New Year Reading List

Last week’s post was about my goals for 2017, and this week I wanted to talk about books I want to read that will get me closer to those goals. It’s mostly non-fiction because you can read the blurb and instantly know what those books will teach you; with fiction books you can only really tell in hindsight.

I’m not going to make a promise to finish all these books, because these year I’ve given up doing things for the sake of doing them even when my heart’s not in it – such as finishing a soup with far too much coriander to be considered “edible”, or finishing a book I dread picking up. So if I’m not enjoying a book, it now goes straight to the “Boring, didn’t enjoy” folder on my Kindle. But since I’ve mentioned these books specially, I’ll write reviews even if I don’t enjoy them.

On with the list!

Kama Sutra by Vātsyāyana – contrary to popular Western belief, this book is not a sex manual. It’s a guide for a wholesome and fulfilled life that, yes, does include sex. I want to read it because it’s both a lifestyle “manual” and because it’s an ancient Indian text and it calls to that idea that ancient civilisations knew what was up and somehow in the modern age we’ve lost that. I’m interested in seeing how applicable it will be to my life.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – hailed as a great feminist work, this story is about a new republic that has sprung up after the fall of the United States and in this republic women are used as baby-making machines and have no other purpose. I tried reading it once before but this time I want to try more seriously.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay – this book is a collection of essays written by Roxane Gay, a professor and writer for The New York Times, on stuff she does that might seem counter-intuitive given her stances on feminism. In short, it sounds like the book version of The Guilty Feminist podcast, which I’ve only just started listening to but I love (it was the body hair episode that got me hooked – #desigirlproblems).

Quiet Power: Growing Up as an Introvert in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain – (for someone who considers themselves “quiet”, her book title won’t shut up.) The reason why I stayed away from these books for so long is because I saw Susan Cain’s TED talk and in it, she equates “introversion” and “quietness/shyness” too much for my comfort. They are two separate terms with distinct meanings and there is no correlation between them yet this is the popular image of introversion that gets spread, just because some people share these personality traits.

However, I thought I would try reading this version of her popular book made for teenagers and young adults, because I find that they’re usually easier reads than the main adult version, and because I want to see if the hype surrounding these books is worth it. Hype, by definition, generally is not worth it, but at least if I try it and I learn something then it’s good.

Honourary mention: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – I know I’m going to end up rereading this at some point anyway, and the only reason I’m including it here is because I want more people to be aware of this book. Whenever I’m going through a difficult time in life, this book teaches me something to help me overcome it. I learn something new every time I read this book and for that it deserves to be mentioned.

If you have any other suggestions for me, please leave me a comment below! I might have 200 books in the “To read” folder on my Kindle, but when has that ever stopped me from buying more books anyway? How do you think I acquired 200 “To read” books in the first place?

– S

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