I’ve been so touched by the comments and messages that I’ve received lately, thanking me for starting this project, or saying how much you are enjoying it. This little community of bibliophiles is such an inspiration to me. Thank you so much for joining in- whether you’ve been with me from January, or whether you’ve just begun, I’m so glad that you’re taking part.
My teenage years were spent writing endless letters to friends. When my parents moved house, they discovered box after box of them, scrawled on lined paper, pages ripped from notebooks, any scrap that came to hand. There were boxes of blue air mail pages from when I spent a year in Thailand, pre-email (which makes me feel unbearably old). I communicated with family and friends almost entirely by aerogramme, writing as small as I could so as to fit in as many stories as possible. Nowadays, I’m sad to say, I write letters very rarely indeed, but the love of them has remained with me, and the sight of a hand-written envelope still makes my heart beat a little faster. My choice of book for April, Letters of Note was an absolute treat. It’s a collection of truly remarkable letters from around the world, written by famous luminaries, historical figures and hitherto unknowns. Each page shows a transcript of the letter in question opposite a facsimile, or a photograph of the writer. There’s something inherently thrilling about reading other people’s letters! Sweetness, wisdom, humour, tragedy, curiosity… the whole gamut of human experience is contained within these crisp pages. For a flavour of the book, the Letters of Note blog is well worth a read, and its equally tantalising sequel, the Lists of Note book, is currently being crowd-funded. It has almost reached its target, but there’s still time to pledge.
For my April dose of fiction, I borrowed from a friend, a copy of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. A hefty tome with a striking cover, I’d been eyeing this book since it came out. It’s very much the novel du jour, particularly having just won the (well-deserved) Pulitzer prize. I thought that it was wonderful, but also terrible: beautifully written yet often shatteringly bleak. A haunting meditation on fate and destiny. I loved it.
For May, I’m starting with A Little History of the World by Ernst Gombrich– I’m hoping to learn a good deal from this one! My June choices have been inspired by my reading of your April link up posts. Firstly, Viloicious inspired me to choose Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book, a rather appropriate selection, which I have been meaning to read for years, and somehow never quite managing to. Secondly, for some non fiction, Bryony‘s recommendation of Last Child in the Woods, which fits in so well with Project Wild Thing and therefore with my Wild Children series.
So, let’s get on with the May link up. Here’s a reminder of how it all works:
The aim is to read (at least) a book a month during 2014. At the start of the month, we blog the book that we are planning to read in the month ahead. If we feel inspired to, we could also write a little about the previous month’s book. Not a review, as such, just some thoughts: a recommendation (or otherwise!) for others who might be thinking of reading it. It’s not a traditional book club, so we don’t have to all read the same book. This is just about trying to ensure that we make space for reading in our busy lives, and hopefully a way to discover more lovely books (and lovely bibliophiles).
If you would prefer to share your book choices over on Instagram, that would also be great, please use the hashtag #theyearinbooks so that we can find your posts. The same hashtag is also active on Twitter. There is a Year in Books Pinterest board, so do let me know in the comments if you would like me to add you as a pinner. There’s also a Goodreads group for this project, and you are welcome to join, whether or not you have a blog of your own. If you would like to add a badge to your blog, you can grab the code over in the sidebar. (A few people have asked me how to do this. If you have a Blogger blog, you may find this tutorial helpful.)
I am compiling a reading list of book suggestions which people have left in the comments here, or via Instagram. Please feel free to continue to recommend books in this way and I will add them to the list.
It doesn’t matter whether or not you have linked up before- everyone is welcome and it’s never too late to get involved. I would be grateful if you could link back to here in your post. Do add your link below – click on the blue button at the bottom of the post.