2015 Book List

booksThis year, I only made four resolutions, but I should really add a fifth: read more. While I still prioritize getting lost in a good book, I noticed that over the course of 2014, I didn’t read as much as I’d like for a variety of reasons (coughSherlock, Downton Abbey, Call the Midwifecough). B isn’t much of a reader, so lots of times I’ll choose to watch a movie with him instead and I’m afraid this is becoming a bad habit.

So! Because reading is one of my favorite things and to get me going again, here’s the top (first) novels I want to read this year:

Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson: I first discovered Kate Atkinson in grad school and fell even deeper in love last spring while reading the brilliant Life After Life. Human Croquet is one of her earlier novels and follows the course of siblings Isobel and Charles. I don’t know anymore about the plot than that, but don’t need to. Atkinson’s writing is as evocative, lyrical and sharp as it gets.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert: This is one of the classics that, for me, has always slipped between the cracks. This is probably the first book I’m going to get my hands on and, while I’m happily married, I already feel like I relate to Emma Bovary. Sometimes life feels so routine; who doesn’t dream about an escape?

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant: I recently joined a book club and Anita Diamant’s newest novel (an Amazon Best Book of 2014) is this month’s read. B and I were recently in Boston, so I’m looking forward to exploring the city through the eyes of a young immigrant woman at the turn of the century.

Anything by Ian McEwan: Every once in a while you come across a writer who thrills you, so when it comes to Ian McEwan, I can’t choose which of his novels to read first—I want to read them all. I’ll let you know what I end up choosing, but Sweet Tooth (since I didn’t get around to it last year) and Saturday top the list.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: I’ve read nothing but beautiful reviews regarding this New York Times bestseller set in occupied France during the second world war, and have already been waiting weeks to get my hands on it (all copies are checked out at the library). I’ve become fascinated by the countless faucets of WWII, but hardly know a thing about the occupation of France. Trusting in this novel to educate and delight me.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway: Was there ever a more glamorous time in literary history than 1920s Paris? Accepting this might be the closest I ever get to this magical decade, A Moveable Feast is a must.

The Mermaid’s Daughter by Jo Baker: Longbourn was easily among the best books I read in 2014, and Baker’s newest novel, to be released in March, sounds even more strange and wonderful. I rarely read fantasy novels, but trust Baker to create a world in which I don’t want to leave.

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster: Until I have the chance to explore this breathtaking place for myself, I’ve been getting my fix of India through great novels. (I’d highly recommend Behind the Beautiful Forevers and The Space Between Us). I find the intersection of Indian and British culture and identity especially interesting, making Forster’s novel an essential read.

What great books did you read last year? I’d love your recommendations!
Em
P.S.  I finished A Farewell to Arms last night and I’m still making up my mind about it (love the writing, digesting the plot). At times like this I miss being a student for the rich discussion opportunities! And I’m a geek.

P.S. S. There’s still a couple novels from last year’s list I still need to read, but plans got derailed when I decided to finally sink into The Harry Potter series. See! I told you I’m a geek.
Picture courtesy of littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com

New Year, New Goals

2014We’re a week into 2014 already and before another day goes by, I want to commit my goals for the year on paper. 2013 was a very special year–one where I felt safe and really grounded–but I’m looking forward to all this new year holds. I’m ready for new adventures and new ideas and a year of new books. With that, I’m making a few resolutions to bring more joy and less worry into the new year:

1) Write More. Sitting down to write creatively for more than a few minutes has long alluded me, but I want to change this in 2014. My sister knowingly gave me Writing Down the Bones for Christmas and I’m learning again and again that, like brushing my teeth and doing the dishes, writing needs to be a non-negotiable in my life. I’ve already signed up for a creative writing class next month and I don’t even care if my writing is good or, more likely, terrible. I just want to write.

2) Stay present. I never use to be much of a worrier. I always did well in school, but in high school and college I was never too worked up about grades or my social life. When did this change? When did I become a chronic worrier and someone consistently racing ahead to tomorrow? This year, I want to be present and enjoy the small pleasures of each day.

3) Healthy as a lifestyle. Throughout this past year, my workout routine and healthy eating was largely in spurts and, without too much thought, I too often skipped the gym and ate a bit too much popcorn in front of the TV. This year, I want to focus on being healthy not to lose weight, but to simply feel better on a day to day basis. More vegetables, less sugar, more movement, less stagnation!

I am so incredibly blessed and want to keep living with gratitude. I want to let Brady know how incredible he is on a daily basis. I want to be content with the clothes I already have. I want to cook more in our tiny, cosy and perfect kitchen.

Have you made resolutions? What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?

Have a great one everybody,

Em