I’ve got to admit, I love making New Year’s Resolutions. I tend to have so many good intentions but at the end of the day, most of them turn out to be too much effort or not much fun (looking at you, diet and exercise.) But the one resolution I consistently make and fully mean to stick to is to read more. I love looking at books, hearing about books when people recommend them to me and even buying books, but they usually end up in a sad, ever-growing pile on my shelf. However, at the end of last year I sort of got into a reading habit, I’m enjoying it, I feel good about it, so hopefully I’ll stick to it! So, I’ve compiled a list of books I’ve been hearing about and really want to read this year. Here they are!
How To Be A Woman – Caitlin Moran
I have just finished reading How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran (which I bought when I was looking for How To Be A Woman) and was surprised by how much I got into it. I have been wanting to get hold of How To Be A Woman for a while having heard that it’s funny, relatable reading with a strong feminist message. Amazon describes it as “part memoir, part rant,” so I think and hope it might help me out with my own rants.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou is another author who has been on my list for a while. I’m quite ashamed that I have never read anything of hers as she was and is such an influential voice on the subject of equality, both for women and people of colour. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is the first book in the series that makes up her autobiography, so I think it’s a good place to start.
The Power Of Now – Eckhart Tolle
My mum and brother have been telling me to read this book, you guessed it, for a while. I’m always interested in new ways of thinking and living – The Power Of Now is all about focusing on the present moment, where problems don’t actually exist. The beginning of a new year seems like a good time to read this book – challenging my existing ideas and thought processes might mean a new beginning.
A Snow Garden – Rachel Joyce
I got this little collection of short stories for Christmas and have actually read the first couple. They remind me of Milan Kundera (my favourite author)’s stories – little snippets of everyday life and relationships, as felt by the people living them. Even though the characters are fictional, they are very human and their stories are touching and full of love, sometimes in unexpected places.
Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
Homegoing jumped out at me from a list of 2016’s Best Fiction Books. The story follows two sisters from Ghana (where Maya Angelou also lived) who follow very different paths – one sold into slavery, the other marrying a slave trader – and the effects of their lives in on future generations. It’s another book with really important themes and messages, and reviews have highlighted how powerful it is.
The House On Carnaval Street – Deborah Rodriguez
Also on my list of books I’ve been wanting to read for a while is The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez, so I will surely read that, but I also discovered the author’s autobiographical novel, The House On Carnaval Street: From Kabul to a Home by the Mexican Sea. Given that I’m about to go and live in Mexico, how could I resist? I’m also noticing a theme developing in my reading list – self discovery. I’m looking forward to reading about the author’s journey from one ‘home’ to another in a quest to find her place in the world.
The Psychopath Test – Jon Ronson
The Psychopath Test doesn’t really fit in with the other books I want to read this year – it’s not a heartfelt, life-changing novel full of hope and inspiration. It’s a humorous take on Jon Ronson’s investigation into the rationality of society. Are we actually all motivated by madness? I loved So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by the same author, so I can say I really like his way of writing and questioning the way people as a group think and behave.
I hope I’ll read these books and more in 2017. I really admire people who read a lot, even if they’re not “important” books with powerful messages, I just think it’s a lovely thing to do – way better than watching TV or scrolling mindlessly through Facebook. I want to be one of those people who always has a book or two on the go – I actually think everyone should be able to answer the question, “what are you reading at the moment?” And I think books are a great thing to talk about with other people – they give us ideas.
Anyway, that’s the resolution I’m sticking with for 2017. What’s yours? I’d also love to hear about your favourite books and what you’re reading right now – let me know in the comments!