I’m not one for New Years Resolutions, I think they make you feel more guilty than accomplished. Or I’m just lazy and don’t want to commit to a year-long goal. You be the judge.
However, I am aiming to read more in 2017. Specifically 30 books. Hopefully more. I fully intend to use this as an excuse for staying in on the occasional (read: every) weekend.
Here’s what I read in January:
The story begins in 1922 when the Bolshevik tribunal sentences Count Alexander Rostov to house arrest in the Metropol. As decades of Russian history unfolds outside of his reach, we follow the journey of the count as his own world unfolds. I was completely captivated by this book and the way Towles crafted such beautiful characters and scenes all in the confines of a hotel. My particular love of this period of Russian history made it even better.
“He had said that our lives are steered by uncertainties, many of which are disruptive or even daunting; but that if we persevere and remain generous of heart, we may be granted a moment of supreme lucidity—a moment in which all that has happened to us suddenly comes into focus as a necessary course of events, even as we find ourselves on the threshold of the life we had been meant to lead all along.”
The story of two childhood dancers and a friendship that ends, but is never forgotten. Interweaving friendship and music from London to West Africa, Zadie Smith creates a journey of how we are shaped by things of our past and how we can survive them. This was my first Zadie Smith book and it is far from my last. There were some moments where the larger story seemed to get lost in the details but her ability to observe and write on humanity and it’s complexities has me hooked.
“A truth was being revealed to me: that I had always tried to attach myself to the light of other people, that I had never had any light of my own. I experienced myself as a kind of shadow.”
In a series of essays to his son, Coates reflects on being black in America through personal and historical events. Incredibly thought-provoking and readable in under two hours, it was a good check on my white privilege and the ways America is systematically constructed to oppress black people.
“The forgetting is habit, is yet another necessary component of the Dream. They have forgotten the scale of theft that enriched them in slavery; the terror that allowed them, for a century, to pilfer the vote; the segregationist policy that gave them their suburbs. They have forgotten, because to remember would tumble them out of the beautiful Dream and force them to live down here with us, down here in the world. I am convinced that the Dreamers, at least the Dreamers of today, would rather live white than live free.”
Three women in their early twenties find themselves wandering aimlessly through life. While they live off-grid for a year in hopes of running away from their problems and finding themselves, they find that there are some problems you can’t run away from. I finished this in four hours and while it’s not a book I might have picked off the shelf, I devoured every word Erika Carter wrote — natural, and forced while leaving me full and still wanting more.
“It was beautiful, she thought, but what do you do with it? It seemed as though it wasn’t enough just to look at beauty — you had to do something about it — as though you had to destroy it to be satisfied.”
Lucky You was an early release courtesy of Book of the Month.
I’m an enthusiastic member of Book of the Month, which is how I found most of these books. The picks are always spot on — it’s usually hard to limit myself to only one — and it’s great knowing I have a book coming my way each month. Get a membership discount when you join here.