To squeeze together everything about 2019 in a post is a herculean task. For I can never write in words how much books have changed me inside out, how every story has molded how I view the world and how every character taught me empathy, resilience and love.
I’m sitting in front of my bookshelf that’s messy and unstructured, quite like life itself. Some books are placed perfectly in their place, others have toppled and reshaped themselves, trying to fit in, while some others are holding on to dear life. To squeeze together everything about 2019 in a post is a herculean task. For I can never write in words how much books have changed me inside out, how every story has molded how I view the world and how every character taught me empathy, resilience and love. I quit my job earlier this year to focus on working in the publishing industry. After interning for 3 months at BEE Books , I started working as an Editor which has been a lifelong dream. It was unnerving quitting a full time job to pursue a career in publishing knowing there aren’t many options where I live. I also travelled a lot this year, and spent quality time with family & friends. .
I didn’t write much at all considering it was supposed to be top priority. But hey, it’s never too late to start working on what you want.
In terms of reading, it has been quite a learning experience. I’ve read non-fiction & fiction, each widely contrasting to one another. I’ve had bouts of reading slumps, life getting in between everything, losing motivation et cetera. Through it all, I managed to read 42 books which I’m content with. The quantity doesn’t really matter at the end of the day, but if you want to read as many books as you can in a lifetime, such measures of counting and setting up reading challenges must be employed.
Here are the books I loved and recommended to everyone this year(in no particular order of publication):
- Educated by Tara Westover: If there’s one book you can read this year, let it be this one.
- The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
- My Sister,The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
- An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
- A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
- The Empty Room by Sadia Abbas
- Small Days & Nights by Tishani Doshi
- Eating Wasps by Anita Nair
- A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
Here’s hoping 2020 to be a blessed reading year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!
Some of my favourite books of 2016.
By now you must have already read a thousand posts on top books of 2016 and won’t care about what I have to say. But let’s just pretend you were waiting for this blog post? Okay?
2016 was a good year for me in terms of reading. I read some really great books while a few weren’t up my alley. 2016 was also the year I discovered what genre sparks my interest the most. I explored a number of psychological thrillers and historical fiction. I completed my Goodreads Reading challenge of reading 30 books “flips hair.”. Well, I know some of you nerds are going to be like, ‘Haha, I read 100 books last year, such a loser’. But for the first time in years I stuck to my plan. THAT IS LEGENDARY. This year, however, I have upped my game and I’ll try (emphasis on TRY) reading 50 books. If I fail, i’ll talk about it here on my blog because what’s better than public humiliation? To be honest, it is doable if you really want to read. Time management is tricky but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy. I’ll talk about time management in my next blog post.
The books I read were in no particular order of publication. I randomly chose to read them. Here we go:
- The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga: Never have I ever read a book that is brutally honest, irresistible and merciless. Aravind Adiga is a master storyteller. He painted a true picture of India’s poor, a brilliant satire on the miseries of the privileged and less fortunate. His story is well-crafted and has been narrated in retrospect. This book was published in 2008 and went on winning the 40th man-booker prize. White Tiger is a book I often think about. It’s not a love story, it’s not a psychological thriller, it’s not about magical realism. The story only tells the truth. The truth, however, can be right or wrong. But as one of my professors’once said, “There is no right or wrong, there are only consequences.”
- Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn: Speaking of psychological thrillers, you gotta love Gillian Flynn. I think she’s a brilliant writer, one of the best of our times. If you like dark, twisted, unreliable narrators, then Sharp Objects is the one. Bonus: You can also read Gone Girl, Dark Objects and The grownup by Gillian Flynn. I think I’ll read anything Flynn throws at me. Total fangirl.
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: This book will haunt you and it’ll make you cry. It did haunt me and I cried. Words fall short whenever I try to talk about The Book Thief. It’s a historical fiction set in Nazi Germany. Throughout the book I was in fear. Fear of the inevitable. I knew what was going to happen and I wasn’t prepared for it. Sometimes you read a book which takes away a part of yourself. The Book Thief is one of those books. Highly recommend.
- Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh: Shortlisted for the Man-Booker prize 2016, Eileen deserves all the praise. It’s a psychological thriller with a character that’s no where close to normalcy. The unreliable nature of the protagonist made the read even more interesting. It’s sad, weird, traumatic and fast-paced. I loved it. You can read my review of Eileen here: .Review: Eileen
- Before I go to Sleep by S.J.Watson: By now you must have realised my love for psychological thrillers. Well, this one is as good as the rest. It is now a motion picture starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong. The book keeps you on the edge and it can be the most annoying thing ever but also one of the best reading pleasures for someone who mildly suffers from ADHD (kidding). I wanted to know what would happen. My mind makes scenarios of the ending and i’m usually always right. BUT THIS GODDAMNED BOOK PROVED ME WRONG. I slept like a baby that day. You should definitely pick this one up. You can read my review here: Review: Before I Go To Sleep
- On Two Feet and Wings by Abbas Kazerooni: One of the most underrated books of the century. I think it is a powerful memoir of separation, loss, heartache and uncertainty. I feel really privileged to have read this book. The story of a 9 year old who due to tragic circumstances has to live alone in an alien country. His struggles, presence of mind and resilience help him survive. There’s just heartbreak written all over it. I wanted to give the book 10 stars. Just a pro tip: Keep tissues boxes handy. You’ll need it. Review is here: Review: On Two Feet and Wings
- Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda: Easily one of my favourite reads of the year and for the years to come. Set in post-war Nigeria where religious intolerance and fanatisicm coupled with social unrest were at an all time high, Ngozi painted a dark picture of the lives of people living with domestic violence. Chimamanda is a gifted writer and this being her debut novel marks her as one of the best women writers the world has ever seen. I can’t wait to read more of her books. Americanah is my next pick.
- The Secret Scripture by Barry Sebastian: The Secret Scripture is a beautiful poetic novel about a 100 year olf woman, Roseanne, who has been in a mental hospital for almost 40 years. The events leading to her psychotic disposition are unknown, but as Roseanne writes her tragic story, her psychiatrist, Dr.Grene tries to unravel hidden parts of her life which leads to a shocking revelation. The poetic style of writing truly makes Sebastian Barry an expert in storytelling. No wonder this book won the Costa Year Award in 2008 and was also shortlisted for the Man-Booker prize.
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: 2016 was the year I plunged into the beautiful world of classics. Wuthering Heights is hands down my favourite. I don’t think I need to say anything more about this novel. You probably have read it by now. If not, then stop what you’re doing and READ.
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: Another favourite classic. Dickens is a maser storyteller and it’s safe to say it is one of Dicken’s best novel.
Excited about 2017? I have a feeling it will be a year of great books! Do you see any of favourites here? Let me know.