I know this page should be called ‘Books’ not ‘Fiction’ but it’s too late now because of page tagging and indexing and other bits and pieces I know little about. I started to include cookbooks and other non fiction books in my count as otherwise I’d get nowhere near my annual aim of fifty-two. If you want someone else to care about these things for you contact my husband, Ben. He creates websites for a lot of very cool artists and makers and one journalist.
I completed the Faber Academy’s Writing A Novel course in Richard Skinner’s class of 2017/8 and am working on my debut.
In 2018 I decided to read fifty-two books. But only books by women, to redress the balance of voices in my brain. Kamila Shamsie, the 2018 Women’s Prize winner, had suggested publishers have a year of only publishing women, which inspired me to do this.
I began to post mini 10-minute reviews here at some point in 2018, a practice which ending up causing me quite a lot of wasted time and stress. Often I’d sit and worry about being so behind with my reviews that I wouldn’t read anything or do any actual work.
In 2019, I thought I would give myself a break, but I missed the memory of a book, the reminder of why I loved it or finished it or was fine with it but unlikely to recommend. Without these post-it notes to myself, I’ll forget forever that I read the book. They are post-its, not full or decent reviews, as I write them very quickly. Don’t treat them as reviews, perhaps, more windows into me when I was reading them. Incomplete and unsatisfying, but I’d rather this than nothing.
I survived the reading challenge of 2018, I explain how here, and am now reading books by non-women as well. I also looked through my numbers of non-white writers, currently (May 2020) 23 out of 121 or 28% - not awful but not great either. I haven’t to my knowledge read any books by trans or non binary writers this year.
2021: I found this a disappointing reading year overall. The reality of life with covid was more painful than the numbness and chaos of 2020. Officially I read 45 books. 30 by white women. Eight by white men, five of these cookbooks and one non fiction, one short stories - so in fact only one actual novel, by a gay Scot. One Kazuo Ishiguro. Five women of colour. One trans woman.