This week I’ve been reading Four Reigns, Kukrit Pramoj‘s doorstopper of a novel about life in the Thai court in the 19th and 20th centuries.
I have, as usual, been falling behind on my book reviews. I’ve been reading, though, as much as I can while also being a full-time parent to a toddler and attempting to get in as much paid editing work as possible during nap times. I read 58 books last year, which is a fairly significant fall-off from 2017’s 89, for which I blame the fact that I weaned my daughter and thus no longer had several hours a day of being forced to sit still in a chair with nothing to do but read. Of the books I read, a little more than a third were for this project, all of them from the Philippines. I just managed to finish my last Filipino book on December 31, and have now moved on to Brunei, which is a blessedly short list. I also read a fair few books as background for the novel I’m writing: as many books as I could by Black British women, and a few memoirs set in prisons in the UK (and no, I am not writing the book that that sentence makes it seem I am writing). Anyway, only
a day a few days a week late, here’s a list of books I read last year, with some brief annotations.
In my ongoing effort to achieve gender parity in my list (as well as my somewhat less successful effort to pare the list down to a more manageable size) I’ve made a few changes to the list in the past month. I’ve also changed my reading order for Southeast Asia. I had originally intended to go from Thailand to Cambodia and then to Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Macau; I decided it would make more geographical sense to go Thailand-Myanmar-Laos-Cambodia-Vietnam-Macau. Vietnam and Macau don’t share a border (there’s a bit of China between them), but they’re a hell of a lot closer than Macau and Myanmar.
Here are my additions and subtractions, with the occasional explanation: Continue reading