A new year means new goals! One of which, for me, has been to incorporate more “fun reading” into my schedule. My major in college is English, so I do a lot of reading for class on a daily basis. Though most of my class novels are wonderful reads (and some even made this list!), I’m trying to get in the habit of working through a few pages of a book on my “To-Read Book List” before heading to bed. It keeps me from looking at my phone screen and settles me right in, so it’s a win-win. In no particular order and spread across all genres, I thought I’d talk about my favorite books and some of the books I want to read this year!
1. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
“‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.'” Quite possibly my favorite book of all time, this classic views a prejudice-torn South through the eyes and childish innocence of young girl Scout.
2. East of Eden, John Steinbeck
Set against the Salinas Valley in California, this was the first book I remember coming to fruition only at the end. It caused me to think deeply about humanity and about choice and free will. I love it now and always.
3. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
A must-read for any college student, this coming-of-age story follows a group of elite New England university peers who spend their days studying Greek and Roman classics until a mysterious night challenges everything they thought they knew.
4. The Ramblers, Aidan Donnelly Rowley
I just finished this, and it was such a beautiful nostalgic book about three friends — an ornithologist overcoming her anxiety about the future, a witty perfectionist trying to uncomplicate her love life, and an app-developer-turned-photographer with an ardor for poetry recovering from his recent divorce — paving their way, set against the backdrop of Central Park and New York City.
5. Moloka’i, Alan Brennart
One of the richest stories I’ve ever read, Moloka’i recounts the life of a young Hawaiian girl with leprosy who is exiled to the settlement of Kalaupapa, but never loses her zeal for life or her will to fight.
6. Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Katherine Boo
Following the tales of families living in the shantytowns of Mumbai, this book made me smile and also feel heartbreak. It’s incredibly moving and detailed with authenticity, which makes it all the more impacting.
7. Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling
I couldn’t make this list without a little Hogwarts. It’s the quintessential series to get lost in, time and time again — there is no greater fantasy. I love it with my whole heart and have developed a new appreciation for it as I’ve gotten older and read it again.
8. Persuasion, Jane Austen
I love a little Jane Austen now and again, and though Pride and Prejudice is wonderful, Persuasion is my personal favorite. It’s a love story that goes against societal standards and is filled with humor and banter.
9. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
New York is painted with the glitz and glam of high society during the 1920s in this classic, and I never tire of its fast-paced dramatics. Anything about New York immediately interests me, but Gatsby nears the top of that list for sure.
10. Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
Taking place during the French Revolution, this is my favorite Dickens’ novel. There’s mystery and suspense and upheaval from the masses of an uncontested country. I love it because it adds entertainment to history and is written with a little reflection and nostalgia.
11. Life of Pi, Yann Martel
I’m not surprised this has since been made into a movie because it is such a captivating, colorful story. It’s fantastical language and imagery is born out of the brain of a young Indian man named Pi after he’s shipwrecked at sea, stuck on a raft with a Bengal tiger, and journeys across the sea.
12. The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
This is a historical non-fiction that talks about the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 (See: the world’s biggest Ferris Wheel) juxtaposed against a huge crime scandal involving a serial killer that was simultaneously underway. It’s poignantly written and enrapturing without being overly graphic.
13. The Help, Kathryn Stockett
A heartwarming tale about racial tensions in the South and a quick white college graduate who decides to pen a tell-all book about the experiences of black maids in her neighborhood. It had me laughing out loud and wiping a few tears and even though I read it years ago, it’s a book I’ve never forgotten.
14. Open City, Teju Cole
Another book about a man wanderings through New York that is so vibrant in its description. Passages of this book have caught me by surprise so that I’ve read them over and over again in an attempt to better understand the lavish meaning behind them.
15. Milk and Honey, Rupi Kaur
This collection of short snippets of poetry and prose is best read when in search for a little inspiration. I enjoy it in small doses, but love how it makes me think about the world, love, and life.
16. The Lincoln Lawyer, Michael Connelly
Thrillers are my guilty pleasure, and this one is my favorite. Mickey Haller is a criminal defense attorney who takes on a high-profile case, in a hair-raising mystery that had me turning the page into the wee hours of the night because I didn’t want to put it down.
Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow
Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham
The Circle, Dave Eggers
Mademoiselle Chanel, C.W. Gortner
The Little Paris Bookshop, Nina George
The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins
What’s on your reading list? I’m always looking for recommendations!!!