I love to read, and I love to talk about the books I like best with other people. Every couple months here on the blog I choose my favourites from what I’ve read lately and write about them. As always, you can see everything I’m reading on my Goodreads profile. You can also check out what I’m reading in real time at #stephlovestoread on Instagram.
2017 was SUCH a great reading year. It seems like every year when I tackle this big goal, I end up getting even more out of it than I did the year before. What a gift it is, to be able to access the minds of so many incredible thinkers and storytellers, to be able to soak up new ideas, to see through new eyes. There’s a reason it’s my all-time favourite hobby! I gain so much, both practically-speaking and in my soul.
This December I actually started a second book club in addition to the one I’m already a part of. It was such a treat to have yet another space to discuss great books with like-minded people and I’m excited to continue with both throughout 2018. I realize that I’m a giant nerd, but these are the things that make me happy, so that’s reason enough for me!
Here are the four books I liked best from the past couple months of reading:
The End of Absence by Michael Harris
After being blown away by his book Solitude, I got this one out of the library and read it right away. It was actually his first book in this ‘series’ of sorts about being hyper-connected, and the lack of space, absence, and breathing room in our lives lately due to technology. The book focuses primarily on the fact that we are the last generation to have grown up with one foot in each world: the offline world and the online Internet world, and perhaps the last generation to see the fundamental value of the world before technology (a pretty radical idea, these days). His argument is that something will have been lost to us collectively once everyone in the world is fully plugged in, and that we may begin to forget the merits and the beauty of the simpler, natural world. Although I preferred Solitude, this one was also excellent and won the Governor General’s literary award in 2014.
The Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey
My friend Laura got this for me as an early Christmas present, and it was such a treat to read! I love and respect Oprah so greatly, and am so impressed by what she has done on Super Soul Sunday with presenting spirituality in such an approachable and modern way. The show – and now the podcast – has had a big impact on my relationship with my spirituality and personal development. This book is laid out with quotes from her various interviews with thought leaders and teachers on Super Soul, along with beautiful photos of her property in California where they film the episodes. It’s stunning in so many ways, and I’m keeping it out on my coffee table to remind me of what I truly value.
The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King
This book humbled me in reminding me of how privileged I am, and how little I know about the history of Native people in North America. My uncle, who is a member of a First Nations band, has recently been delving deeper into this history and educating himself and others on the cultural and social implications of the colonialism and suffering that we have collectively and consistently inflicted on Native people since our ancestors first set foot in North America. It’s a powerful and painful read, but Thomas King is such a talented writer that he manages to somehow bring humour and levity to these serious and upsetting topics. I have been recommending this one to anyone I meet who shows even the most passing interest in social justice.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
I really, really loved this novel, which was one of the last things I read in 2017. I was also so excited to see that it made Barack Obama’s list of his favourite books of the year – great minds think alike, am I right?! The story is a familiar one of refugees and immigration, but it’s made unique because of the novel’s use of magical realism and whimsical story-telling style. I also particularly liked how the author never tells us which war-torn country the protagonists are from, and doesn’t let the book fall into using any clichés. It takes you on the journey alongside the characters in a beautiful and sometimes jarring way, humanizes the idea of a “refugee”, and does an incredible job of making its point. Highly recommended.
You can see all my book recommendation blog posts here.
What’s the best thing you’ve read lately? Tell me your recommendations!