I decided to challenge myself to read 100 books in 2015, but try not to focus too much on it and just take it day by day. These are the books I’m planning to read in January:
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
I’m sort of embarrassed to admit that despite being an English Lit major and a fan of hers, I’ve only read two Jane Austen novels. I watched The Jane Austen Book Club, and while it was pretty cheesy, I really liked the idea of reading books by a single author and discussing them with friends. I already started a book club late last year and put forth the idea. So we’ll see how that goes. But regardless, I’m excited to finally read all of her works, in order of publication. And I’m excited to watch movies based on the books I haven’t read, since I’ve been holding out on those as well.
Bitch In a Bonnet: Reclaiming Jane Austen from the Stiffs, the Snobs, the Simps and the Saps (Volume 1) by Robert Rodi
I laughed out loud when I saw this title on Amazon and since it was only a couple dollars and had good reviews, decided to purchase it.
I really enjoy reading literary criticism and others’ perspectives on books, especially classic literature, which can be challenging. I figured this book (and other volumes in the series) would pair well with my deep dive into Jane Austen.
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
Here’s the publisher’s description: In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying, but before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in a ways she can scarcely imagine.
I added this book to my kindle and intended to read it in 2014. I opened it last week and before I knew it, had already blown through the first five chapters. A good sign.
Lila by Marilynne Robinson
Here’s the description from the publisher: Lila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a small-town Iowa church—the only available shelter from the rain—and ignites a romance and a debate that will reshape her life. She becomes the wife of a minister, John Ames, and begins a new existence while trying to make sense of the days of suffering that preceded her newfound security. Neglected as a toddler, Lila was rescued by Doll, a canny young drifter, and brought up by her in a hardscrabble childhood. Together they crafted a life on the run, living hand-to-mouth with nothing but their sisterly bond and a ragged blade to protect them. But despite bouts of petty violence and moments of desperation, their shared life is laced with moments of joy and love. When Lila arrives in Gilead, she struggles to harmonize the life of her makeshift family and their days of hardship with the gentle Christian worldview of her husband that paradoxically judges those she loves.
I’ve heard nothing but praise for this book, and I’ve been excited to read it for months. Which is how long it’s sat on my library holds list. But lo and behold, last week I found a copy available to check out and snatched it up. It’s been a long time since I’ve read Gilead, and I’m wondering if I should revisit it before reading Lila.
How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer
“Can true love exist if it’s been planned from birth?” Like a jewel shimmering in a Midwest skyline, the Toledo Institute of Astronomy is the nation’s premier center of astronomical discovery and a beacon of scientific learning for astronomers far and wide. Here, dreamy cosmologist George Dermont mines the stars to prove the existence of God. Here, Irene Sparks, an unsentimental scientist, creates black holes in captivity. George and Irene are on a collision course with love, destiny and fate. They have everything in common: both are ambitious, both passionate about science, both lonely and yearning for connection. The air seems to hum when they’re together. But George and Irene’s attraction was not written in the stars. In fact their mothers, friends since childhood, raised them separately to become each other’s soulmates. When that long-secret plan triggers unintended consequences, the two astronomers must discover the truth about their destinies, and unravel the mystery of what Toledo holds for them—together or, perhaps, apart.
I loved Shine, Shine, Shine, and I’m hoping I’ll love this book just as much.
Things I Don’t Want to Know: On Writing by Deborah Levy
‘Perhaps when Orwell described sheer egoism as a necessary quality for a writer, he was not thinking about the sheer egoism of a female writer. Even the most arrogant female writer has to work over time to build an ego that is robust enough to get her through January, never mind all the way to December.’
One of my main goals for 2015 is to write every single day. Reviews of this book make it sound like an inspiring read, and I’ll take all the inspiration I can get.
10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris
I joined Audible last month and I gotta say, selecting one book per month is really tough. I’m not always a big fan of self-help (even books that claim to not really be self-help) but this book had really good reviews so I decided to give it a whirl. I like the idea of meditation and finding ways to quiet my mind and stop worrying and thinking ahead. But I struggle with meditation and constantly find my mind wandering. I’m hoping this book has some good tips to avoid that.
Happy reading and Happy New Year!