With a quarter of the year done I thought it was time for a check-in on my Reading Challenges for 2022. I’ve kept up a steady, although not rapid, rate of reading so far this year and whilst not every book I’ve read has met one of my Challenge categories plenty of them have! Today I thought I’d share some of my favourite reads so far for 2022 and also reflect on which reading challenges I’m yet to meet. I’d love to hear some recommendations for those categories too!
Let’s start with the Reading Challenges I’m yet to tick off – I’m yet to read a book published this year, which is probably not that surprising given how early in the year it is! I’m also yet to read a book from a first nations author, nor one I have picked purely for its cover. And while I’ve read lots of books that have talked about the seasons or the weather, I’m yet to read anything that has really been tied to individual seasons. So, they are the categories I will need to focus on for the next few months! On to the books I have read!
The Dry – Jane Harper
I may well have been the last person in Australia to read this book, but I am very glad I eventually did! Not only did this tick off the Australia Woman Author category on my Reading Challenge checklist, but most importantly it absolutely lived up to the hype. A real page turner full of interesting characters – churned through this in no time. And yes, I now definitely intend on watching the film!
The Survivors – Jane Harper
I decided it only made sense to keep reading Jane Harper novels and moved swiftly on to this one. It was another book that I found hard to put down and was gripped by the unfolding mystery, even if it was a little slow building to begin with. If I had to pick between the two I’d probably go with The Dry as my favourite, but it’s a high bar to pass that’s for sure!
The Road – Cormac McCarthy
After my success with slowly working through the Classics last year I was keen to keep the momentum up early in 2022. The Road was one of the first I ticked off my Reading Challenge checklist and whilst it’s certainly not the most uplifting of reads, it sure was excellent. It’s slow and bleak but somehow also captivating, and reminds us of the importance of connection. This book also ticks off my Award Winner category – the Pulitzer Prize among many others!
Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut Jnr
Another classic ticked off the list! I could tell pretty quickly why this is counted as a must-read, it manages to cover a huge range of topics, styles and timespans without every feeling confused or disconnected. An incredibly interesting read, and one I am very glad I have now read. A book that I feel like I will get more and more from if I was to re-read it as well, and I’m not usually a big re-reader of books!
Rules of Civility – Amor Towles
After reading two of Amor Towles books last year (with the Gentleman in Moscow one of my favourite reads) I decided to go back and pick up his debut novel. Set in New York, I certainly felt transported to the city in the 30s and 40s through the intricate descriptions of both the setting and the characters. It was another beautifully written book and I found myself wanting to just keep reading to see what would happen next.
The Strays – Emily Bitto
It’s hard to believe this was a debut novel, but not hard to believe it won the Stella Prize! I really loved this book, the characters, the setting, the descriptive style, it was all right up my alley. It was so fully fleshed out that it felt like it was a true story of the Melbourne art scene at the time, and it definitely didn’t hurt my enjoyment that I could picture a lot of the locations! One of my favourite reads so far for 2022 (and it ticked off three categories in one go!)
Wild Abandon – Emily Bitto
Much like with Jane Harper, after reading one Emily Bitto book I decided I should just commit and read a second! This was a very different style, but no less excellent. The combination of the hedonistic first part of the story in New York to the unconventional adventures in middle America, it certainly takes you for a ride. I probably enjoyed the second half more than the first, but it did help give a broader picture of Will, the protagonist of the story. I didn’t love this as much as The Strays, but I definitely enjoyed it!
Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
Another Classic, and also set in a city I haven’t yet visited – this ticked a few boxes straight off the bat! I didn’t love this as much as In Cold Blood, but it was definitely an enjoyable read about some interesting, and well outlined characters. The addition of three more short stories was a nice bonus, and I quite enjoyed all of them as well!
Nowhere Child – Christian White
This was another one I found hard to believe was a debut novel! It was gripping, with lots of twists and turns throughout but all built around interesting, well drawn characters. I read this in almost record time (mostly by the pool at my folks place which was delightful!) because I just couldn’t put it down. I’ll be picking up more of his books, that’s for sure!