This year, I plan to read 52 books. Obviously, I can’t plan each and every book I will read. However, I do want to squeeze these 18 books into my 2018 reading…
Happy Thursday, everyone!
Today I’m going to be setting up my TBR for 2018. I do little ones of these every month, but this is the big one! I didn’t do one of these last year, but this year I think it will be good to have something to aspire to. So, without further ado, here are 18 books I want to read in 2018! (In no particular order…)
1984 by George Orwell
I read Animal Farm a few years ago now, but I don’t think I was mature enough to really appreciate the book. This year, I’m going to be trying 1984. I’ve heard so much good stuff about this book, and am recommended it so often. Let me know in the comments what you thought about 1984!
Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell’s nightmare vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff’s attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell’s prescience of modern life–the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language–and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
I have been intrigued by this novel for a long time and picked it up on a whim the other day when I had some spare time in a bookshop. (Lethal!) I know the two are only linked by title, but I want to read this after 1984. I don’t know, it just feels right!
The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.
A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.
As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.
A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s — 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.
An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
I loved Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro, and when I saw this in Waterstones the other day, I was unexplainably drawn to it. I can’t wait to get around to this book – the synopsis is so intriguing!
In An Artist of the Floating World, Kazuo Ishiguro offers readers of the English language an authentic look at postwar Japan, “a floating world” of changing cultural behaviors, shifting societal patterns and troubling questions. Ishiguro, who was born in Nagasaki in 1954 but moved to England in 1960, writes the story of Masuji Ono, a bohemian artist and purveyor of the night life who became a propagandist for Japanese imperialism during the war. But the war is over. Japan lost, Ono’s wife and son have been killed, and many young people blame the imperialists for leading the country to disaster. What’s left for Ono? Ishiguro’s treatment of this story earned a 1986 Whitbread Prize.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I’m getting more and more into dystopia and science fiction recently, so what better to follow that up with than a book that is recommended to me almost on the daily! I’ve been meaning to read The Handmaid’s Tale for so long, and (hopefully) 2018 will be the year I finally do it!
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
I purchased this book last year, but haven’t dared to start it yet! It’s so long, and the subject matter is so daunting! However, I am resolved to read this book in 2018!
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.
Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
My TV habits have shifted more to thrillers in recent weeks, so why not let this also infiltrate my reading habits? I find thrillers so exciting, and Night Film looks like a great example of a book that’ll keep me guessing.
On a damp October night, the body of young, beautiful Ashley Cordova is found in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. By all appearances her death is a suicide – but investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. Though much has been written about the dark and unsettling films of Ashley’s father, Stanislas Cordova, very little is known about the man himself. As McGrath pieces together the mystery of Ashley’s death, he is drawn deeper and deeper into the dark underbelly of New York City and the twisted world of Stanislas Cordova, and he begins to wonder – is he the next victim?
In this novel, the dazzlingly inventive writer Marisha Pessl offers a breathtaking mystery that will hold you in suspense until the last page is turned.
There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
This book looks like so much fun! I read and adored all of Perkins’ previous novels – all romance – and I can’t wait to see what she does with the horror/thriller genre!
Makani Young thought she’d left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She’s found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn’t far behind.
Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.
Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
In Stuck in Love – one of my favourite films – 2 characters bond over their love for this novel. I have never heard of Dear Mr. Henshaw in any other context, so I am both intrigued as to what the characters loved about it, but also why the scriptwriters chose this book for them to bond over.
After his parents separate, Leigh Botts moves to a new town with his mother. Struggling to make friends and deal with his anger toward his absent father, Leigh loses himself in a class assignment in which he must write to his favorite author. When Mr. Henshaw responds, the two form an unexpected friendship that will change Leigh’s life forever.
From the beloved author of the Henry Huggins, Ramona Quimby, and Ralph S. Mouse series comes an epistolary novel about how to navigate and heal from life’s growing pains.
Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of The Great Gatsby by Sarah Churchwell
I love Gatsby. I also love context. I am so interested to see what was happening in the world when Gatsby is set.
Tracing the genesis of a masterpiece, a Fitzgerald scholar follows the novelist as he begins work on The Great Gatsby. The autumn of 1922 found F. Scott Fitzgerald at the height of his fame, days from turning twenty-six years old, and returning to New York for the publication of his fourth book, Tales of the Jazz Age. A spokesman for America’s carefree younger generation, Fitzgerald found a home in the glamorous and reckless streets of New York. Here, in the final incredible months of 1922, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald drank and quarreled and partied amid financial scandals, literary milestones, car crashes, and celebrity disgraces.
Yet the Fitzgeralds’ triumphant return to New York coincided with another event: the discovery of a brutal double murder in nearby New Jersey, a crime made all the more horrible by the farce of a police investigation—which failed to accomplish anything beyond generating enormous publicity for the newfound celebrity participants. Proclaimed the “crime of the decade” even as its proceedings dragged on for years, the Mills-Hall murder has been wholly forgotten today. But the enormous impact of this bizarre crime can still be felt in The Great Gatsby, a novel Fitzgerald began planning that autumn of 1922 and whose plot he ultimately set within that fateful year.
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli
I am so gratified by the mere existence of this book. I have already read a few of the short stories, but can’t wait to read the rest in 2018.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a children’s book packed with 100 bedtime stories about the life of 100 extraordinary women from the past and the present, illustrated by 60 female artists from all over the world. This book inspires girls with the stories of great women, from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
I’m always trying to read more classic novels, and what better place to start than with an author who actually features in Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls?!
Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.
100 Nasty Women of History by Hannah Jewell
If you haven’t noticed, I am a feminist. And I was always disheartened by the lack of female representation in my history lessons when I was younger. We only ever learned about the Suffragettes and Cleopatra! I can’t wait to read this book to actually learn about all of the amazing and powerful women that are left out of the history books.
These are the women who were deemed too nasty for their times – too nasty to be recognised, too nasty to be paid for their work and sometimes too nasty to be allowed to live.
When you learn about women in history, it’s hard not to wonder: why do they all seem so prim and proper? The truth is, you’re probably not being told the whole story. Also, (mostly male) historians keep leaving out or glossing over some of the most badass women who ever walked the surface of this planet. Fake news!
But fret not. Former Buzzfeed senior writer and Washington Post pop culture host Hannah Jewell has got you covered. In 100 Nasty Women of History, Hannah will spill the tea on:
-the women with impressive kill counts
-the women who wrote dangerous things
-the women who fought empires and racists
-the women who knew how to have a good-ass time
-the women who punched Nazis (metaphorically but also not)
And that’s just half of the women in this book. That’s pretty metal.
So, if you think that Nasty Women are a new thing, think again. They’ve always been around – you just haven’t always heard of them. Take these stories and tell them to your friends. Write them on a wall. Sneakily tell them to your niece (who’s old enough to hear the bad words, of course). Post them to your local MP (especially if it’s a man). Make your friends dress up as Nasty Women for Halloween. These are the 100 Nasty Women of History who gave zero f*cks whatsoever. These are the 100 Nasty Women of History who made a difference.
These are the 100 Nasty Women of History whom everyone needs to know about, right now.
Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates
Another piece of non-fiction I can’t wait to get to! The synopsis speaks for itself…
Women are standing up and #shoutingback. In a culture that’s driven by social media, for the first time women are using this online space (@EverydaySexism www.everydaysexism.com) to come together, share their stories and encourage a new generation to recognise the problems that women face. This book is a call to arms in a new wave of feminism and it proves sexism is endemic – socially, politically and economically. But women won’t stand for it. The Everyday Sexism Project is grounded in reality; packed with substance, validity and integrity it shows that women will no longer tolerate a society that ignores the dangers and endless effects of sexism.
