Kicking of the new year with me pushing myself to write again! Starting though with books as I haven’t watch almost nothing korean/asian related this year to justify me writing a post about that. But new year, new resolutions, new me trying to get back to something that I love!
So this year I read 29 books. I know, I know so close to 30 but let’s not cry over spilled milk* now! I’m looking to all the books that I’ve read and I can’t see anything that I didn’t like for the most part. Yes some choices were better than others but overall I think I had a pretty good reading year.
There are lots of aspects that someone can take into consideration when deciding if they like a book or not. The story, the characters, the ending, the writing etc. For me what makes the difference is if the book kept me good company and if the story “spoke” to me in a different level. What I mean by that last part is that sometimes you read a book at a specific period of your life and it just speaks to your heart a little bit more than if you’ve read it at a different time. Say it is because you feel a bit more vulnerable, say because something had happened and made you sympathise with the characters a bit more, it is that special thing that will make the book stand out more.
And now I should probably continue with the actual books and put an end to this long prologue. I should also probably mention that the books are in no particular order. And now onto the books!
1. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
I read this book in about two sittings. It was definitely one of those books that you call a page turner. An easy read but a read with depth. Two people found themselves in the lowest of their lives and by meeting and learning each other they start to see life with a different eye. I read the last pages before I had to leave the house and go out with some friends. I remember sitting in the subway and thinking, where am I going? What am I doing? These people, I can’t leave them like that. I can’t be going out and having fun with my friends. And then realising that they were only characters in a book. And nothing says that I enjoyed this book more.
It was a book the made me laugh and cry at the same time. It made me think a lot about the things that happen in life unexpectedly, things that change you altogether. I realised that sometimes in life you have to accept your situation, you have to accept the changes. Ι felt good with myself that believes that sometimes the decisions that people make for themselves, no matter how wrong they seem to others, they are in fact the best for them. And to accept that I need to try to live my life to the fullest.
“I will never, ever regret the things I’ve done. Because most days, all you have are places in your memory that you can go to.”
2. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
I was interested in reading this book for years I think. I think I had accidentally found out about the book while looking at the site of one of my favourites bookstores under their japanese section and had found the premise of it very interesting. I rediscovered it this year and bought and it was such a good decision.
Short sentences. Few words that capture the feelings of the characters. Loneliness, trying to find ourselves, identity, sadness, melancholy, death, living with the choices we make, dealing with the loss of beloved ones, companionship, finding someone who will understand the way you feel, finding someone who will be there for you without being “loud”.
Two beautiful stories about all the above written in a way that will touch you. I always find stories where one of the main themes is loneliness interesting because I kind of understand them. And these particular stories captured that feeling very accurately.
“No matter what, I want to continue living with the awareness that I will die. Without that, I am not alive.”
3. This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
This year I fell in love with Junot Diaz. I mean Junot Diaz’s writing. This year I’ve read two out of his three books- This Is How You Lose Her and Drown. I already have his third one,The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, that I’ve read a few pages of but I’m gonna save it for some time later because after that I will have nothing by him to read. And that makes me sad.
What I liked most about this book, and what got me hooked to read more from Junot Diaz, was his writing style. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is about it. It just seems effortless, which I don’t think that any writing of any kind is effortless for the person who is writing. It is like sitting with a friend and listening to their stories. Our sitting with the person that the story is about and listening them talking about something that happened to them. I don’t know how to explain it exactly. It is so distinct, so interesting, it seems so unique to me. His words are a combination of street talk and eloquence. I have this warm feeling every time I read something that he has written. It happened with Drown and with the little that I’ve read from The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
The stories are mostly about human relationships. The ups and downs, the mistakes people make, the difficulties of actually being with someone. But the stories that I liked most were the ones that also talked about everyday life, about the immigrant experience, about family and different kinds of love, about finding yourself.
“We could do anything […] We could start over. It’s all possible but neither of us speaks for a long time and the moment closes and we’re back in the world we’ve always known.”
So these were three of my favourite books of 2014. I’m hoping that if someone reads this will pick one up and read it. Books are amazing, you learn so much, they make you think and they entertain you. What more does anyone want really?