Rebeki's 2023 ROOTing

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Rebeki's 2023 ROOTing

1Rebeki
Editado: Jan 4, 2023, 2:38 pm

Oh dear. Looking back at my 2022 thread, my most recent post was in... January 2022. There's no reason to think this year will be any less busy, but I'm optimistically creating a new thread and hoping to do better in 2023. In ROOTing terms, last year was more successful: I met my goal of 24 ROOTS (even if the final one was a damp squib of a DNF) and managed to read most of my new acquisitions. I'm starting this year with a TBR total of 135 books and looking to read 25 of them.

I wish everyone lots of fun and success with their ROOTING :)

2Rebeki
Editado: Dez 30, 2023, 3:49 am

ROOTs read in 2023

1. Less is More: Finding Joy in a Simpler Life by Robin James (received as a present in 2019)
2. People Person by Candice Carty-Williams (Christmas present 2022)
3. The Good Enough Parent: How to raise contented, interesting and resilient children by The School of Life (Christmas present 2022 (from myself!))
4. Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss (bought in 2022)
5. Diary of a Void by Emi Yagi (Christmas present 2022)
6. A Classical Primer: Ancient Knowledge for Modern Minds by Dan Crompton (bought in 2022)
7. Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton (Christmas present 2022 (from myself!))
8. One Day I Shall Astonish the World by Nina Stibbe (Christmas present 2022)
9. Variable Cloud by Carmen Martín Gaite (bought in 2010)
10. The Inseparables by Simone de Beauvoir (Christmas present 2022)
11. Boston Adventure by Jean Stafford (bought in 2008!)
12. The Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko Imamura (Christmas present 2022)
13. The Snows of Yesteryear by Gregor von Rezzori (bought in 2020 - “bookshop under the bed”)
14. Witchfinders: A Seventeenth-Century English Tragedy by Malcolm Gaskill (birthday present 2022)
15. A Few Green Leaves by Barbara Pym (bought in 2016)
16. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain (bought in 2022)
17. Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams by Sylvia Plath (bought in 2001; abandoned before end, but it definitely counts for ROOTing purposes!)
18. Fludd by Hilary Mantel (bought in 2015)
19. A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor (bought in 2013)
20. Illyrian Spring by Ann Bridge (bought in 2017)
21. Tuer le père by Amélie Nothomb (bought in 2015)
22. Loving and Giving by Molly Keane (around pre-2008, officially added to LT in 2011)
23. The Rising Tide by M.J. Farrell (Molly Keane) (bought in 2011)
24. The Bolter by Frances Osborne (bought in 2012)
25. Le Petit Nicolas: Le ballon et autres histoires inédites by René Goscinny (bought in 2016)

3Rebeki
Editado: Dez 1, 2023, 2:04 pm

ROOT prevention - books acquired and read in 2023

1. Villa des Roses by Willem Elsschot (bought January 2023, read January 2023)
2. My Phantoms by Gwendoline Riley (bought March 2023, read March 2023)
3. The New Me by Halle Butler (acquired March 2023, read April 2023)
4. To the Land of Long Lost Friends by Alexander McCall Smith (bought April 2023, read May 2023)
5. The List by Yomi Adegoke (acquired May 2023, read June 2023)
6. Be More Cat by Alison Davies (bought May 2023, read June 2023)
7. Yinka, Where is Your Huzband by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn (bought May 2023, read June 2023)
8. Under a Cruel Star: A Life in Prague 1941-1968 by Heda Margolius Kovály (bought June 2023, read July 2023)
9. Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov (bought July 2023, read August 2023)
10. Either/Or by Elif Batuman (acquired July 2023, read August 2023)
11. Siblings by Brigitte Reimann (acquired July 2023, read August 2023)
12. Sisu: The Finnish Art of Courage by Joanna Nylund (bought May 2023, read August 2023)
13. The Godmother by Hannelore Cayre (bought July 2023, read October 2023)
14. Learning to Talk by Hilary Mantel (bought October 2023, read November 2023)
15. Ghosts by Dolly Alderton (bought November 2023, read December 2023)

4Rebeki
Editado: Jul 23, 2023, 12:03 pm

5Rebeki
Editado: Ago 14, 2023, 10:03 pm

6Rebeki
Editado: Abr 23, 2023, 9:56 am

Read with my son

1. Knock Three Times by Cressida Cowell

7Jackie_K
Jan 4, 2023, 3:01 pm

Welcome back, and good luck with reaching your goal!

