Last year, I posted my favourite books here on the blog every couple months. In 2015 I’ll be doing the same, choosing the books that inspired me or spoke to me the most, and sharing a little bit about them here. As always, you can see everything I’m reading on my Goodreads profile!
1. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
I read this one in a mini-book club with a friend of mine, which was the motivation I needed to finally get into this book. I’d tried twice before to read it and never quite got into it despite adoring all of David Mitchell’s work. But this time around once I got past a certain number of pages I was completely hooked, so if like me you find the first few chapters a bit dry just stay with it because it is oh-so-worth-it. It’s a historical novel which is not always my thing, but the book is so beautifully written and very clever and so captivating. There are parts that made me gasp, other parts I just wanted to read out loud because it was so lovely, and the ending was gorgeous. It’s very literary, but it ends up being an adventure story as well. Highly recommend.
2. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
A friend of mine has the best taste ever in books and has introduced me to many of my favourites (including this one and this one), so when I saw him post on Facebook that Station Eleven was probably the best book he’d read ever, I put it on my list instantly. I just read it last week and it was completely compelling and frankly, terrifying. It’s a story about the world as we know it ending (in a way that seems quite honestly far too plausible for comfort) and what comes after. It’s also stories about people, and how we all affect each other in ways we don’t know, and about the importance of art and the unimportance of so many other things, and human nature. It caught me up to the point where I sometimes wanted to stop reading because it made me feel so nervous, but it is incredibly good.
3. A Path Appears by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
I’ve written about an idea from this book before and had tons of impassioned conversations about it, so it’s safe to say that it left an impression on me. I watched this powerful interview with the authors on MarieTV which made me interested in their approach to giving and international aid. Their approach is really down-to-earth and practical, encouraging giving in ways that seem to really cut to the chase and get to the real heart of problems, especially taking more early-childhood or proactive approaches. They recommend several awesome organizations that are doing great work and profile lots of people doing amazing things to give back more into the world. It’s a really fantastic book.
4. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Would you believe that I’ve never read Austen? I’ve tried halfheartedly a couple times but I always thought her books seemed stuffy and old and a bit irrelevant. But a good friend of mine whose taste I trust made a strong case for these novels so I finally picked up Sense and Sensibility and oh man am I a convert. Turns out Austen is hilarious and on point and completely relevant to my life today – yes, really. Her writing is clever and witty and while the language is old, the ideas and the studies of human behaviour are just as helpful today as I’m sure they were when they were written. My new favourite thing is to identify men that are “Such a Willoughby!!”. It’s really fun. If you’re me. I’m planning to read Emma next.
You can see all my book recommendation blog posts here.