Before I started writing this post I looked at my '2012 book list'. That's right, I keep a list of all the books I read each year - which, for those of you who know me won't find surprising.
Reading through the titles of the books I've read so far in 2012, the thing that stands out to me the most is how much they remind me of where I was and what was going on when I read them. It's almost as if, in my memory, the plot of the book intersperses with my own life. It made me wonder how much of a book is interpreted by what we're going through at the time. I'm almost certain that I picked up on things in some books because I could relate to it at the time.
Over the past year I've lived in three different places, and life in January was very different to how it is now. In a way, making a list of what books I've read is like keeping a diary, without having to write it. They say that smells are one of the strongest triggers of memory, but I think books are up there, too.
Sebastian Faulks - The Girl at the Lion d'Or: I finished this on the 1st of January. I remember it was a lazy, rainy day and I was surprised that I managed to accomplish something so successful as finishing a book.
I remember reading Carry me down by M.J. Hyland at a cold bus stop, on miserable mornings on my way to work. Every Sunday in February was taken up by Norwegian Wood and South of the border, West of the sun by Haruki Murakami. I remember reading Travels with Charlie by John Steinbeck on a busy train, going home for Easter. I can recall quite vividly my thought processes in-between chapters.
When I think of the books I've recently read, I can remember what was bothering me at the time. And just as every book came to an end, so did the time of my life when I was reading them. Having a list of the books I've finished is a good reminder that problems and bad weeks come to an end, too.