8rabbitprincess
Jan 4, 2023, 6:10 pm

New year, new thread, new posting streak! Welcome back and have a great year :)

9MissWatson
Jan 5, 2023, 5:34 am

Have a good reading year!

10connie53
Jan 5, 2023, 7:48 am

Happy New Year, Rebecca and welcome to a new year of ROOTing

11Rebeki
Jan 6, 2023, 1:28 am

>7 Jackie_K:, >8 rabbitprincess:, >9 MissWatson:, >10 connie53: Thank you, and Happy New Year to you all!

12Rebeki
Jan 10, 2023, 12:28 pm

1. Less is More: Finding Joy in a Simpler Life by Robin James

This felt like a cheat-y start to the year, as it’s a short book that’s heavy on pictures and light on words. It had also never been in my official “To Read” collection; I assumed it would be a book to dip in and out of rather than read cover to cover. However, feeling a bit overwhelmed by the busyness of our first normal Christmas and New Year in three years, and not able to concentrate on anything too demanding, I did read it from beginning to end.

It’s a broad-brush book and some sections work better than others: for instance, I found the sections on self-care and time management useful, but thought the section on sustainable living was pretty superficial. Overall, it was worth my time and I’m sure I’ll return to it when I’m next feeling frazzled.

13Rebeki
Editado: Jan 10, 2023, 12:47 pm

2. People Person by Candice Carty-Williams

The first book I started in 2023 was one I felt sure of enjoying. I loved Carty-Williams’s debut, Queenie and, while I correctly anticipated that I wouldn’t fall in love with this novel in the same way, it was an absorbing read.

When she finds herself in a tricky situation, Dimple calls on a woman she barely knows: her half-sister, Nikisha. Soon she is reunited with a further three half-siblings she has met just once before, born to the same (largely absent) father and different mothers. People Person is the story of the growing relationship between these five individuals and, while Carty-Williams’s writing isn’t always the most polished, I really enjoyed spending time in their company. It strikes me that she’d also be a fun person to hang out with - her warmth and humour shine through the page.

14Rebeki
Editado: Jan 20, 2023, 1:11 am

3. The Good Enough Parent: How to raise contented, interesting and resilient children by The School of Life

A quick but stimulating, and ultimately reassuring, read. Parents do not need to be perfect or provide the “perfect” experience of childhood for their offspring. They are there to love, support and comfort their children and to teach them to cope with life as it really is. Children do not need to be perfect either, and, by admitting to and being forgiving of our own flaws, we can teach our children self-acceptance.

15Rebeki
Jan 20, 2023, 1:29 am

4. Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

Seventeen-year-old Silvie and her parents join an archaeological camp in Northumberland run by a university professor, though Silvie and her mother are there only reluctantly. As Silvie’s history-obsessed father and the professor become ever more enthused by recreating the conditions of Iron Age life, things take a dark turn.

The reader has a sense of foreboding from the very start: I began tentatively, but raced through the book from the halfway point, anxious to know what would happen. Moss writes beautifully and conveys a lot in a short number of pages. I have only previously read The Fell, which didn’t make such an impression on me, but I would like to read more books by this author.

16LoraShouse
Jan 20, 2023, 1:47 am

Welcome to reading this year. It looks like you are off to a great start.

17Caramellunacy
Jan 20, 2023, 5:47 am

>15 Rebeki: An archaeological camp sounds like such an interesting setting, off to see if available at my library!

18Rebeki
Jan 20, 2023, 11:32 am

>16 LoraShouse: Thank you. I’m starting the year with several short/quick reads, which helps!

>17 Caramellunacy: I think there’s more focus on reenacting Iron Age life - particularly the cooking and diet! - than actual archaeology, but it’s definitely an interesting setting.

19Caramellunacy
Jan 21, 2023, 2:47 pm

>18 Rebeki: Oh, I see. That definitely seems like something I'd rather read about than do!

20Rebeki
Fev 17, 2023, 2:42 pm

Books finished since my last post:

5. Diary of a Void by Emi Yagi
A woman in an all-male office pretends to be pregnant in order to enjoy fairer working conditions. I was interested to see how far the protagonist would take things, but didn’t love this book as I thought I would.

Villa des Roses by Willem Elsschot (non-ROOT)
My first purchase of the year, after taking a book bullet elsewhere on LT. I really enjoyed Cheese by the same author and this was almost as good. Funny and tragic with a great cast of characters.

