Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners but is now currently being hosted by Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog. This meme is quite easy to follow – just randomly pick a book from your to-be-read list and give the reasons why you want to read it. It is that simple.
This week’s book:
The Years by Annie Ernaux
Blurb from Goodreads
The Years is a personal narrative of the period 1941 to 2006 told through the lens of memory, impressions past and present—even projections into the future—photos, books, songs, radio, television and decades of advertising, headlines, contrasted with intimate conflicts and writing notes from 6 decades of diaries.
Local dialect, words of the times, slogans, brands and names for the ever-proliferating objects, are given voice here. The voice we recognize as the author’s continually dissolves and re-emerges. Ernaux makes the passage of time palpable. Time itself, inexorable, narrates its own course, consigning all other narrators to anonymity. A new kind of autobiography emerges, at once subjective and impersonal, private and collective.
On its 2008 publication in France, The Years came as a surprise. Though Ernaux had for years been hailed as a beloved, bestselling and award-winning author, The Years was in many ways a departure: both an intimate memoir “written” by entire generations, and a story of generations telling a very personal story. Like the generation before hers, the narrator eschews the “I” for the “we” (or “they”, or “one”) as if collective life were inextricably intertwined with a private life that in her parents’ generation ceased to exist. She writes of her parents’ generation (and could be writing of her own book): “From a common fund of hunger and fear, everything was told in the “we” and impersonal pronouns.”
Why I Want To Read It
Happy Monday everyone! At least, I hope your Monday is happy. Woah, I can’t believe that we are already done with nine months and that we’re nearly midway through the tenth month of the year. Where did the time go? With the year slowly drawing to a close, I hope that you all get repaid for all the hard work you’ve poured in. I hope that all your prayers get answered. As a new week started, I hope you started it on the right note. I hope that the rest of the week will go great for everyone. More importantly, I hope that you are all doing well and are in a good state of health, both in your mind and body. My biggest wish, however, is for COVID-19 and monkeypox to be finally eradicated. With this, I remind everyone to be diligent in observing minimum health protocols. I wish that everyone will have a great week ahead!
To kickstart the blogging week, I am posting a new Goodreads Monday update. Seeing that I still have several works of American literature on my active reading challenges, I have decided to make my October reading journey an extension of my September reading journey. Since last month, I have been focusing on my active reading challenges as I realized toward the end of August that I have been lagging behind in most of these challenges. In order to avoid last-minute cramming which usually happens toward the end of the year, I have been ticking off books from these challenges. Thankfully, I have been making headway and I intend to carry this momentum this October. However, the book I am featuring in this week’s update is a deviation from this month’s motif. This week, I am featuring Annie Ernaux’s The Years.
The primary reason that I am featuring the French writer is that she was recently awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature. In its citation, the Swedish Committee lauded her “for the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory.” She is the 17th woman to be awarded the most prestigious literary prize; as compared to 112 men who won the award. She is also the 16th French writer to win the award but the first Frenchwoman to do so. In ways more than one, her win is historical. I have been reading several articles about her Nobel victory and one thing stands out. Her win is a landmark for she writes in a genre rarely recognized by the Swedish Committee. She is more renowned as a memoirist.
Among her works, one particularly stands out. Originally published in 2008 in French as Les Années, The Years is a historical memoir and is considered her best work. The book provides a glimpse into French society from post-World War II until the 2000s. Ernaux, from what I have read, has gained a reputation for capturing the complexities and the interiors of French society despite her being born into a working-class family. Apart from the book being a work of historical fiction, which is just right up my alley, the book was warmly received by literary pundits, even earning Ernaux a score of literary awards such as the 2008 Marguerite Duras Prize, the 2008 Prix de la langue française, and the 2009 Télégramme Readers Prize. First translated into English in 2017, the book was also nominated for the International Booker Prize in 2019. This shortlisting earned Ernaux a sizeable following among anglophone readers.
For now, the goal is to obtain a copy of the book or any of her books for that matter. How about you fellow reader? What books have you added to your reading list? Do drop it in the comment box. For now, happy Monday and, as always, happy reading!