Reading Books in 2021

Haha, my interest always kind of deflates when the mystery is actually being explained so that openendedness always appeals to me a little more

1 Like

Just finished Hamnet, dear me what a bloody fantastic book. My whole department raved about and now I see what they were on about, best novel I’ve read in ages.

Anyone else read any Maggie OFarrell? Anything else recommended?

Anyone have any recommendations for particularly good audio books? I’m guessing autobiographies is going to be the best but not sure. I’ve already had most David Sedaris and Partridge stuff.

I used to listen to them all the time as a kid but these days I’ve lost the habit. But I’m getting a bit tired of my podcasts so I was thinking of going back.

has there been some kind of mandate? think alice ash- paradise block is the only other 2021 book i’ve read and also has a countdown reference. @pervo it’s mean about presenters and contestants

1 Like

Wow! The only book I’ve seen it mentioned in is About A Boy although I did see something about Suede watching Countdown one time (the conundrum solution was LETHARGIC) and can’t remember if that was a magazine feature or their biography


I know you’re not supposed to diagnose developmental conditions on people but I’m reading a biography of marie curie and its wild how obviously she is an autistic person.

the author seems like a nice and intelligent man and it’s a good book but it’s so frustrating reading him talk about all these traits and not being able put that together, I mean he probably couldn’t because it was written in the 70s, but at this point it feels like he’s just listing common traits of autistic people from a pamphlet he’s read.

I don’t know what my point is. it’s a good book! being radioactive seems like no fun.


Been struggling with reading the past few months. Can’t get on with anything - keep giving up as nothing is holding my attention. Thought I’d kicked it when I started Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami - it’s two novellas squished together. First was great, straight forward but slightly poetic story about a woman in Tokyo being visited by her niece and sister. Second was really dull though.

Now on Summer by Ali Smith. Loved everything I’ve read by her in the past, so hopefully this one will stick. Edit: actually, it’s Spring I’m on.

Sounds like it’s dragging!

1 Like

This is totally the title I would give to my Marie Curie Biography.


Been re-reading a few classic teenage boy books (Camus’ The Outsider and Hunter S Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), got a lot more out of them than I did when I was a teenaged boy. We definitely become better readers as we get older, my English degree was utterly wasted on me. Wish I had copies of Cather in the Rye and On the Road to hand.

Started a random Jeeves and Wooster in the meantime. I’ve only read one before, which was a second hand one I randomly found years ago, I’m now like five chapters in and I’m fairly sure it’s the same one… but still enjoyable enough.


All Wooster stories are the same plot really. Great fun though. My fave is The Inimitable Jeeves.

Did you get Cather in the Rye from the sane moody shop as your Rubin’s Cube, BTW?

1 Like

I’m halfway through Infinite Jest.

I’m enjoying it but I know I don’t really know what’s going on.

Catheter in the Rye


Still bugs me that I gave up about halfway through over ten years ago but I just couldn’t handle the not knowing what’s going on feeling any longer

1 Like

Finished The Glass Hotel the other day btw, it was ok. There were a few moments that I got some goosebumps and do enjoy her writing style but overall the subject matter didn’t particularly interest me but there were definitely some nice undertones to the narrative to pick up on. I’m going to pick up another one of hers next I think because she really knows how to build the scenery and characters in a vivd way,

My issue with it wasn’t not knowing, it was not caring.

Not sure I’ll ever retry it.

1 Like

I’m definitely not giving up now!

I’ve accepted I’m supposed to be a bit disoriented and confused at this stage and I am enjoying the different narrative strands that are happening.

1 Like

the Euros completely decimated my reading

finished the Sea Wall by Marguerite Duras after 3 weeks or so

I have now essentially read the same story 3 times now by Duras: The Lover and The North China Lover both cover the same ground but are told a bit differently

this was the first version of the story, written when she was much younger, and is a lot more novelistic. events are told in a more dramatic way, it’s written in the 3rd person, and the ‘lover’ is consigned to the background in the latter parts of the story.

has anyone else read any books where the author is essentially telling the same story, but evolving it over time?

I’m now ploughing through The Pitards by Georges Simenon

have wanted to read him for a while. this isn’t one of his Maigret books that he’s famous for, it tells the story of a skipper of a large shipping boat, who embarks on an ominous journey with his estranged wife in tow. so far, so good.

read one of them a few months ago on the urging of my dad, who’s a massive Francophile. Enjoyed it quite a lot, definitely read a bit more “modern” than I was expecting

Somehow made it to 50 books read already this year.

Miss Iceland by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, was another great short read from @whiterussian insta recommendations. Transported me right to Iceland and the 60s, with a story around the how different and challenging life was for for those who aren’t heterosexual males. Also big fan of the name Hekla.

The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enríquez, a collection of short stories that are rather dark, religious and horror focused. Enjoyed the writing but didn’t live up to the hype I’d seen and none of the stories stuck with me. Would be interested to read some longer novels in the future if she explores that side.

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. The first Ishiguro I’ve read, will certainly read more as flew through it in one sitting and intriguing world building around AI, class, education and the environment. Although felt the story fell a little flat in the end.