6. A Classical Primer: Ancient Knowledge for Modern Minds by Dan Crompton
A highly readable whirlwind tour of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome for those of us without much prior knowledge. There’s a lot I’m not going to retain, but it’s a book you can easily dip back into. I most enjoyed the sections on literature and architecture and am now feeling brave enough to tackle a book of plays by Euripides that’s been on my shelf for over 20 years. Watch this space!

7. Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
I enjoyed the recent TV adaptation, but it only covered so much and inevitably altered some things, so the two are very much not interchangeable. The book provides more context, depth and reflection and I enjoyed reading how Dolly has grown into herself. Fun but not fluffy.

21connie53
Fev 19, 2023, 7:55 am

Hi Rebecca, just popping in to see what you have been reading and saying 'Hi'

22Rebeki
Mar 18, 2023, 5:11 am

>21 connie53: Hi Connie, thank you (a month late) for stopping by! I hope to update my thread and visit other threads over the weekend.

23Rebeki
Editado: Mar 25, 2023, 8:27 am

OK, it's a whole other weekend now, but this is what I've been reading in March:

8. One Day I Shall Astonish the World by Nina Stibbe

I love Nina Stibbe and I loved this novel. It's the story of Susan, from 1990s studenthood to middle age, and her relationships with her so-called best friend Norma, and her husband Roy and daughter Honey. It's about the ups and downs and mundanities of life and is written with Stibbe's usual wit. I'm sure it wouldn't be the case for everyone, but for me it was a five-star read.

My Phantoms by Gwendoline Riley (non-ROOT)

This was a spontaneous charity-shop purchase after seeing it recommended by Backlisted's Andy Miller, and it was indeed a great read. Concerning the problematic relationship between the narrator and her mother, it is written with apparent simplicity, but the characters - apart from the narrator, who seems to be deliberately holding something back - are so vividly drawn that I felt as though I was watching a Mike Leigh film. Sad and unsettling and beautifully written.

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan (non-ROOT)

I reserved this book at the library following all the praise it has received. It is both gentle and devastating and places the reader right there among the close-knit but guarded inhabitants of the Irish town of New Ross.

9. Variable Cloud by Carmen Martín Gaite

This was a dense and meandering but rewarding novel, written in the form of letters between two estranged best friends. Now middle-aged, they look back on the events that caused them to drift apart and consider the course their respective lives have taken since then. It is also a novel about the joy and power of writing. I've started the year focusing on more recent ROOTs, but it felt good to pick up a book that has been sitting on my shelves since 2010.

24Rebeki
Mar 28, 2023, 1:16 pm

Yesterday was my 15th Thingaversary. I will definitely NOT be celebrating by buying 16 books! I’m thinking instead that I should mark it by reading a book that’s been on my shelf since 2008…

25rabbitprincess
Mar 28, 2023, 6:49 pm

>24 Rebeki: That's a great twist on the Thingaversary celebration!

26MissWatson
Mar 29, 2023, 3:34 am

>24 Rebeki: Happy Thingaversary! That's a good choice!

27Jackie_K
Mar 29, 2023, 1:40 pm

>24 Rebeki: Good idea! I don't buy the number+1 books either, as by the time my Thingaversary come round (in August) I've already bought more than that number in the year to date.

28Rebeki
Mar 29, 2023, 3:09 pm

>25 rabbitprincess:, >26 MissWatson:, >27 Jackie_K: Thanks! To be honest, I think reading just one is a bit of a feeble effort. Perhaps I can manage a few over the year.
Jackie, I love the idea of allowing myself to go on a book-buying spree, but it belongs to a time when ROOTing is no longer necessary - if I ever get to that point!

29Jackie_K
Mar 30, 2023, 7:01 am

>28 Rebeki: Exactly, exactly! I still get a buzz from a big pile of books (on my birthday, say, as books are pretty much the only thing I ask for!), but there is also that little frisson of anxiety when I wonder if I'll ever manage to actually read all the books I own in my lifetime. Better get on with reading, I guess, so that as you say ROOTing is no longer necessary!

30Rebeki
Editado: Maio 1, 2023, 5:34 pm

I’ve read a lot (for me) since my last update, so I’ll keep it brief.

The Appeal by Janice Hallett (non-ROOT)
A mystery novel in an unusual format - lots of fun!
10. The Inseparables by Simone de Beauvoir
I loved, loved, loved this newly-discovered semi-autobiographical novella about childhood friends.
11. Boston Adventure by Jean Stafford
The first of my “shelved in 2008” reads, a book I picked up in a secondhand bookshop because, at the time, I’d recently visited Boston and was interested to read a novel set there. Obviously, that Boston trip is no longer so recent, but I could still picture some of the locations. I was reminded of reading Dickens, in that the density of the writing made it a slow read but the narrative drive kept pushing me on.

