Many moons ago I made a New Year’s resolution to read one book per month. It has since transformed into my annual reading list. With motherhood, however, comes diminished free time and fewer books on my lists, but here are the titles that earned my attention in 2017.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Absolutely enthralling. I hated putting this book down at night! I’m a fan of historical fiction so learning about Afghanistan before and after the Taliban came to rule through the friendship of two boys from different classes was incredibly interesting. The sport of kite flying was also a first for me. I found the Kite Runner to be a touching tale of betrayal, guilt and redemption that opened my mind to new worlds, cultures and experiences. You can be certain Hosseini’s second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns will be on my list for 2018.
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
This was not at all like a typical war novel. The author explores the art of storytelling — fact versus fiction, memory versus imagination — while sharing the accounts of a group of U.S. soldiers fighting on the ground during the Vietnam War. Despite the blurring of truth, the purpose of the story is what matters most. War is never an easy subject matter, and neither are the tales told in this novel. Without giving it away, the ending left me forever haunted.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Knowing the author is going to die in the end won’t make this book any easier to read. It is Dr. Kalanithi’s memoir, in which he battles stage IV lung cancer and shares his insights and experiences as a doctor and patient through it all. I openly cried while reading this book. I seriously contemplated my own mortality. I was also inspired by his spirit. His story is so well written that it encourages me to lead a more “virtuous and meaningful life” now — while I still can — which is always a good reminder.
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
I received this book as a gift and it is filled with uplifting, purposeful advice. Every one of us faces calamity and adversity in life, and the authors share some tactical ways for strengthening your ability to not only survive the storm, but thrive thereafter. There is a distinct style difference between the authors — Adam is more statistical while Sheryl brings the emotion — however they meld well enough to give you a complete picture. Keep highlighter in hand while reading this one!
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I enjoy re-reading my favorite titles after some time has passed. I usually catch something new or something resonates differently based on life experiences. To Kill a Mockingbird is certainly an all-time favorite that I’ve read a few times, but most recently as a refresher before reading her second — and last — novel (below). It’s worth every bit of the acclaim it receives and is a classic chronicle of American history.
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Like many, I suffered a major perspective shift of my much beloved hero, Atticus Finch, but understandably so as this is a novel about growing up and coming of age. Although written before To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman is its sequel and chronicles the personal growth and development of Scout as she develops into a young adult. It’s a story of fallen idols, disillusionment and staking claim to one’s own beliefs and values.
So now it’s your turn… have you read any of these? What did you think? Any great book suggestions for 2018?