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I wrote recently, for those who have been following me, that one of my New Year resolutions was to read more books, in numbers that’s 50 and so far it’s going well. Up until now, I have read 30 books, and my Goodreads Reading Challenge list says that I am right on track, which makes me happy but also proud. If I complete the challenge, it will be a great achievement for this year for me.
There is no system of how I chose what to read; yes, I have a ‘to-be-read’ list but I see it more as a list of suggestions that fluctuates, and it happens a lot. My TBR grows all the time, and I add books to the list based on a wide range of scientific criteria such as friend recommendations, articles or reviews of bloggers/readers/websites that I like. Or book covers that I love, a glance at the bookstore window and seeing something that I want. Or a photo of a book on a social media, a pick of my two toddlers decided on by their colour preference at that particular moment, etc.
All these criteria helped me chose the 30 books that I read so far, and out of those 30, I made a list of five favourites that I liked and enjoyed the most. Books that provoked me to think more about a particular subject or to think and see something in a different or new way.
- The Incarnations by Susan Barker. This book was recommended to me by a woman whom I was never introduced to officially, but we have known of each other for years, and we developed a certain relationship through a mutual dear and esteemed friend of ours. Only in July, we became friends on Facebook by our love for books and book recommendations. The Incarnations is as surreal, and as original, like my friendship with gorgeous Alison. It is multilayered, imaginative and gripping with beautiful language and storytelling. It expands the mind of the open-minded. Amazing.
- The Vegetarian by Han Kang. This is one of these WTF books. I liked it because it is provocative, dark and tells a story about freedom and obsession and how we can quickly turn against ourselves in obsessively trying to free ourselves.
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Black-and-white comic strip memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution and devastating war with Iraq. It is heartbreaking but funny in showing daily contradictions between the private and public life of individuals and families. Magnificent.
- On Writing by Stephen King. A beautiful and friendly memoir, practical with essential tools for mastering writing and because of it all, it is so inspiring and empowering. Entertaining and fun read. Masterful as expected.
- What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Stronger by Stephen Joseph. This is one of quite a few books I read in the past five years about trauma and healing because of my personal circumstances, and it is not related only to 2016, but I keep this one on my nightstand and use it as a manual. The psychologist Stephen Joseph combines twenty years of experience of working with trauma survivors, with ancient philosophy, evolutionary biologists and positive psychologist to show us step-by-step how trauma does not have to ruin one’s life. Instead, it can improve it by going through change and finding new meaning, purpose and direction in life. It has been a practical guide for me, and I recommend it with all my heart.
The order of books is random, and it was not easy to limit myself to only five, but there will be more reads and more list to come. I was quite lucky with the selection so far as there was only one bailout this year, I guess I should thank my toddlers for their colour scheme selection system.
What are your favourite reads this year?