It’s a sad fact that since I started studying English Literature at Uni, I have pretty much stopped reading. Of course I read the books required by my course (most of the time?), but it’s not often I enjoy it, even if they are books I was already planning to read. I’m sure this is the same for most Literature students – just the sheer amount of reading required makes it all just seem like a chore, and there’s barely any time to actually enjoy the books you spend hours looking over.
So, for the second year in a row, I’m setting myself a challenge to at least attempt to read 12 books for fun this year. If you read my previous post, you’ll know that last year this failed miserably, and I’ll be honest, it’s not looking too good for 2015 either. Nevertheless, even if I don’t manage it (I’m hoping I’ll get close), here are the 12 books I would read! They are split up nicely into two categories – biographies, and fiction. As a warning, one thing you won’t find in this list are ‘classics’ or hard reads. This is a list of easy reading for fun – I get enough ‘hard reading’ at Uni!
1. Mindy Kaling – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
I really like Mindy – she’s a successful comedian and isn’t ashamed to admit her flaws and even embrace them. I actually started this one already, and though I don’t think it’s the greatest thing I have ever read, I can definitely identify with a lot of her thoughts (the title, especially, struck a chord with me after having spent my entire life wondering the same thing), and she has had me giggling once or twice so far.
2. Sophia Amoruso – #Girlboss
This should come as no surprise to anybody, ever. I’m pretty sure every ambitious woman on the planet either plans to read this book, is currently reading it, or has already read it. In fact, my boyfriend started reading this out of boredom one day and enjoyed it so much he insisted I let him finish it first, so I’m already guessing it’s gonna be good.
3. Tanya Burr – Love, Tanya
I’ll be honest, I think I’ve been living under a rock having never really heard of Tanya until the last few months, and even then only knowing her for her beauty range. But recently there’s been quite a buzz, understandably, and she’s released her own book. Now I can say I’m definitely a Tanya convert, and consequently ordered this on Amazon just yesterday. Hopefully she can impart some pearls of wisdom, and entertain along the way.
4. Amy Poehler – Yes Please
Again, nothing too surprising. Of course I have to read Yes Please! This book has rave reviews, and Amy is definitely one of my favourite people on the planet at the moment – she’s a famous, funny, feminist, which is always a recipe for a great book. I once got her (and Tina Fey) in a Which Celebrity Duo Should You Be The Third Member Of? quiz, and I’ll be honest, it made my day a little.
5. Richard Ayoade – Ayoade on Ayoade
That lovely website, Amazon, sometimes lets you have a little look at books before you buy them. Thank you, Amazon, because now I know of the wonder that is Ayoade on Ayoade. Any fans of The IT Crowd will already know him of course as horribly awkward and unwittingly hilarious Maurice Moss, and it seems that Ayoade is almost exactly the same in real life. I can’t wait to read this!
6. Tina Fey – Bossypants
This book is far from being a new release, having been on my to-read list for a number of years. Maybe 2015 will be the year I finally read this book! I’ve always loved Tina Fey and her biting sense of humour (who doesn’t love Mean Girls?), and her roles in various comedies and presenting gigs have definitely cemented her as one of my top role models. If I could be anyone’s best friend, it would be Tina’s.
1. Donna Tartt – The Goldfinch
"Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld."
Another book with rave reviews, this one is often cited to be a page-turner and that is definitely something I want. The plot sounds mysterious, dark, but exciting. I’m looking forward to reading it.
2. Haruki Murakami – Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki
"Tsukuru Tazaki had four best friends at school. By chance all of their names contained a colour. Tazaki was the only last name with no colour in it. One day Tsukuru Tazaki’s friends announced that they didn't want to see him, or talk to him, ever again. Since that day Tsukuru has been floating through life, unable to form intimate connections with anyone. But then he meets Sara, who tells him that the time has come to find out what happened all those years ago."
I am already about halfway through this one. Murakami is a world-renowned author and definitely one of my favourites. Though this one is probably the hardest read on my list, so far it is my favourite. I can’t quite describe why I love Murakami so much, but just give Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki a fair chance and maybe you will too.
3. Karen Joy Fowler – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
"Rosemary's young, just at college, and she's decided not to tell anyone a thing about her family. So we're not going to tell you too much either: you'll have to find out for yourselves, round about page 77, what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other. Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone - vanished from her life. There's something unique about Rosemary's sister, Fern. And it was this decision, made by her parents, to give Rosemary a sister like no other, that began all of Rosemary's trouble."
The promise of a rip-roaring twist really got me – I’m a sucker for mystery. What on earth is unique about Rosemary’s sister, I don’t know, but I hope to find out soon.
4. Markus Zusak – The Book Thief
"HERE IS A SMALL FACT - YOU ARE GOING TO DIE1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier. Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall."
I’ve had this one on my shelf for quite a while, and I’ve read the first chapter. After watching the film, my interest in this book is even more piqued. Another relatively difficult read, perhaps more because of the subject matter than the story itself, this dark but touching WW2 novel seems like one that would be hard to put down.
5. Dave Goulson – A Sting in the Tale
Dave Goulson has always been obsessed with wildlife, from his childhood menagerie of exotic pets and dabbling in experimental taxidermy to his groundbreaking research into the mysterious ways of the bumblebee and his mission to protect our rarest bees.
Actually, this one isn’t fiction, and I apologise for the mix-up but I’m too lazy to re-open Photoshop and re-jig his whole post, so I’ll just leave this here. I’m not sure what else I could say other than that I really love bees, despite being mildly afraid of them. They’re pretty essential for the environment and this book seems both informative and entertaining at the same time. Save the bees!
6. James Dashner – The Maze Runner
When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he's not alone. He's surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade - a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they came to be there - or what's happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything - even the Grievers, half-machine, half-animal horror that patrol its corridors, to try and find out.
I think you’d have been very lucky (or unlucky) to have missed the hubbub surrounding The Maze Runner. Hailed as the next Hunger Games and with a wildly popular film adaptation, this is a book I felt like I had to read. I’m a huge fan of dystopian fiction, and the premise of this sounds edge-of-your-seat exciting.
So those are the books I’m hoping to have read by the time 2016 comes around, which will hopefully be later rather than sooner. What books are on your reading list this year? Let me know – I’m always open for book suggestions!