The end of June seemed like the right time to call a halt on my self-isolation reading challenge. Many countries are relaxing lockdown restrictions and re-opening the non-essential businesses and facilities. We have been very lucky here in Switzerland, in that the government handled the situation well, on the whole people followed the guidelines and we have very positive results. Everything has been operating pretty much as normal for about a month, although maintaining social distancing and hygiene standards.
Since isolation (or lockdown or however we are going to call it) is over, so is my reading challenge. I am really pleased with the number of books I managed to get through, and I have discovered some real gems which would probably otherwise have been overlooked.
Below is a breakdown of the books I did finish, organised according to my personal ranking:
Life on Air, by David Attenborough
The Devil’s Feather, by Minette Walters
Step by Step, by Simon Reeve
What She Left, by T. R. Richmond
The Lonely Sea and the Sky, by Francis Chichester
The Russian Concubine, by Kate Furnivall
Sheer Abandon, by Penny Vincenzi
The Casual Vacancy, by J. K. Rowling
Sphinx, by T. S. Learner
TransAtlantic, by Column McCann
The Kommandant’s Girl, by Pam Jenoff
Land of a Thousand Hills, by Rosamond Halsey Carr
Life After You, by Lucie Brownlee
Maybe This Time, by Jill Mansell
The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
The Einstein Girl, by Philip Sington
The Evolution of Beauty, by Richard O. Prum
Apologize, Apologize!, by Elizabeth Kelly
Three Junes, by Julia Glass
The Furies, by Katie Lowe
Stormbringers, by Philippa Gregory
Fools’ Gold, by Philippa Gregory
22 out of 38 in 3 months is not a bad total!
Although I didn’t complete the challenge by reading every single one of the 38 books on the pile, that doesn’t matter to me. As I said, I have been pleasantly surprised by quite a few books I have read over the past few months, which is a win in and of itself!
I don’t want to put pressure on myself to finish this stack of books, just for the sake of it. This time in lockdown has really allowed me to take the time to read and fall back in love with reading. And I don’t want to spoil that!
I am going to take a careful look at the remaining books. If there are any which don’t really inspire me, I will give them a chance and start them, but if I’m not loving them, I’m not going to force it. I would much rather donate these books, rather than force myself to read them, not enjoy them and relegate them to some dark corner at the back of my bookshelves.
For the French books, I am planning to challenge myself again, but differently. I generally read exclusively in English. Although I do speak French fluently, I seem to have developed a kind of block against reading in French, I think because of being made to read some boring and uninspiring books in French at school. So I think I will save these French books for another time and another challenge.