Daft really, as I know with a book I can lose myself in someone else's world for a while and forget about my own lists.
Anyway, Peter bought me a couple of books over Christmas, and that set me to reading again, especially as in the first one (Born a Crime by Trevor Noah), the author said that we can find ourselves scrolling through endless Twitter threads and newspaper articles, and get to the end of the year having read many thousands of words, but not a single book. Ouch.
I didn't keep a proper list, so this is in no particular order, but this is vaguely what I've been reading since Christmas.
This was a Christmas present, and the book that got me reading again. I was vaguely familiar with Trevor Noah but didn't know much about his past, and this was an interesting read. I always love tales of people's ordinary lives, and this gave fascinating and at times painful insights into everyday lives in and after apartheid in South Africa. Not always cheerful, but certainly uplifting overall.
How to be a Victorian (Ruth Goodman)
I found this in a charity shop. I loved the Victorian Farm series, and watch it over and over whenever it's repeated on the tv. This book goes into far more detail about the everyday lives of Victorians, both rich and poor, and covers things like making breakfast, making and washing clothes, education, work, and bringing up children. There's quite a bit about the political situation at the time too, and contemporary campaigns around women and children working in mines and the introduction of compulsory education.
Nightwalk: A Journey to the Heart of Nature (Chris Yates)
I loved this. I've always been a little bit scared of being outside at night (although it doesn't always stop me), and this was a beautiful account of the author's nocturnal ramblings which made me want to stride out in the moonlight. Utterly charming.
A Gleaming Landscape: 100 Years of the Guardian's Country Diary (Martin Wainright)
Another charity shop find, and another in my ever-growing stash of books about the coutryside. This is a collection of Country Diary columns from the Guardian newspaper over the last 100 years, one from each year. The columns themselves are short, and there's a bit of context about the political and social history of the time at the start of each chapter - the war years were especially interesting. It did feel a little disjointed with columns from so many different authors, but it was quite fascinating to see the changes through the years.
I picked this up to read for work, but it was so interesting that I actually read most of it sitting in a cafe on Saturday morning. It's old now (written in 1990), but gives a really clear, straightforward account of the social and structural issues surrounding health and how we understand what it means to be healthy and ill. Not exactly fun, but really interesting.
The Shock Doctrine (Naomi Klein)
I read Naomi Klein's first book No Logo when I was at university many years ago now, and it had a profound effect on me and what I went on to do. I'm a few years behind with this one, and have got it out of the library several times and taken it back without reading it. It's a weighty tome (650 ish pages), dense with detail and facts, and really not fun at all. It charts the rise of what the author calls 'disaster capitalism' - the exploitation of countries that are experiencing disaster (whether natural or human-made) by large corporations for profit-making purposes. It's not exactly an easy read, but I'm making myself read the whole lot, because I think it's important to try to get a grasp on how things come to be the way they are. I've not quite finished it yet - it's definitely not a read-as-you're-dozing-off book...