In 2021 I had to relearn how to enjoy reading. I went months without picking up a book, or starting books and putting them back down. I missed reading, I missed the joy that came from immersing myself in a fictional world and I missed the easiness of being able to follow a story. In the end, I decided to do it the hard way: force my way through. Luck was with me. The couple of books that I forced my way through were entertaining and fun. Which, of course, was an additional push out of my reading slump. Also, smaller books helped with feeling the satisfaction of finishing a book, giving me enough momentum to move and read forward.
To Be Taught If Fortunate by Becky Chambers
A lovely little novella if you like space exploration and the awes of learning about the unknown. I liked the questions it raised, like who gains from the exploration, for whom the scientists are working and, ultimately, what’s at stake when you’re out there, alone.
Elemental Haiku: Poems to Honor the Periodic Table, Three Lines at a Time by Mary Soon Lee
A one-bite poetry book that I read in one seating. A hundred haiku for all the elements in the elemental table, written with Mary Soon Lee’s skill and subtle humor. There was also some information about each element, a choice I appreciated because it helped with understanding the word choices on the haiku but also made the book a fun learning experience.
Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino
I had so much fun with this book, it’s ridiculous. As ridiculous is this book. It was the first Detective Galileo story I ever read and I wasn’t disappointed. Low stakes, excellent suspect and one (1) capable detective that wasn’t, in fact, the two main characters. Excellent.
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
This book is as vast at the house described in it. It’s short and, yet, I can’t not recall it with a sense of awe. Let yourself wonder in the colossal corridors of the labyrinthine house and allow it to unroll it on its own pace. You won’t be disappointed.
The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer
A space thriller that I enjoyed very much. I got into it knowing nothing and I was rewarded. It’s a science fiction story that has romance at its heart and yet, it is definitely not a romance.
The Seven Husbands of Emily Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I really liked this book. Very interesting characters that are far from perfect, people that love each other deeply and people that don’t hesitate to use each other for their needs. I had no idea what I was getting into with this book but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting by K.J. Charles
This story has easily reached top five books from this author (and I have a whole shelf of K.J. Charles books). The main characters are interesting to follow, the stakes are high and not very high at the same time, and it has one of the best female characters ever. This book emanates a gentle comfort, that makes you wanna cuddle it.
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
I don’t do horror because I’m afraid. No movies, no books. (An exception are the not-very-often short stories I read, always in broad daylight and my finger ready to close the window). And yet, this one was amazing. Building slowly the horror elements, keeping the tension steady, it’s more of a character study than anything else. I loved reading it.
Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings
A wonderful dark fairy-tale. It starts slow and needs time to unfold, but it’s beautifully written and has a genuine sense of wonder.
Sense and Sensibly by Jane Austen
Look at me discovering Jane Austen during the pandemic. I can say I liked Sense and Sensibility more than Pride and Prejudice. I think the humor was more to my taste and understanding, and the characters very interesting.