wrap up: Quarter 1, 2021

In an effort to get my blogging rhythm back, I opted to forgo monthly wrap ups this year; once a month frankly comes around far too frequently for my liking and they feel a bit redundant when I review most books I read anyway.

But I don’t actually review every single book I read and I didn’t want the few I don’t review to slip through the cracks entirely, so I’ve decided to try quarterly wrap ups and see how this works for me. I also thought I’d group this thematically to try to make sense of some patterns in my reading habits rather than just giving you a chronological list.

So, let’s talk through everything I’ve read so far this year.

I’m reading through the complete works of Jane Austen with a book club and so far I’ve read these three: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Northanger Abbey (a reread for me). While I’m not as enthused with Austen as I had hoped I would be, at least not yet, I’m glad I’m doing this and I’m particularly looking forward to diving into her later works. Mansfield Park is up next for April, and I’m hoping to review Northanger Abbey soon and talk about how I had quite a different reaction to it the second time around.

Shakespeare has been occupying considerably less of my time in 2021 than it did in 2020, which is to say… still quite a bit of my time.

The only two plays I’ve reread in their entireties this year outside Project Shakespeare have been Hamlet and Julius Caesar, to prepare for playing Claudius and Cassius respectively. Still two of my top 5 Shakespeare plays, I adore them both.

I’m also making it a project to read every retelling of King Lear that I can get my hands on. I’ve already read The Queens of Innis Lear (meh), A Thousand Acres (brilliant), and the anthology That Way Madness Lies (the Lear story was horrendous but the collection on the whole was inoffensive). I’m currently reading Preti Taneja’s We That Are Young, though I’m not very far into that one yet. Hoping to finish it by the end of April though.

I’ve read three books for BookBrowse so far this year: Dark Horses, The Project, and Edie Richter is Not Alone. I haven’t reviewed this third one yet, but it’s my favorite thing I’ve read so far this year, so stay tuned for that.

After adamantly stating that I will NOT be reading the Women’s Prize longlist this year, I have proceeded to… spend the last few weeks reading the Women’s Prize longlist. Though in my defense, this list is kind of a banger, and I’ve given 5 stars to all three books I’ve read since it was announced: Transcendent Kingdom, Piranesi, and Consent. I’ll review Piranesi soon.

My ARC situation is, as always, utterly out of control, but these are the ones I’ve managed to read so far this year: Open Water (adored!), Filthy Animals (liked, with reservations), The Art of Falling (mixed feelings), Milk Fed (LOVED and also wanted to throttle it), and Kink (not worth your time aside from Brandon Taylor and Carmen Maria Machado’s stories).

And here’s everything else: The Fire Next Time (obviously brilliant), Pages & Co: The Lost Fairy Tales (so sweet, so wholesome; I’ll review the whole series when I’ve read the third one), Real Life (perfection), Big Girl Small Town (underwhelming), Edward II (literally the gayest shit I’ve ever read–adored it), and Are You Somebody? (very by-the-book Irish memoir, lovely audiobook).

I have two reading regrets so far this year: that I haven’t read a single translated book and that I didn’t do more for Reading Ireland Month. So Irish lit and translated lit are both going to get a bit more attention from me in quarter 2, I’m hoping. Otherwise, I’m feeling pretty good about how I’ve managed to balance all my disparate reading interests.

11 thoughts on “wrap up: Quarter 1, 2021

  1. Intrigued by Edie Richter is Not Alone!

    I’ve been having a surprisingly good time with the WP longlist so far, although to be fair I’m only reading the books I really thought I’d like, and there were around 6-7 that I liked from last year’s longlist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I keep putting off my Edie Richter review because it’s going to be so challenging to write but it’s due Tuesday so I should really get on that! All will be revealed soon re: that book’s brilliance…

      God I HATED last year’s longlist, I didn’t make it through the whole thing but I only had one 5-star book (Hamlet, luckily). There were a few others I thought were decent but this year’s list is blowing last year’s out of the water for me. But yes, same, I’m only reaching for the ones I think I’ll like, unlike last year, which is definitely skewing my perception.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Last year, I thought The Mirror and the Light and Girl, Woman, Other were both absolutely brilliant, and about five others were good to very good. So on present form, yes, I guess this year’s list is doing a little bit better with me as well? (Assuming that I wouldn’t completely hate every single book I’ve decided not to read.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ohhhh that’s right, the Mantel was last year! I still haven’t read that trilogy but am really looking forward to it. I did really enjoy GWO, it wasn’t quite 5 stars for me but it was definitely my second favorite.

        I’m still planning to read a handful of others off this year’s list so here’s hoping they don’t let me down!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “once a month frankly comes around far too frequently for my liking” I really did lol at this. I think exactly this every time I pay rent and credit cards. Thank you for putting that into words!!!

    I was mildly curious about Kink but it’s gonna be a hard no from me if that’s what you thought of it. Thanks for the saved time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • RIGHT?! I have enough shit to do at the end of the month, wrap ups were just another thing that added to the nonsense.

      Ugh yeah Kink really isn’t worth your time on the whole. I’d HIGHLY recommend Brandon Taylor and Carmen Maria Machado’s stories from it, but I think you can read them both elsewhere? The rest are like… every single story was about BDSM and it wore SO thin after a while (like… there are other kinks?!?) and none of the other stories were memorable or remarkable at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh that’s so weird that it’s only about BDSM. For some reason I have immediate aversion to reading people’s memoir stories about that (nothing against the acts themselves, you do you with other adult consenters, it’s just something about the inevitable HIGH DRAMA and lots of metaphors around pain and pleasure and just blergh. No thanks. So glad to have read this here first!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • YES that’s exactly it, BDSM writing does love to bash us over the head with metaphors about Pain and Desire and the writing itself is always weirdly clinical and uncomfortable to read? Agreed, nothing against the act itself, just not my favorite thing to read (especially 15 or however many stories about it in quick succession).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Even just the word “desire” is a kind of warning to me in these kind of stories…like this could get very annoying very quickly, beware. I can’t even imagine 15 of them at once. Much respect that you made it through this!

        Liked by 1 person

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