Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests








Sunday, January 2, 2022

The Reading Life Review - 2021- Part Two- Best Books of The Year. My hopes for 2022- with some Pandemic Reading Suggestions


 The Reading Life Review - 2021- Part Two- Best Books of The Year. My hopes for 2022- with some Pandemic Reading Suggestions


The Best of 2021



This year I read two classic novels that helped lift me out of the Pandemic Blues brought on my 22 months of lockdown in Metro Manila with no end in sight, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulakov.  Just experiencing magnificience of these works of art lifted  my sprits.  I would now place  Tenderness by Alison MacLeod in this category.  Just preceiving the presistence that went into this book is proof the Pandemic will not beat us.


Just a bit below this I found The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson.


The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson - A Novel - 2003 - 410 Pages traces the lives of three very different women sharing the bonds of a heritage of enslavement.



“How do I know anything? How is it that my arms stretched out in front of me are so pale? How to I even know that they should be brown like riverbank mud, as they were when I was many goddesses with many worshippers, ruling in lands on the other side of a great, salty ocean? I used to be many, but now we are one, all squeezed together, many necks in one coffle. ” 

 Nalo Hopkinson, The Salt Roads


Pandemic Reads 



Please share with us your anti-Pandemic Blues suggestions


1. The Last Book Store in London by Madeline Martin -  set in London during WW Two. The horror and terror of the blitz gets worse and worse but the English are not beaten down.  I found this book very moving and uplifting.  If London can survive the Blitz, we can survive the pandemic.  I loved the close of the book.


2. Mrs Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson -This a wonderful book if you feel your spirits diminished by The Pandemic Blues. Mrs Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a delightful story of an amazing day in the Life of a quite ordinary seeming woman that ends   in a that manner you cannot help but love.   Guinevere Pettigrew, 40, childless, never married or been even kissed has just lost her job as a governess.  Behind in her rent, her landlord tells her to find a job today or move out. She knows she is not really a decent governess, being not overly fond of children but it is all she knows. She finds an opening at an agency by accident and goes to apply.  This leads to the most exciting day of her life.  The story is set over one day in 1938

3. The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson -2021-331 

Pages -I totally loved The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson.  I think anyone with a deep passion for reading will totally identify with June Jones, the lead character.  It helped me at least for a while stave of the pandemic blues  brought on by 660 days of lockdown in Metro Manila.

4. Loving Modigliani - The Afterlife of Jeannee H- A novel by Linda Lappin - 2020 - sometimes we want to be deeply taken into an alternative to these Pandemic dominated times.  Loving Modigliani - The Afterlife of Jean Hebut√©rne takes us into another Paris, where The pandemic now ranges.  Jean falls to her death from a window in the apartment she shares with Modigliani at age 21.  We follow Jean after death as she wanders through Paris.  This was just too exquiste a trip for me to describe.  I loved her cat companion and spirit guide, also dead, who helped Jean figure out where she now was.  She spends about 25 years in Paris.  It turns out there  are all sorts of rules the dead must follow. She comes to see the impact of German rule on Jews in Paris. This is literature at a very high leval.







My plans and hopes for 2022


Like everyone, I hope to see the Pandemic end.


Looking forward to the first three months of 2023 I will for sure once again participate, for the 12th year, in the Japanese Literature Challenge.


Withering Expectations is inviting people to join in on his year long read of all 43 of the Greek Dramas.  I will, I think, partially join in.


I will probably once again join the Aussie Author Challenge 


In March I will once again devote The Reading Life to Irish Short Stories 


I have recently acquired, in translations by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, War and Peace and The Brothers Karamazov. I am going to try to work them into my first quarter.


I offer my thanks to Max u for his kind provision of Amazon gift cards


To Lyn u, I owe my thanks for enduring me dealing with 22 months staying inside but to go to a  doctor to deal with a broken arm.


There will shortly be a separate post on non-fiction featured during 2021.


Mel u





1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

What would we do without books and stories in difficult times.
I feel as though they have "saved my sanity" in 2021 (and 2020, but slightly less so) too.
In trying to think of a comfort read that you haven't read, but could get in an epub, that wouldn't be out-of-print, that we haven't already talked...sheesh...I was stumped for a bit.
Finally, I thought of Isabel Allende's The House of Spirits. She's not light (I see you've read a short story) and there are sad (even tragic) things that happen in her novels. And she comes from that Latin tradition of wordy and descriptive stories, so they aren't quick reads either. But they are nourishing to the soul and contain all the emotions, not only the difficult ones. I like all of her books for her spirit, even when the story isn't a perfect match for me, but this was her most famous and the one I've reread, so I hope maybe it would appeal to you.