Recent Reads and Life Updates

Hi everyone!

It’s been quite some time since I posted here, but I’m really happy to be back chatting about books and life!

Since I’ve been gone, I’ve started (and finished my first year of) college. I’m studying epidemiology and potentially minoring in biology and German, but I have yet to decide on that aspect. My first year was pretty great! I loved all my classes and made some amazing friends.

One of the classes I took was focused entirely on the Bronte sisters, which was super enjoyable to read and discuss the similarities and differences between the three sisters’ works. I was also a TA (teaching assistant) in an epidemiology class which was very exciting work as I was able to mentor many students in the field.

I am currently at school for the second semester of my second year, which has been going pretty well! I have the same roommate as last year whom I love, and one of my friends returned from their study abroad program, so it was great to catch up with them.

In the time that’s gone by, I have read many great books. I’ve been branching out my reading a lot and picking up more classics and translated literature. I’ve even begun a little challenge for myself to try reading books from every county, but this will definitely take me a couple of years to complete!

Since it’s still the beginning of 2023, I figured it would be fun to discuss some of the reading I did last year. In terms of stats, I read 48 books (I’m going to pretend that my Goodreads goal always said 48, and I definitely didn’t change it from 50 last minute…), with an average rating of 3.9 stars and 8 five-star reads. Looking back, that is possibly the fewest amount of five-star books I’ve read in a year. This may be because I was branching out a lot into other genres and still finding my footing for what I enjoy and want to read about in the classic and more adult contemporary scene.

My favorite book from the year is without a doubt These Violent Delights by Micha Nemerever. This work followed Paul and Julian, two college freshmen who befriend each other, and their relationship quickly spirals into an all-consuming and brutal dependency. The writing was fluid and descriptive and the unreliability of the narration added extra layers to the story. The two characters become so intertwined that everything around them is seen in a haze-like way, with little grounding them outside of each other. You’re never certain what’s truly happening or what the characters want you to believe is happening. It was such an absorbing story, and I honestly already want to read it again!

One of the other stand-outs was The Red Years by Bandi, which is a collection of poems that were smuggled out of North Korea. This was a very insightful collection that is so important to discuss as people risked their lives to bring us these words. This poems show snippets of everyday life but also some of the hopes and wishes that the poet has for their country. Would highly recommend picking this up if you have the chance.

I am currently reading a biography of Oscar Wilde by Frank Harris, and I’m looking to finish it this weekend. There has notably been some back-and-forth regarding the accuracy of this work, especially in comparison to Bernard Shaw’s biography of Wilde. Both Bernard Shaw and Lord Alfred Douglas initially appeared to accept the work with praise, but in Shaw’s future work, go on to tear it down and critique it as inaccurate and harmful. I figured it would be interesting to read this, Shaw’s work, and the last biography by Lord Alfred Douglas and compare them. (I’ve specifically chosen the last work of Douglas as he notes that his earlier works were prejudiced against Wilde and he no longer stood by them).

Now that I’m back I’m planning to post more often as I have missed having a place to discuss the books I’ve been reading. It may be a little late into the year to ask about favorite reads from 2022, but I would love to hear what you’ve enjoyed lately!

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