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Books That Are on My To-Read List for 2018

For me, 2017 was about Kazuo Ishiguro, Murakami, Zadie Smith, GRR Martin, and gawking at the Red Queen’s book cover. That cover is bangin’. I am still wondering whether I should start reading the series, so if you have read it, put in a word.

The trouble with to-read lists — or to-buy or to-do lists — is the anxiety that follows, which heightens exponentially if I miss a book or if I’m unable to make time. So I’ve listed 12 books, and 12 only, one for each month because that seems manageable. Some of the books listed below were published more than a year back and have been patiently collecting dust on my bookshelf. Others are anticipated releases for 2018. All in no particular preferred order.

If you’ve read any of these, leave a comment. If you have any of these on your list, leave a comment. If you need to make fun of my failure at picking better books, leave a comment. If you have pizza, then definitely leave a comment.

I’m starting with a YA for good reason. It’s not what I always pick when I’m looking for a good read, but there are some YAs and NAs that you just can’t ignore. I’m actually doing a bit of research on young/new adults, for my own novel, so this seems pretty appropriate. Besides, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda will be here as a movie soon, so I want to get through this coming-of-age story on gender and sexual identity, before it does. While the themes of friendship, growing up and finding out who you are, may seem done-to-death, the reviews have been extremely positive about character-development and style — and that’s what’s already gotten me excited!

The praise for this haunting story of fourteen-tear old Turtle Alveston and her father, Martin, is insane! Trigger books, again, are something I’ve avoided for the last two years. But not this time.

“Fourteen-year-old Turtle Alveston and her father, Martin, live on a large plot of land on California’s Mendocino Coast. Martin believes the fall of civilization is fast approaching, and he forces Turtle through harsh training in order to prepare for the future. He also abuses her sexually, verbally and physically, with his moods erring towards a desire to punish her. As a result of her mistreatment, Turtle has internalized Martin’s misogyny and vulgar cruelty, which manifests as a warped vision of her identity.”
— Bridey Heing, Paste Magazine’s interview with Gabriel Tallent

A YA again (I told you…research), this one with multi-cultural threads, that focuses on a young Muslim girl who’s caught between her aspirations of going to film school in NYC and crushing on a boy and those of her parents (eventual marriage to a nice Muslim guy). A story of what we want vs what is expected of us. The family runs into complications when a suspect behind a terrorist attack that takes place far away from their surroundings, shares the same last name as them.

I can’t go anywhere, watch any literary videos on Youtube, or read any blog post without this book being mentioned. A chapter or so, of this bestselling read that looks at police-violence, youth and friendship from a black girl’s eyes, is available for preview on Amazon, and I love how colloquial the writing is. Relateable, easy-flowing, witty at the get go and most importantly shattering when it need to be shattering. I can’t wait to dive into the story.

From The Atlantic
“This question of appearance versus reality recurs throughout The Hate U Give. Starr, familiar with perceptions of her neighborhood, community, and herself, code-switches to adapt to her environment and others’ expectations.”

Another trigger book for me but I have been wanting to read this memoir since close to f-o-r-e-v-e-r. From the reviews, it is clear what a brave book this is. The struggle with weight, body image, sexual abuse and the uphill climb towards self-preservation and strength, are issues that run deep with me.

The Guardian writes of the book and Gay: “Nowadays, she sees hunger, in a metaphorical sense, as a driving force: “The older I get, the more I understand that life is generally the pursuit of desires.” It is good to learn she has a happy relationship with someone she refers to, with sweet ambiguity, as “my person”. But there are no easy resolutions here. She admits to Googling the boy/man who raped her [assumed name, Christopher], now an executive at a major company. She rings him and, when he answers, is unable to speak. They listen to each other’s silence. She writes: “I need to understand, at all times, the distance between him and me.” One cannot help but wonder whether this book might reach him, close that distance, make contrition possible. Unlikely, I suppose. Some weight is impossible to lose.”

Oh. My. Word.

While in the process of writing my own multi-generational-contemporary-novel-bordering-on-literary-and-probably-will-turn-out-to-be-shitty novel, I’ve been reading through family dramas and books that take a raw, insightful look at women’s lives (which can get depressing, yes…but can also be inspiring).Mrs C Remembers looks into the exhausting roles played by women in a political, urban Indian setting and probes the dynamics between a woman, her mother-in-law and her daughter.

