This page is a collective list of the books I read this year, in somewhat chronological order (my memory is faulty). I have added symbols to distinguish these books as “Books I Loved” and “Books That Grew Me as a Reader.” I have added little explanations to each book that falls under one/both of the categories. These explanations may include why it was challenging/lovable, or maybe it includes my perspectives on the book, or maybe both. I like to leave a little room for surprise, you never know what’s coming.
Books I Love = 💗
Books That Grew Me as a Reader = 💪
💗Room by Emma Donoghue- This young adult novel was not very challenging, however I enjoyed this book greatly. The main character, Jack, is the most lovable character, I have never found myself so attached to a fictional child. It exposed me to a life I didn’t know existed, and led me to other books similar to this one, such as a much more difficult book, A Stolen Life.
💪Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse- Hermann Hesse tells the story of Buddha, and his transformation into enlightenment. This retelling of Buddha’s story allowed me, an nonspiritual being, understand a belief system to lead me to feel spiritually involved. It is beautifully written and captivating.
💗💪Blindness by Jose Saramago- This book challenged me as a reader to try more difficult, adult-style books. It is extremely interesting, incorporating human morals and took me on a journey, leading me to worry what would happen if I turned blind like the characters. The Christ figure in Blindness was my favorite part of the book, and caused me to be more interested in books with Christ figures, such as The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe.
Antigone by Sophocles
💗Tweak by Nic Sheff- This autobiography about growing up on methamphetamines was not only hard to read because of the raw truth it held, but was eye opening and completely changed how I saw the world. Hearing what it is like to be on the other side of the common understanding, this man’s story made me view people on the street from eyes other than my own. It educated me on addiction and rehabilitation and how rationalized addictions can become to the user. Incredibly interesting, and a must read for everyone interested in growing.
💗💪A Stolen Life by Jaycee Duggard- This autobiography of a recent story in the news was so difficult to read, I felt sick at times. It was so interesting to hear from the Jaycee herself on her situation and how she formed Stockholm syndrome without even realizing it. Stories like this are very challenging, the fact that it is non-fiction make them incredibly difficult to digest. This was like the real version of Room, a book I read earlier in the year.
💪Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe- This is a book that I found myself having a hard time finishing. It was challenging in such a way that I was not attracted to the book, even though I found the storyline interesting. In fact I think this curiosity I held onto is what kept me going, but the writing style itself was not enough to keep me captivated. So it grew me as a reader simply because I managed to finish it, and found that finishing the book was quite rewarding.
💗The Rose Society by Marie Lu- This young adult novel was not challenging but incredibly interesting and enjoyable to read. I love Marie Lu, and anything she writes I can’t resist to read the second it is released. I loved this book but the concepts and writing style was not challenging as is young adult and I am familiar with Marie Lu’s style.
💗💪The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling- This book was very challenging at first and it definitely grew me as a reader. The writing style was incredibly unique to any other book I have read, even previous J.K. Rowling books. I really loved analyzing the characters and themes in this book. I especially loved how the characters all seemed to share a selfish quality, I found that to be a constant theme throughout the book.
💪The Stranger by Albert Camus- Now I didn’t necessarily love this book, but it was challenging and I believe my ability to understand concepts strengthened while reading this novel. This was the first book I read that introduced me to “absurdity,” which made understanding and liking characters very difficult. I did enjoy the idea that the main character in this book was an older version of Holden Caulfield, because both characters had somewhat indifferent views of the world. Interesting concepts in this book that I enjoyed discovering.
💗💪Brave New World by Aldous Huxley- This book was quick to grow on me. Honestly the only part of this book I didn’t love was the first chapter, which I swear was written in a completely different style than the rest of the book. The characters were easy to love or hate, they all had distinguishing qualities and their development was interesting to see. It was a nice challenge as well considering it was an adult novel, with dystopian concepts that made me reconsider what it means to be happy, to be civilized. In fact this book led me to write an essay about what it means to experience genuine emotions, titled Savage Happiness. You can find it on my blog 😉
💗The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood- This book I chose after hearing my friends’ opinions of it, and I’m incredibly happy that I chose it, as it has made it onto my Top Ten favorite books. I was captivated by Offred’s ambiguity as a character, in fact the entire storyline had an aire of mystery, thanks to a lack of explanations. I have found that I love books that challenge me, and while I did not find this book challenging, I loved it anyway. The style this book was written in was too addictive, I was honestly sad to finish it.