Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1847)
Read for my bookclub. It was so strange reading slowly and dissecting it with others. I realised how much I had forgotten, or overlooked in past readings. I loved this book so much as a young adult and found such beauty and consolation in Jane's story, and yet now reading it, I was frequently troubled, especially in Jane and Rochester's relationship and romance. Charlotte is a master storyteller. So worth reading if you haven't before.
Assembly by Natasha Brown (2021)
Lent by a friend. This was a fast read - maybe over two nights - and seemed to end too soon! I found it really engrossing, interesting, horrifying and thoughtful. Highly recommend.
Right to Sex by Amia Svinivasen (2021)
I have been wanting to read book of essays for some time. I was delighted when it was lent to me! Svinivasen explores issues of sexuality, consent, pornography, incel movements, desire, racial injustice and more - she looks at how feminist and philosophical theory has sought to understand these issues over time, and where such theories are lacking or unsatisfactory for our times. Her essays are intelligent and personable, thoughtful and arresting. Svinivasen skilfully balances her own views and questions with those of other academics and I was left with much to ponder and examine further. I cannot recommend this highly enough.
Gift From the Sea By Anne Morrow Lindberg (1955)
A re-read after many years. It was the perfect book to take down to the sea side on our holiday in November. I found Anne's reflections on life and shells, on motherhood and faith, as profound, beautiful and timeless as I did the first time. So worth reading.
Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer (1999)
Read for my studies last semester. I found Palmer's life story fascinating and his thoughts around vocation and coming to more contemplative (yet practical) faith really fresh and compelling. He writes: "Self-care is never a selfish act - it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.”
A Spacious Life: Trading Hustle and Hurry for the Goodness of Limits by Ashley Hayles (2021)
Mum gifted me this book and I took it away on holiday. I savoured it slowly, and appreciated Ashley's honesty and vulnerability. She weaves in personal stories, scripture, reflection and practical suggestions carefully and beautifully. We are not called to lives of hustle and hurry, of stress and bitterness Ashley argues - but to spaciousness and healthy limits, to healing through play and rest, community and connection, to faith that renews and refreshes our whole beings - body, soul and mind, Highly recommend.
The Last Guests by J P Pomare (2021)
I don't usually read this genre (suspense, crime, thriller), but after reading an interview with the New Zealand born author I was intrigued and requested a copy from my local library. I ended up reading it over the two days I was stuck in bed with a stomach bug at the beginning of December. It was the perfect escape - a thrilling, quick read with rather unexpected twists and intriguing characters. It definitely made me think twice about air bnb's and house surveillance~
The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage (1967)
I loved this. It was a quick and thrilling read over a couple of nights. The language is spare and evocative. It makes me want to delve into the world of American gothic westerns! The dialogue seamlessly slips from spoken words to thoughts and stream of consciousness in the main characters. It is as much a portrait of personal relationships and family as much as it is a thrilling Western. I read it after watching the film (which is beautifully composed and acted) - but definitely enjoyed reading the book and getting so much more from the characters and back stories.
Top 9 books of 2021:
1. The Tall Man
2. You Are Not a Gadget
3. Adam Bede
5. Hold Your Fire
6. This Golden Fleece
7. The Year of Magical Thinking
8, Right to Sex
9. The Power of the Dog
Find more details of books read this year in the posts below.
ABOUT the author
Emily Clare Sims is a farmer and mama to three young boys. Each day she looks for ways to notice beauty, contemplate her faith and savour the seasons...