It’s 2019! Truth be told, I haven’t made a new year’s resolution yet. I don’t think I even believe in it anymore, to be honest. But if I do, one thing’s sure to be included in the list: read more books. 2018 was one of my most disappointing years yet—even in terms of this. I was only able to read three books. I can make up excuses and say I’ve been busy, but the truth is, it’s on me. I’ve been pretty distracted and am having difficulty with even finishing the third one. This year, I already have a list of books I’m eyeing on reading. Multiple sites have already released a list of upcoming must-read books and a lot of them really do sound promising. I’ve narrowed down my list to nine books.
Bourdain: An Oral Biography
The unexpected death of Anthony Bourdain was one of the things that truly shocked me in 2018. This authorized biography edited by Laurie Woolever gathers the stories and anecdotes of the people he was closest to. Like most people, I would like to understand the genius chef and writer, and insights by “the people who knew him best” could certainly help me do that.
Merchants of Truth: Inside the News Revolution by Jill Abramson
Fake news is a thing we’re struggling with, not just here in the Philippines. Here, a former editor of the New York Times discussed in-depth that global epidemic by recounting scenes at her former employer, as well as at BuzzFeed, VICE, and the Washington Post. It’s something I’m interested in as a member of the press, but I think a lot would benefit from this read, as our the ever-changing media landscape’s effects on democracy was also touched.
The Wall by John Lanchester
The much-awaited new novel from acclaimed novelist John Lanchester is also set to come out this year. I love myself a great dystopian read. I think it’s interesting given our current political climate. The Guardian describes this title as “The Road meets Never Let Me Go” and according to Google Books, it’s about “why the young are right to hate the old” and an all too familiar “broken world” and what’s left of it when it’s too late to save it. Needless to say, I’m intrigued.
Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami
I’m one of the people completely captured by the storytelling of Haruki Murakami. This one is a short story that’s actually part of his “Birthday Stories” anthology which was first released in 2002 (And which I haven’t read, unfortunately.) To celebrate Murakami’s 70th birthday on Jan. 24th, the story will be published on its own and I can’t wait to grab a copy.
Dear Mr Faber: The Untold Story of a Great Publishing House by Toby Faber
Confession: I’m obsessed with all things Sylvia Plath. And her connection with independent publisher Faber and Faber is what drew me to this. In celebration of their 90th anniversary, they’re releasing this publication which tells the story of how the tiny firm ended up being the literary vanguard of a generation by publishing not just Plath’s works, but also that of other great contemporary writers, like TS Eliot, and Seamus Heaney.
Consent: A Revolution of Desire by Laurie Penny
As a feminist, I have a natural inclination to read Laurie Penny’s study of rape culture. This “urgent” and “unapologetically radical” title by the journalist and feminist activist will be based on her Longreads series, which was recently nominated for a National Magazine Award.
The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh
This “The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Virgin Suicides” debut novel praised even by Margaret Atwood tells the story of three sisters who live on an isolated island. Led to believe by their king (who mysteriously disappeared and the only man they’ve seen) to fear men and the outside world, they were forced to discover the secrets to their past, their parents, and of their cult-like society’s truths when men from outside world suddenly washed ashore the island. It’s also a dystopian novel, but with heavy feminist themes—just the way I like it.
Unquiet by Linn Ullmann
Another fiction in my list is Lin Ullmann’s novel, which was inspired by a conversation she had with her father, the legendary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. A family story told in reverse, it’s about a writer who plans to publish a book about her famous father. While doing her research, she discovers her past and wrestles with the feeling of loss and realization of how much time has changed.
Talent by Juliet Lapidos
Another novel about a writer and her work, this debut novel tells the story of something I find really relatable: A writer looking for inspiration. It’s a funny, coming-of-age story about a grad student trying to write a dissertation about artistic inspiration (oh sweet irony.) She accidentally meets the niece of a renowned author and soon develops an obsession with his unpublished notebooks and manuscripts which discussed how he dealt with writer’s block.
Art by Marian Hukom
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