I got a Goodreads account in 2016 and set myself a target of reading 20 books, which I’m surprised to have completed!

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Here are eight of the twenty books that I read, which I would recommend for anyone to read in 2017:

Late Fragments – Kate Gross

Kate Gross was a high flying politician, who worked at Number 10 for two British Prime Ministers while she was only in her twenties. At thirty, she became the CEO of a charity working with fragile democracies in Africa. She married the man of her dreams and had two boys and everything was looking bright until she got diagnosed with advanced colon cancer.

She wrote this book as a gift to herself, something for her two boys to read when they grow up and as a reminder that she could still create while her body was self-destructing. She offers her best advice on how she thinks life should be lived and reminds the reader of the importance of friendship and love. She also discusses what it is like to live your life as joyfully as possible in the face of tragedy.

This book was really eye-opening and reminded me that in the times of adversity, I need to think remind myself that I need to make the most of my time on this planet and not take things for granted.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chobsky

This book is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up. It’s about a boy named Charlie and his attempt to navigate his way through uncharted territory of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends. He is really shy, intelligent and not popular at school, but things start changing when he makes new friends.

The Dogs I Have Kissed – Trista Mateer

This collection of poems by Mateer, is a compilation of words raw with emotion and feeling. She shares experiences with different partners, heartbreak, moment of love and pain. I liked the poems, but perhaps because I don’t read much poetry, I found some of the poems quite confusing. Still a good read nonetheless.

The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde

This classic play is absolutely hilarious. It’s about a case of mistaken identities, secret engagements and lovers entanglements set in the late 19th century. A century later, a lot of the plot is seriously relatable. The characters Wilde creates are eccentric and witty, all easily distinguishable from one another and the plot is full of unexpected plot twists.

Last Train to Istanbul – Ayse Kulin

This was one of my favourite reads ever. It speaks of love, religion and war. The story follows Selva, the daughter of Turkey’s last Ottoman pashas and her falling in love with a Jewish man called Rafael Alfandari , instead of a Muslim one like her father desired her to. She decides to go against her parents and marry Rafael, escaping to Paris to build a new life.

When the Nazis invade France, the family are in danger because of Rafael’s ethnicity. Selva uses her status as the daughter of the most prominent people in Turkey, to help thousands of Jewish people, with any connections to Turkey, to flee to safety on a train to Istanbul. Will the train get there safely? Will her family forgive her?

Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari

Again this was a really funny read. The book’s layout wasn’t how I expected it to be. I thought it was going to be a thorough analysis of love in the modern age, but instead it combines Ansari’s own experiences with factual information. It was a really light and thought-provoking read!

Making Heimat, Germany Arrival Country – Oliver Elser

This book accompanied the German Pavillion’s Exhibition at the 15th Architectural Biennale. It has a collection of short essays, interviews and infographics on the effects of immigration and solutions on how to best integrate immigrant populations into the arrival cities. It’s a perfect read for those moments when you’re stuck in a debate with someone who usually engages with anti-immigrant rhetoric.

The exhibition was based on Doug Sanders’ Arrival City, which I am yet to read in the new year. His book discusses the positive impact of immigration and the role of the receiving country in ensuring successful integration. Here is a review of the exhibition and if you can get the book from anywhere, it’s a great one to add to your coffee-table.

The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings – Edgar Allan Poe

If you’re into crime and investigation stories, these are the OG investigative short stories you should read. They have really strong metaphors, which once you figure out, will make you want to read the story again in order  to understand it better.

This year has been very hard from a global perspective, but some new things happened to me, which also made 2016 one of the best years of my life.

Got braces and had them removed 

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Okay so this was not cool and it wasn’t a fun experience, but I am so glad that I had braces on for most of this year. It was painful and completely knocked my confidence, but boy was it worth it. At least I have straight teeth now.

Wrote for different publications and managed a great team of writers

I became the editor of the Warwick Tab because it kind of fell on my lap. The whole editorial team from before were going on a year abroad, so there was no choice but to leave it to me. It has been such an incredible opportunity and my confidence has grown as a writer, and as an editor so I’ve branched out and written for MVSLIM, the Student Situation and a few magazines at university.

I had to manage the Warwick Tab from abroad and deal with two deputy editors leaving me in that time. I’ve recruited 15 new writers and our team has consistently been in the top 10 universities in the country, when it comes to views. We have completely smashed our targets and our team has become autonomous for the first time ever, meaning that we’re self governing.

Had two of my best friends visit me and meet my family in Jordan

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None of my uni friends have met my family, because they live abroad. So having two of my best friends visit me in Jordan was honestly one of the best weeks of my life. We had many fun adventures together, including the time my anxiety got so bad that I thought ISIS was going to kidnap us from our tents in the middle of the Wadi Rum desert.

Started learning Arabic and interned at a Jordanian NGO

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I spent my whole summer in Jordan, so I took the chance to learn a little Arabic, which I desperately need to keep up. I also interned at Microfund For Women, which was an incredibly eye-opening experience. I made such good friends there and I hope to see them again someday!

Lived abroad for three months

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may have mentioned that I lived in Venice for the first term of third year. It was the most fantastic opportunity. I made the best of friends with the girls that I lived with and learned a little Italian as well. I traveled to Padua, Florence, Rome and Milan, so Italy is quickly becoming one of my favourite countries.

Finally learned how to do push-ups

This might sound funny, but my upper body strength was non-existent, so push ups were not possible in the slightest. Slowly but surely, I became stronger and can now do push ups. Next goal, pull ups!

Reconnected with old friends

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I was terrible with keeping in touch with people at the beginning of first year because I went through a very socially anxious/paranoid period. However, I got over that by going on holiday with people I haven’t properly seen in two years. I had the best time and it was great to know that nothing changed and everyone was still as lovely as ever.

Went slightly viral on Twitter

It started with me tweeting a thread of the funniest moments in British television and it just went crazy viral and I trended #8 in the UK at one point, which was quite cool!

Cut myself a fringe and got my nose pierced

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I got my nose pierced when I was visiting my friend at Nottingham. I woke up and told her we’re getting my nose pierced because I had a dream about it. The fringe was also a spontaneous moment, after watching a show called Don’t trust the bitch in number 23, I had the sudden urge to cut myself a fringe. I grabbed my roommate’s scissors and just went for it. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the fringe, but I’ve always wanted to rock one, so it’s been a fun experiment.

It’s been a while since I have actively shot with my trusty Nikon and some of you may know that photography used to be a great past time of mine. Ever since I purchased the Canon G7 Powershot, I have carried it in my bag. Its compact size means that I don’t have to carry bulky equipment with me. Nowadays, I focus less on the composition and more on capturing the moment, which is why I like taking capturing people in action.

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