I love reading, it’s an amazing thing to do in your spare time and has many benefits that you would never think of. Reading is a great way of expanding your vocabulary knowledge and improving your memory. It provides us with the ability to think in a more creative manner and have better analytic skills; specifically, if you are focused on mystery novels! As well as its long-term effect of reducing the chances of one suffering from Alzheimer’s and Dementia in the future. You get the idea, right? Reading is the perfect hobby to have!
The last few years I have not read a single book and I’m not happy with this. As one of my new year resolutions is to read more books, I figured I would do it in a more creative and organised way. That being that I have already decided which books I will be reading over the course of this year. Which I will be talking about in this post! Although only setting myself one book per month, I believe with the lack of spare time I have nowadays and after not reading a book in years, it is a sensible number to stick to.
Throughout this post I will be using the Goodreads.com book synopsis on each individual book as of course, I have not read them!
January – Animal Farm – George Orwell
I’ve decided to start the year off with a short book just to ease myself into the swing of it. Starting with Animal Farm by George Orwell! This book was one that my higher English class had the choice of studying, yet strangely enough I chose a movie called It’s a Wonderful Life instead. So, to test whether I chose the hard route or the easier route I’m going to give it a read. I can’t wait!
Goodreads synopsis –
A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned –a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.
February – Norwegian Wood – Murakami
Back when I was in school, almost everyone had their face stuck in this book and I’ve just never got around to giving it a read. Haruki Murakami is a Japanese writer whose originally written in Japanese books have been translated into over 50 languages due to high demand. If that’s not telling you something, then I don’t know what will. This book must be good if everyone worldwide is wanting to get their hands on it.
Goodreads synopsis –
Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.
March – Lincoln In the Bardo – George Saunders
George Saunders is an American writer who writes a wide variety of pieces, from short stories and children’s books to fictional novels. Lincoln in the Bardo is on my list of books to read this year as I was gifted this book fairly early last year and it just sits on my shelf. The book cover is very interesting and I can’t wait until March comes around to give it a read!
Goodreads synopsis –
Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices—living and dead, historical and invented—to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?
April – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Okay so, this book appears on my feed at least twice a day now that i’ve fully immersed myself into the blogging community. Asides from it’s aesthetically pleasing cover (which let’s be honest, was the main reason I purchased the book) it has a really interesting synopsis and appears to be a very inspiring and emotional book.
Goodreads synopsis –
No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. The only way to survive is to open your heart.
May – Other Minds – Peter Godfrey-Smith
“The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness”
One thing not a lot of people know about me is that i’m obsessed with all things science, philosophy and space. Other minds is a scientific books which I am so excited to read! I thought instead of sticking to fictional books I’d add a few non-fiction/scientific books to fulfill my urge to learn everything I possibly can. Although my interests are specifically to do with Octopus and sea life, i’m curious to see if this sparks a new interest, I may even become a sea life master!
Goodreads synopsis –
Peter Godfrey-Smith is a leading philosopher of science. He is also a scuba diver whose underwater videos of warring octopuses have attracted wide notice. In this book, he brings his parallel careers together to tell a bold new story of how nature became aware of itself. Mammals and birds are widely seen as the smartest creatures on earth. But one other branch of the tree of life has also sprouted surprising intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus. New research shows that these marvelous creatures display remarkable gifts. What does it mean that intelligence on earth has evolved not once but twice? And that the mind of the octopus is nonetheless so different from our own? Combining science and philosophy with firsthand accounts of his cephalopod encounters, Godfrey-Smith shows how primitive organisms bobbing in the ocean began sending signals to each other and how these early forms of communication gave rise to the advanced nervous systems that permit cephalopods to change colours and human beings to speak. By tracing the problem of consciousness back to its roots and comparing the human brain to its most alien and perhaps most remarkable animal relative, Godfrey-Smith’s Other Minds sheds new light on one of our most abiding mysteries.
June – Why We Do the Things We Do – Joel Levy
Another scientific book! Ahhhh I’m so excited. This book literally screams my name. I often find myself questioning so many things that no one ever appears to have the answer for, but I’m hoping Levy does. Joel Levy is a well known science writer who wrote this book focusing on psychology and human minds.
