Besides Anna Karenina (which I’ve already posted about) I have a lot of books I want to read this year—though hopefully this list of my top ten won’t take all year. I’ll try to review/post about each one when I complete it, just to keep myself writing and paying attention. I always have such a long list of “to be read”, but I never really keep track of how well I complete it. This year seems like the perfect time, since I’ve decided to attempt the 50 Book Challenge. I obviously need to keep track of my reading
- Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
This is the book I selected from my Book of the Month subscription box, and I’m so excited to start it. The blurbs I’ve read say that it’s one of those books that span generations of a family, which is really just excellent. The story follows a Korean family, beginning with a daughter who becomes pregnant and marries in a hurry to prevent disgrace. She moves to Japan with her new husband, and from there she and her family struggle to make this new country ‘home’. I so rarely read books set in Asia or about Asian families, so this should be a wonderful learning experience.
- Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
I first heard about this book through Youtube (John Green) and I’ve had its title stuck in my head since then. I admit, it first caught my attention because the author shares a first name with me, but after doing a little research I got interested in the actual story. It’s an autobiographical account told through poetry about the author’s experiences growing up in the 60’s and 70’s.
This seems like one of those books that is Important, with a capital ‘I’, one that will stick with me for a long time. And, again, I’m trying to diversify my reading, so that the author is African American is just a bonus. It seems like a story kind of similar to Pachinko in that it’s going to cover a long time period, but it is fixed on one person so I can really get into the narrator.
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
After reading Americanah, I got very interested in African literature. It’s not something we often study in classes (the focus tends to be African American authors, not African), and I’d like to close that gap in my knowledge a little bit. This story follows two half-sisters born in Ghana, one sold into slavery and another married to a slaver. Apparently, the enslaved sister is taken to America and her future generations grow up in slavery and the story, again, follows each set. I seem to be very interested in generational stories, it would seem. I assumed from the title that it is the story of how the future generations return home to Ghana? I’m not sure though. Reading two stories in such direct contrast with each other in terms of their experience should be fascinating.
- The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
This book came into my life while I was watching booksandquills’ latest video about her trip to Essex, in which her friend is reading this exact book (most appropriate). After looking through the Goodreads description, it seems to be a mystery covering the conflict between science and religion through two characters who “agree on absolutely nothing…[but] find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart”. I’ve heard great things about this one, and it should make a nice changeup in my reading.
- Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz
I found Fig through a Pin specifically about books that deal with mental illness. The story follows a mother and daughter, both struggling with mental health problems. The mother is slowly losing her grip on reality as her schizophrenia gets worse, while her daughter struggles to take care of her mother and herself. It’s been described as a very honest portrayal of mental illness which, as someone with mental health issues, I always appreciate. I’m also desperate to know more about schizophrenia, since it is so incorrectly portrayed in most media. It is a very misunderstood illness, so reading a book that treats it appropriately should be enlightening.