My reading diary from 2019

It’s the season for winding down, relaxing and doing whatever the heck I want. Most likely involving good food, good souls and good weather!

This year I wanted to read one book a month, not just any book, as many indigenous books or books about Polynesia and the indigenous reference as I could. Below is my attempt and mini-review of each that I managed to get through last year. If you can recommend any amazing titles to add to my good reads list, let me know ❤

How to be single, Liz Tuccillo (6.5/10) – this was from a few years ago that I never finished but finally did.

  • I was meant to finish this ages ago and finally got around to finish it. I’m pretty sure this story was what sparked a similar plot for a movie that was released last year on this. The plot is interesting and I like that not everyone has a complete happily ever after lol. It’s a bit more real. But this is definitely from a mayo perspective, which is fun for some light-hearted reading.

Bad Feminist, Roxanne Gay (8/10)

  • This was an easy read and I definitely prefer this style of writing when being introduced to academic topics/concepts. It gave me the impression like I was having coffee with a lecturer and listening to her harp on candidly about several sub-topics on their main thesis. Only reason for points off was

Where we once belonged, Sia Figiel (8/10)

  • I LOVE this writing style. Seen through the eyes of young teen Alofa, the story explains the intricacies (and scandals) of Samoan life as a young woman, as a love child and as a daughter vying for her father’s approval.

Free love, Sia Figiel (8/10)

  • This story is more playful than “Where we once belonged” which I found to be more raw (which is my preference). It a treat and I enjoyed the protagonists tenacity which I think all Samoan females have in essence. The second half of the book tied in some beautiful decolonising energy which I definitely appreciated and wish there was more of in the literature I read.

They who do not grieve, Sia Figiel (8/10)

  • Some of the plot includes the larger picture in relation to Alofa’s life in “Where we once belonged”. It was initially a bit harder for me to get into this book and then as I got through a few chapters I enjoyed it a lot more. Definitely like her writing and how she is so raw. It was hard to read at some points but I’m a fan of not censoring the reality of some narratives and complexities that people in Samoa live. It’s up to the reader to interpret from whatever position they occupy.

Wild dogs under my skirt, Tusiata Avia (7/10)

  • Again, I like how Samoan women aren’t afraid to write about what’s considered profane and not censor their material. It’s just a depiction of what happens and is open to the reader to interpret and make sense of it how they will. I watched the play to this and loved how they depicted each of the women portrayed, particularly Alofa(fua). Highly recommend if you can get along to the play, check it out.

Fast talking PI, Selina Tusitala Marsh (8/10)

  • LOVE the Fast talking PI poem, makes me laugh, cringe and sad all in one sweep.

Braving the wilderness, Brene Brown (7/10)

  • Surprisingly, this book made me want to draw back on my spiritual learnings from when I was growing up (Christian and some indigenous teachings). I’ve been going through a bit of a time trying to understand “connection”, particularly with people in my life who are currently suffering from some past trauma and this book, gave a bit more insight into that.

The Devil’s advocate, Iain Morely (8/10)

  • I’ve half-read this. It is amazing though and I just need to get through it in early 2020 -_- slightly annoyed at myself for not finishing it.

Su’esu’e Manongi: in search of fragrance, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese (8/10)

  • This was a nice start into Tui Atua’s writing considering I haven’t read any of his previous texts. I got my copy signed at the Auckland Writers Festival this year and he probably didn’t think I was Samoan given my features and name. There were one or two concepts I didn’t entirely agree with, but I won’t comment on this yet because I haven’t actually finished this book -_- I intend on finishing it in early 2020.

I didn’t get through as many books as I wanted to last year. I was quite religious with reading on public transport and in the evenings before bed up until I went to Papua New Guinea and then straight after that, my fight camp started. Then, during the camp, I was too tired to bother in the evenings and was also training in the mornings so I drove to work. I finished the fight camp in October, and then got a new job and moved in late November to Whangarei so… I didn’t prioritise reading time.

After moving and settling in properly in Whangarei, I didn’t pick up my reading time as I was busy getting stuck into how to be a lawyer in the new role and drifting between Auckland and Whangarei. Anyway, all that being said, this year I want to make more of an effort to prioritise it. Here is to a longer list and review in 2020.