Every New Years Eve I scratch down my list of - let’s face it - classically intangible and to-be unfulfilled resolutions. Reading more for pleasure is always on there. Most years start off strong only to fade out quickly thereafter. By the time December comes around, I stare at my sad ‘finished’ pile and vow to do better next time. This year, however, I’ve pleasantly surprised myself. 2019 is officially the ‘year of the book’!
There are few things that make me happier than finishing a book. I have a really difficult time quieting my mind, so when I’m able to sit down, focus, and pour myself into a good story, it’s a major win. I’m of the *potentially unpopular* opinion that the best way to enjoy a book is in its full physical glory - binding, parchment, ink and all (sorry Kindle lovers!). My go-to bookstore?
Don’t get me wrong, I love owning books, and when I have the space and $$$ one day, will dedicated an entire wall of my house to a custom built-in bookcase. Please follow-up in a few years! For now, I’m stick to reaping the benefits of my taxpayer dollars.
The library has always been a special place for me. Growing up, my dear Polish babysitter, Jenny used to take us there for hours. I adored Jenny beyond words. We’d sit in the aisles for hours paging through stories together and, after, she took me to every free arts & crafts class they had to offer. Most of the friends I made before the age of six were probably library friends. #NERD. Oh well, I loved every second.
Throughout high school and college, my love of libraries and reading remained. And when I was feeling lonely in New York City, there was nothing that an afternoon roaming through the aisles of an NYPL couldn’t solve. My first love has been and will always be fiction with memoirs coming in a close second place. I also enjoy the occasional self-help book when I need a kick in the booty. Over the next few months, I’m going to work on breaking into more non-fiction.
For recommendations on what to read, I love Goodreads (honestly one of the greatest platforms ever created) and Oprah’s Bookclub. I also pop over to the New York Times Best Sellers and check in with my mom to see what her book club is reading!
Here’s the latest and greatest from my shelves!
‘Cutting for Stone’ by Abraham Verghese - This was the first read of the New Year and I can honestly say it was one of the most beautifully written and moving books I’ve ever read. Marion and Shiva Stone are twins born in an Ethiopian missionary hospital to a British Surgeon and an Indian Nun. The story explores a powerful twin connection, coming of age in the midst of revolution, passion, healing, and so much more. Be patient as Verghese takes his time setting up the scene with detailed medical context, but I assure you every word is worth it. Perfect for a long vacation - it’s a chunky one.
‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman - A truly glorious Saturday morning read that you’ll finish before sunset. Eleanor Oliphant is quirky, odd and surprising, and she will steal your heart within the first few pages. The perfect mix of sad, touching, and hilarious. You will remember this story forever.
‘The Creative Curve‘ by Allen Gannett - I read this one in the midst of a creative slump, and it saved me. So often we’re sold the notion that groundbreaking ideas only happen from rare strokes of genius, but Gannett provides a different argument. Creativity has patterns and structure, and can be achieved by anyone at anytime with a bit of practice. Would recommend to any creative post-grad struggling to find his / her way.
‘Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail’ by Cheryl Strayed - I’ve actually read this one multiple times, and I think every 20-something-year-old woman should add it to her list. After the death of her mother and the decision to leave her husband, Cheryl decides to hike over a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail… alone. It’s a journey that breaks, strengthens, and ultimately provides her with a spiritual awakening that changes the course of her life forever. I will always have this one on my shelf.
‘Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar’ by Cheryl Strayed - Another Cheryl read from her time as “Sugar”, an anonymous newspaper columnist. This is the collection of her most-loved ‘Dear Sugar’ replies to readers.
‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama - Nothing further to say besides the fact that Michelle is an absolute queen and icon. Get this on your list ASAP!
‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’ by Jesmyn Ward - A complex family portrait that explores the life of Jojo, a thirteen year old biracial boy on the cusp of manhood in Mississippi. This one pulled at my heartstrings. Highly recommend.
‘Little Fires Everywhere’ by Celeste Ng - Was expecting big things given the fact that everyone was reading this, but honestly thought it was MEH. Definitely a page turner that I had to finish, but didn’t think it was anything to write home about.
‘Small Fry’ by Lisa Brennan-Jobs - This memoir, told from the perspective of his daughter, confirms that Steve Jobs was truly one of the most brilliant yet bizarre men of his generation. A fascinating and graceful deep-dive into Lisa’s difficult and longing relationship with her parents.
‘Educated’ by Tara Westover - A wild, true story about growing up as the daughter of survivalists in Idaho. Tara Westover explores the complex and conflicting relationships she has with her family, education, and dreams. Super interesting.
‘The Bullet Journal Method’ by Ryder Carroll - Bullet Journaling is something I used to do in college and was desperate to get back into this year. This book is from the inventor of the bullet journal method. Carroll tells you everything you need to know to get started, with a surprising amount of wisdom sprinkled throughout.
‘Crazy is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags’ by Linda Rottenberg - Emily Weiss told her former Glossier assistant Morgan Von Steen to read this when she was making the decision to leave Glossier and start her own company. Interesting insight into the world of entrepreneurs, risk-taking, and possibility.
‘An American Marriage’ by Tayari Jones - One of my favorite reads of this summer. Celestial and Roy are newlyweds in the South pursuing the American Dream when their relationship is turned upside down…
‘The Underground Railroad’ by Colson Whitehead - Just finished. Pulitzer Prize winner about one slave’s journey from a brutal plantation in Georgia to the Underground Railroad. Loved the story, but think the characters could have been developed a bit more. Still totally worth a read!
If you’ve made it this far, THANK YOU. To be honest, I’m not sure if people read anymore these days, but here’s hoping they do!
Any good ones to add to my list? Would LOVE any and all of your recs.
Leave me a comment below!