated to read if I have a set of options and a VERY loose time frame (much like my Women’s Prize reading), so I’ll try to do something similar for May and for the rest of the year.
A minor life update—my reviewing mojo is back!!! I was able to write and schedule a few posts again over the past few days. Thank you all for your encouragement last week; it really helped to know that a reviewing slump is normal. ☺️
On to the wrap-up!
Posts This Week
Books I Finished This Week
- Finally finished How We Disappeared. My review will be up next week.
- I also finished My Dark Vanessa, and I’m glad to say that it’s worth the hype! It wasn’t perfect but it was very thought-provoking. Review to come.
Books I’m Currently Reading
- Still reading The Body Is Not an Apology. This might be on my Currently Reading shelf for awhile; I find it’s one of those reads I have to dip in and out of.
- As I’ve mentioned in my April Wrap-up, I’ll be reading a short story a day from O’Connor’s Complete Stories. Discussions will be hosted by Melanie @ Grab The Lapels. I’m on track so far, and I look forward to the discussions because weirdly enough, short stories are more difficult for me to digest than novels.
May TBR: API-Inspired Reading
Based on some posts I’ve been seeing here and on bookstagram, I gather that May is Asian Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month in the U.S. While I won’t be joining any of the official reading challenges, I figured I could put together my own API-inspired TBR based on the books by Asian authors that I’ve been meaning to read. Again, these are all just options; I don’t think I’ll be able to read all of them, and I’ll be happy if I can finish one or two of them.
- Edinburgh (2001) by Alexander Chee
- Stories of Your Life and Others (2002) by Ted Chiang
- A Little Life (2015) by Hanya Yanagihara
- In the Country (2015) by Mia Alvar
- Little Fires Everywhere (2017) by Celeste Ng
- On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (2019) by Ocean Vuong
Women’s Prize Reading
Status of My Women’s Prize 2020 Longlist Reading
My reading for the official list has been stalled indefinitely. I can’t seem to find physical copies of A Thousand Ships or Hamnet anywhere, and they’re not yet available on either Nook or Kindle, so I don’t think I can read them in time for the announcement. SAD! As for Actress and Nightingale Point, I might end up purchasing e-books instead.
The #ReadingWomen Challenge
Timeline: May to September 2020
This year marks the 25th year of the Women’s Prize, and to celebrate it, the committee created the #ReadingWomen challenge, wherein readers are encouraged to revisit the 24 titles that have won the prize in the past. Readers also get a chance to vote for a Winner of Winners in autumn. I wasn’t planning on joining the challenge, but I looked at the list again recently (I was bored lol) and realized that I already have a couple of the books lying around, and that there are a number of authors here that I’ve been meaning to read, so… might as well!
After I put everything together, there were a total of 11 books on my tentative TBR. I also decided to put in the very first winner, A Spell of Winner by Helen Dunmore, to bring it up to 12 (for the very arbitrary reason that 12 is my favourite number).
- 2018 Winner: Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
- 2017 Winner: The Power by Naomi Alderman
- 2016 Winner: The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
- 2015 Winner: How to be both by Ali Smith
- 2014 Winner: A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
- 2013 Winner: May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes
- 2011 Winner: The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht
- 2007 Winner: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- 2006 Winner: On Beauty by Zadie Smith
- 2005 Winner: We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
- 2002 Winner: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
- 1996 Winner: A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore
I’m fairly excited about this list. If all goes well I might be able to read all of these by autumn (we don’t have autumn here but I’m guessing that’s around September??) and maybe even revisit An American Marriage and The Song of Achilles, which I’d already read some time ago.
Every year, I’ve been meaning to chip away at my classics stack, but I always find myself putting them off for shinier recent releases. However, I’ve finally figured out a sufficiently motivating workaround: I’ll read through the major works (primarily novels) of just ONE classics author per year. I think this is manageable, since each author will rarely have more than ten major novels (and let’s be honest, I probably won’t pick someone with more than that). Plus, it’ll be interesting to track the themes and changes in style of each author throughout his or her body of work.
For now, I won’t be so strict with the definition of classics. I’m going by “I’ll know it when I see it,” meaning authors like Austen, Wharton, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, etc. Since I’m doing this for fun (mostly), I will likely not do authors like Joyce or Woolf, whose works I find impenetrable. But we’ll see.
This year, I’ll be reading Thomas Hardy’s major novels, for the sole reason that I already have three physical copies of his novels at home. I’ll be reading them by chronological order, or from least depressing to most depressing:
- Far from the Madding Crowd (1874)
- The Return of the Native (1878)
- The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886)
- Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891)
- Jude the Obscure (1895)
I hope to read all these books by November, and possibly post a wrap-up by December.
That’s it for my reading plans! I know I’m being ambitious, but oh well, blame it on the quarantine. Are you any good at keeping a TBR stack, or are you pretty much a mood reader? Let me know in the comments!