Books, Briefly: Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

Kay reviews books in 100 words or less.


The brevity of goodbyes surprised me the most. Every time Eilis had to say goodbye, I expected grand paragraphs that revealed the storm inside her and the pain of separation—but that didn’t happen, or it rarely did. Goodbyes were cut short. They were scenes that happened between lines and pages. The focus of the narrative was on her first day, her first time, her new beginning. I think it’s because this isn’t a book about letting go; Brooklyn is about Eilis finding herself.

Now that this is done, I can finally watch Saoirse and Domhnall in Brooklyn, the film!


My 2016 Reading Challenge

I have so many other things I probably should be writing about. My Japan travel series, for example, which I’ve been trying to finish since 2014(!) Or my Kay in the Bag series, since I promised one post every week. I’m supremely bad at keeping my blogging promises, but here’s another post I pulled out of a hat for ya. Happy New Year, kids.

Today let’s talk about books. Last year I read around three or four books. Maybe even less, I’m not sure. (To be honest I’m just trying to save face here. Does fanfiction count as literature?)

Even though I can literally cover my bedroom in books, I’m not a voracious reader. I’m relentless when it comes to book sales, but once I’ve emerged from the piles with my bounty and hinted at my victory on social media, I quickly realize I have five more books to read—on top of the five hundred I already have on my backlog. The pressure to read all the books I’ve acquired over the years pushes me into a state of distress and into the easy, undemanding arms of fanfiction (#Dramione, just gonna leave this here).

My workaround to this mild hoarding problem: push stuff around until I have a space where I can pile my purchases, taking great pains to make sure it doesn’t look like a hot mess.


As the new year jumped into view, I told myself—in a fit of bright, shiny, new optimism and motivation spurred by my dream of constant self-improvement—that 2016 is the year I’m going to be better. Better at reading, better about forming well-constructed opinions about the literature, better at cross-referencing texts on the fly, better at educating myself, better at being a better person. And I thought, what could be better than hitting the books? Finally get around to conquering that hill. That literal hill of books I have in my room.

Here are the twenty books I intend to read this year.

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