Goodreads synopsis –
Can you really tell a criminal by the bumps on his head? What does a memory look like? Can a machine think? Why are some people shy? Is it better not to feel so much? These are some of the many questions that have troubled some of the greatest thinkers in human civilization, and they are discussed in this comprehensive yet accessible introduction to psychology. The complex workings of the mind have fascinated mankind for centuries, but the key theories of psychology are often so complicated that it is almost impossible for the casual reader to understand. This book will demystify the key questions by tracking their origins in the writings of some of the most prominent thinkers in various fields, showing how these ideas and concepts have developed over time. With each section broken down into the key concepts, issues, and arguments, considering how these ideas influence the way we all go about our daily lives, Why We Do the Things We Do illuminates these fascinating subjects.
July – The Colour Purple – Alice Walker
Another book which always appears on my social media feed and goodreads recommendations. I chose this book because the synopsis really drew me in, it seems again like another inspirational story that fingers crossed comes out in a happy ending. Back in school I loved studying history and one of our subjects was American history and slavery, hence why I gravitated towards this novel.
Set in the deep American South between the wars, it is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually, Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.
August – Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse
Good old Buddhism, I’m obsessed! I actually already know the full story of Siddhartha as this was what I studied in school during Religious Studies! Which I actually have a qualification in. I chose this novel as I love to ponder into the world of how different authors interpret the story and the way in which they chose to write about it. Bring on August!
Herman Hesse’s classic novel has delighted, inspired, and influenced generations of readers, writers, and thinkers. In this story of a wealthy Indian Brahmin who casts off a life of privilege to seek spiritual fulfillment. Hesse synthesizes disparate philosophies–Eastern religions, Jungian archetypes, Western individualism–into a unique vision of life as expressed through one man’s search for true meaning.
September -The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
I read somewhere online that this book is perfect if you are stuck in your ways and need a change, it’s all about decision making and following your dreams. Living a life that makes you happy is very important to me and hopefully everyone reading this. Maybe this book will give me the incentive to change.
Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.
October – Beloved – Toni Morrison
Another book about American history? Yes, indeed. I figured adding another story with the same idea as The Colour Purple (well at least I hope they are the same idea) would be a good idea again to see how two different authors can write two completely different stories about the same topic. Plus, I generally just love a bit of American history!
Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.
Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.
Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison.
November – Emma – Jane Austen
This book was gifted to me by my lovely grandmother at the beginning of this month as she has a thing about buying books with pretty covers, and needless to say the hardcover of this book is very beautiful and I can tell why she picked it up. I’ve never read a Jane Austen book before, but I hear she in a staple author. Hopefully I become obsessed and can purchase more books for the coming years!
Clever, rich – and single – Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen’s most flawless work.
December – Confessions of a Sociopath – M. E. Thomas
I chose this book solely because it’s been sitting on my shelf for over 2 years now and I think it deserves a read. I struggled to find a book to read in December, so I was over the moon when I saw this little guy chilling just waiting for me to pick him up! This book seems quite similar to Why We Do the Things We Do although instead of non-fiction, this one in fiction.
The first memoir of its kind, Confessions of a Sociopath is an engrossing, highly captivating narrative of the author’s life as a diagnosed sociopath.
She is a charismatic charmer, an ambitious self-promoter, and a cunning and calculating liar. She can induce you to invest in her financial schemes, vote for her causes, and even join her in bed. Like a real-life Lisbeth Salander, she has her own system of ethics, and like Dexter, she thrives on bending and occasionally breaking the rules. She is a diagnosed, high-functioning, non-criminal sociopath, and this is her world from her point of view.
So, that concludes my monthly reading agenda! If you have read any of these definitely let me know what you thought of them. If I happen to finish a book early and still have some spare time, I have a few books on the side waiting to be read. Here’s a little list:
- Stephen Hawking – Brief Answers to the Big Questions
- Ernest Hemingway – The Moveable Feast (Hemingway is a fave of mines)
- Carlo Rovelli – Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
- William Shakespeare – Othello, A Midsummers Night Dream
- Emma Gannon – The Multi-Hyphen Method
- Marie Kondo – The Life Changing Magic of Tidying
Alongside these books I have also been reading The Intellectual Devotional by David S. Kidder and Noah D.Oppenheim which in essentially one lesson every day on the seven fields of knowledge. It includes 365 daily lessons and so far every single thing has been extremely interesting. I can’t wait to finish this year and reflect on the books I’ve read and find out if setting myself a plan helps me get back into the swing of reading!
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin
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