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