Seeing as I didn’t finish a single book for pleasure this year, this list is pretty ambitious. In my defense, I did have a lot of reading to do for school and I also started a lot of books and read many of them about halfway through.
I doubt I’ll read every book on this list, but here are some that I’m excited to start (and hopefully finish):
- Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling. As per my mom’s recommendation, I borrowed this book from the library and read a couple of her short essays on the last day before I had to return it on a 7-day loan. I wish I’d started reading it earlier because her writing style is personal and funny, and her sense of voice is great. Reading her writing makes me want to write and develop my voice to be as good as hers.
- Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari. I loved Master of None and his stand-up, so I figure this book will be a fun read and insightful.
- The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath. I’m ashamed to admit I was supposed to read this for an English class and never got around to it, but I liked what my T.A. said about The Bell Jar in our discussion section, so I made a mental note to get around to it. Then at the end of Master of None, the quote Aziz used from the book stuck with me. Fate brought the book to me at a used book sale at the library (thank baby Jesus everyone in Davis is so well-read and discards treasures like The Bell Jar).
- Lair of Dreams – Libba Bray. My step-mom introduced the young adult novel The Diviners to me in 2013 and I loved it. The story follows a New York City teenaged socialite in the 1920s who can touch an object and divine information about its owner, and communicate with the dead or with spirits. The sequel finally came out this year and I haven’t gotten around to reading past the first chapter.
- Truth and Beauty – Ann Patchett. I’ve been half-reading this book for over a year now and am afraid of finishing it because I know Lucy will eventually die, and I’m not emotionally prepared for that. But reading about Ann’s (I notice I refer to her as Ann even though I refer to other writers on this list by their last names because I feel so familiar with her and her writing. Plus I was fortunate enough to meet her after a talk she held at UCSB this year!) post-grad life makes me feel more hopeful about mine. If she can become a best-selling author after having to spend an off-year waitressing at a T.G.I. Fridays after she completed her graduate writing program, then there is hope for me too. All I need now is her talent…
- Patron Saint of Liars – Ann Patchett. I’ve read a few of her other books and her writing style is beautiful. Ann Patchett is easily my favorite fiction author.
- One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez. I picked up a copy of this at a tiny bookstore in Madrid over the summer!
- Perfume: The Story of a Murderer – Patrick Süskind. Yet another half-finished book I have sitting in my room. I bought this one at Shakespeare and Company in Paris.
- A Spy in the House of Love – Anaïs Nin. Love me some erotica (just kidding. Kind of). Bonus books: Delta of Venus and The Diary of Anaïs Nin.
- The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger. I’ve already read this two years ago, but it was so interesting that I’d read it again.
- The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt. This was recommended by both my grandma and my dad, and the first chapter was immersive and emotional.
- The Blind Assassin, The Edible Woman – Margaret Atwood. Feminism! I read an excerpt of The Robber Bride in my fairy tale literature course in 2014 and found it intriguing.
- Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami. They say judge a book by its cover, and I do so with the unique, aesthetically pleasing artwork on Murakami’s novels. The cover of Norwegian Wood stood out to me at City Lights in San Francisco, and the first few pages hooked me.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling. I’m not sure if these count because I’ve read them several times before, but they’re of my favorites and I’d love to reread them at this point in my life, and see what new meaning I can find.
- A Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling. If this book isn’t about Harry as grown-up, I’m demanding a refund.