“Still, even with her dodgy memory, Mrs C is such a relatable character because she is the kind of woman who doesn’t necessarily have to exist as a person. She could be a confluence of ideas, or a representation of practices, or an echo of beliefs all of us have encountered, quietly saying things like, “women don’t take public transport” but also “I will fiercely protect you with every inch of me.”
When the novel ends, there are no questions left about her illness, or where it came from, or why it came. Sankar reassures us, with humour and compassion, that forgetting is okay.”


OK, wait. Before you raise an eyebrow at this, hear me out. The book may not have come out to glowing reviews. In fact, The Washington Post’s version is hilarious and insulting in equal measures. i mean, this is what they had to say:
“Dan Brown is back with another thriller so moronic you can feel your IQ points flaking away like dandruff.”


But I categorize Dan Brown’s work under ‘fun and easy reads’. I have to admit that I did enjoy Digital Fortress and The Da Vinci Code out of all of them. The other were, well, not too impressive. But Brown’s writing style is easy and he doesn’t bore by flexing his literary muscles. His books especially fill in the gaps made between two seriously good, well-written, hard-hitting books. And that’s why Origin is on my list this year.

Detective Daniel Hawthorne is back working a new case where he — and so meta this is — needs help of bestselling author Anthony Horowitz to solve the crime. Any Anthony Horowitz always promises a gripping crime story and they are, somehow, always difficult to put down. I loved Injustice and I’m looking forward to reading this too!

At the outset, let me mention that I haven’t read The Girl on the Train. I only watched the movie, and I loved it. So I’m including Paula Hawkins in my New Authors to Read list, this year. I was a little disappointed in the review that appeared on NYT, but there is a silver lining about the plot that revolves around mysterious deaths of women in the town of Beckford; it is way more complicated that her previous work and it does have twists that most readers crave.
“So on the bright side for those who insist: A few of the book’s many killings happen for unexpectedly powerful reasons. The one that occurs in 1920 delivers a particularly strong shock. And even though Hawkins does a lot of needless obfuscating just to keep her story moving, she blows enough smoke to hide genuinely salient clues. “Clues” isn’t quite the right word, since nobody in this book behaves logically, schemes cagily, has legitimate motives or relies on any sane staples of the murder story.
“Into the Water” chugs off to a slow, perplexing start, but it develops a head of steam at an
unlikely moment. It has exactly one smart, perfectly conceived Hitchcockian page: its last.”

The father and son duo discovers what the world would be like if there were no women around. Or, if they were in deep sleep due to a virus, to remain undisturbed unless you want them to change into murdering zombies. The review while has been a bit mixed and not all shining (!), most critics agree the first half is exhilarating a la King, enough to take the book riding through to the end. And let’s face it, a King fiction is never out of place on anybody’s shelf.

The much awaited memoir from the founder of the Black Live Matter movement. I mean, even before reading reviews or critiques, I can only imagine what a fascinating and difficult journey it might have been and how it has shaped the brilliant — and highly necessary — movement as it is today. I’ve watched Khan-Cullors speeches and interviews, and I’m filled with admiration, and inspiration every time. This book simply had to be on my list.

Another YA (I know, I know)! Look, just look at that cover! I’ve been lusting after this cover since last year. In fact, all the covers in the series are exceptional. The book has been around since 2015 actually, but I only just heard of the series in 2016. And the 27-year old author’s work on this series is quickly achieving cult-status in the world of fantasy genre. My experience with series books include LOTR, Harry Potter, Hercule Poirot, Robert Langdon and A Song of Ice and Fire. My experience with fantasy is even more limited, to be honest. But with all the buzz around this series, that revolves around a fictional world where its occupants are divided into four groups based on the color of their blood, and praise for Aveyard’s tight writing skills that will apparently keep the reader on edge, I’m willing to give this one a try. If only to research writing styles.

Go on. Tell me which ones you’re planning to read. And which books do you think should have been up there? I will also be doing a list of self-published books I plan to read soon, so stay tuned.
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