2014 reading round-up

2014 will be remembered as a ‘meh’ year, one where there has been bleak, bad stuff happening — difficult diagnoses, the loss of Klaus, the art school burning, the bin lorry accident, bodily-experienced misogyny and bullying — but also a year of personal challenges fulfilled and a lot to be grateful for — some of the diagnoses defeated, the strength received by witnessing that happening, a new reconfiguration of myself as someone who can do stuff I never thought possible, engagement in politics, handstands and headstands, alternative maternals, laughter and crying with Ellie, friends who move away but feel closer than ever despite being missed, broccoli trainers, all the amazing dances of 2014, Neil (in general and in particular). I have learned gratitude, forgiveness, discipline, compassion and I have been fortunate enough to be able to really test them.

I am looking forward to 2015: Rob and Samara will be closer which means merriment will be a norm. I am writing a book on my own and rather enjoying it; I have a 10 week sabbatical to concentrate on it. I am curating a show in London with artists who are a dream come true to work with because of their integrity and that of their work. The show comes with a conference where I may meet some of my heroines. I will do yoga at least twice a week, in the mornings, and I may do yoga every day in Crete for a while. I am going to learn from Kia, who I have heard so much about, and Peter and Caitlin may come to Glasgow to visit. I will see Ama again, and also look forward to catching up with Gaia, Jools and other London friends. And that only takes me till June.

Aside from life, 2014 has been a mediocre year for my reading, mainly down to the choices I have made, not those others have made for me in my reading groups. Sometimes I wonder if I know what I want, what I need, what is good for me. I used to think I was not a morning person, so could not get up early to do yoga. Now I don’t think, I just get up and go, I don’t give my brain a chance to complain and just do it for my body, for my whole integrated being. I has not failed me a single time, I have not regretted it. So I am wondering if I should go back to that kind of reading: the one that requires work but stays with you, rather than the garbage, quick gratification of whodunnits. Having said that, all my books this year have received 2* and above, which is an achievement of sorts. I also read less than I would like, but we can’t change that. Here’s the list with the awards.

[RED]: The book I would recommend (closely followed by ‘Madame Bovary’)
[GREY]: Not worth it (with ‘Tripwire’ as a close second)
[GREEN]: Book revelation of the year (‘A room with a view’ was my other choice)
[BLUE]: Most pleasurable reading experience
[*]: Read with Neil, aloud
Should have abandoned reading

  • *Pride and Prejudice by Austen, Jane
  • Gone Girl by Flynn, Gillian
  • *Collected Poems by Larkin, Philip
  • The Dead Hour (Paddy Meehan, #2) by Mina, Denise
  • Madame Bovary by Flaubert, Gustave
  • Revolt, She Said by Kristeva, Julia
  • Something Fresh (Blandings Castle, #1) by Wodehouse, P.G.
  • Tripwire (Jack Reacher, #3) by Child, Lee
  • Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures by Fisher, Mark
  • La Vérité sur l’Affaire Harry Quebert by Dicker, Joël
  • Yes: The Radical Case for Scottish Independence by Foley, James and Peter Ramand
  • Nineteen Seventy Seven (Red Riding, #2) by Peace, David
  • [*Ariel by Plath, Sylvia]
  • Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, #2) by Smith, Alexander McCall
  • Precarious Communism by Gilman-Opalsky, Richard
  • Lacan: In Spite Of Everything by Roudinesco, Elisabeth
  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot, #4) by Christie, Agatha
  • [Never Somewhere Else by Gray, Alex]
  • *The Awakening by Chopin, Kate
  • The Finishing School by Spark, Muriel
  • The Quadruple Object by Harman, Graham
  • [Unmastered: A Book on Desire, Most Difficult to Tell by Angel, Katherine]
  • Field of Blood (Paddy Meehan, #1) by Mina, Denise
  • [I Love Dick by Kraus, Chris]
  • *Loitering With Intent by Spark, Muriel
  • The Dogs of Riga (Wallander #2) by Mankell, Henning
  • *My Man Jeeves (Jeeves, #1) by Wodehouse, P.G.
  • *A Room with a View by Forster, E.M.