ETA: I got sidetracked partway through writing this post, so the rest of the update will follow another time!

31Caramellunacy
Maio 5, 2023, 5:47 pm

>30 Rebeki: I really enjoyed the format of The Appeal as well - I liked trying to piece things together.

32Rebeki
Maio 24, 2023, 12:40 pm

>30 Rebeki: Much, much later, here is the rest of my brief update!

The Sweet Dove Died by Barbara Pym (non-ROOT)
A re-read of the first ever Barbara Pym novel I read. It's not one of her best loved, so not the recommended entry point, but I definitely appreciated it more second time around.
Knock Three Times by Cressida Cowell (non-ROOT)
My son and I are enjoying this tetralogy about wizards, warriors and witches. Just one more book to go!
12. The Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko Imamura
I really enjoyed reading this quirky and disquieting book with its obsessive narrator. However, I feel I missed something along the way, as I felt dissatisfied by the ending.
13. The Snows of Yesteryear by Gregor von Rezzori
A wordy but evocative memoir of the writer's childhood in the lost land of Bukovina.
The New Me by Halle Butler (non-ROOT)
Described by a cover quote as "a definitive work of millennial literature", it was both fun and uncomfortable to follow the protagonist as she attempts to secure a permanent office job and generally get her life together. However, her acerbic tongue and ability to see through bulls**t get in the way.
To the Land of Long Lost Friends by Alexander McCall Smith (non-ROOT)
A welcome bit of light relief at a time when real life was affecting my ability to focus on my reading. I still love this series.
14. Witchfinders: A Seventeenth-Century English Tragedy by Malcolm Gaskill
I found the social, political and religious context of the East Anglian witch-hunt fascinating, but the level of detail Gaskill provides about individual cases made this a bit of a slog.

33Rebeki
Jul 16, 2023, 2:52 pm

Read in June:

The List by Yomi Adegoke (non-ROOT)
An advance copy won in a giveaway, this novel considers how the interaction of social media and the Me Too movement can impact individual lives. This was a gripping and nuanced read, but the main characters seemed to be having a terrible time for most of the book, so it was something of a relief to finish it!
15. A Few Green Leaves by Barbara Pym
I’ve been working my way through Barbara Pym’s novels and have sadly reached the final one (I still have Civil to Strangers left). Enjoyable and sharp as ever.
Be More Cat by Alison Davies (non-ROOT)
A silly book that I couldn’t resist picking up in a charity shop. I’m not sure I learnt much from it - though I do often think my cats are useful role models - but it was an OK way to pass the time.
16. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
A fascinating and - for me - life-changing book that made me feel a whole lot better about being me.
Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn (non-ROOT)
I guess this would fall into the chick-lit category, not normally one I enjoy, but the main character’s Nigerian heritage and Christianity and belief in waiting until marriage to have sex made this a little different. It was fun and life-affirming to see Yinka learn self-acceptance.

34connie53
Editado: Ago 19, 2023, 8:39 am

Hi Rebecca, just popping in again. Lots of books there. Good you can take positive things from book nr. 16.

35Rebeki
Jan 2, 5:49 am

Well, I proved not to be very good at updating my thread again in 2023, although I did markedly better than in 2022. I did manage - just - to make my ROOTs goal of 25 though. I bought a lot of books last year, so my TBR hasn't gone down by much, but it's still moving in the right direction, and I'm pleased that I was able to read some of my longer-standing ROOTs.

My favourite books of 2023 were:

Fiction

One Day I Shall Astonish the World by Nina Stibbe
All Our Yesterdays by Natalia Ginzburg

Non-fiction

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

I'm going to try a different approach to ROOTing in 2024; last year I ended up having to ignore new acquisitions so that I could make my goal, which felt counterproductive.

See you all in the 2024 group!

36Henrik_Madsen
Jan 2, 6:17 am

>35 Rebeki: I know your feeling about new acquisitions - why shouldn't you read them, while you still remember why you got them in the first place? I have decided for some years now, that everything I own counts as a ROOT and I'm very happy with that strategy. (I call it ROOT-preventing if I have to justify myself...)

Good luck next / this year.

37Caramellunacy
Jan 3, 1:47 pm

>36 Henrik_Madsen: I agree with Henrik, counting anything I own as a ROOT is definitely how I make it feel "right".