In 2012 after being sexually harassed on London public transport Laura Bates, a young journalist, started a project called Everyday Sexism to collect stories for a piece she was writing on the issue. Astounded by the response she received and the wide range of stories that came pouring in from all over the world, she quickly realised that the situation was far worse than she’d initially thought. Enough was enough. From being leered at and wolf-whistled on the street, to aggravation in the work place and serious sexual assault, it was clear that sexism had been normalised. Bates decided it was time for change.
This bold, jaunty and ultimately intelligent book is the first to give a collective online voice to the protest against sexism. This game changing book is a juggernaut of stories, often shocking, sometimes amusing and always poignant – it is a must read for every inquisitive, no-nonsense modern woman.
Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams by Sylvia Plath
I’ve read her poetry, I’ve read her novel, but I am yet to read her short stories. I said in a previous post that I would read anything Plath has written – it’s about time I actually did!
I lay there alone in bed, feeling the black shadow creeping up the underside of the world like a flood tide. Nothing held, nothing was left. The silver airplanes and the silver capes all dissolved and vanished, wiped away like the crude drawings of a child in coloured chalk from the colossal blackboard of the dark.
The writings in this collection outline Plath’s early preoccupation with issues of mental illness, creativity and femininity, all of which would become recurrent themes in her later work. They offer special insight into her development as a writer, and arguably paved the way for her only full-length piece of prose writing, the loosely veiled fictional autobiography, The Bell Jar.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
Returning to my recent obsession with dystopia novels, when Regan @ PeruseProject on YouTube started talking about this novel, I was so intrigued I had to add it to this list!
In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there’s a rich Nigerian kid who lounges around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power – they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.
This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday TimesYoung Writer of the Year and Granta Best of British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world.
The Unseen World by Liz Moore
The setting of this novel is what drew me in initially: 1980s in Boston. As a Brit born in 2000, I couldn’t help but be intrigued! Furthermore, this book is about something I don’t really know much about – I’m eager to learn more!
Ada Sibelius is raised by David, her brilliant, eccentric, socially inept single father, who directs a computer science lab in 1980s-era Boston. Home-schooled, Ada accompanies David to work every day; by twelve, she is a painfully shy prodigy. The lab begins to gain acclaim at the same time that David’s mysterious history comes into question. When his mind begins to falter, leaving Ada virtually an orphan, she is taken in by one of David’s colleagues. Soon she embarks on a mission to uncover her father’s secrets: a process that carries her from childhood to adulthood. What Ada discovers on her journey into a virtual universe will keep the reader riveted until The Unseen World’s heart-stopping, fascinating conclusion.
Penguin’s Poems for Life edited by Laura Barber
This collection has been sat on my shelf for months, flicked through briefly, but never read completely. 2018 is the year I read this anthology!
Taking its inspiration from Shakespeare’s idea of the “seven ages” of a human life, this new anthology brings together the best-loved poems in English to inspire, comfort and delight readers for a lifetime. Beginning with babies, the book is divided into sections on childhood, growing up, making a living and making love, family life, getting older, and approaching death, ending with poems of mourning and commemoration. Ranging from Chaucer to Carol Ann Duffy, via Shakespeare, Keats, and Lemn Sissay, this book offers something for each of those moments in life – whether falling in love, finding your first grey hair or saying your final goodbyes – when only a poem will do.
A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
I read A Game of Thrones in 2016, and since season 8 isn’t coming until 2019, I’m going to have to get my Westeros fix from the source by reading book 2! I really enjoyed book 1, but the sheer length of these novels has put me off until now. I should have a lot of spare time over summer, certainly enough to read this mammoth book!
Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over an age of enforced peace are dead…victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.
As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard’s son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King’s Landing. Robert’s two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.
A Clash of Kings transports us into a magnificent, forgotten land of revelry and revenge, wizardry and wartime. It is a tale in which maidens cavort with madmen, brother plots against brother, and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside.
Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory may be measured in blood. And the spoils of victory may just go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel…and the coldest hearts. For when rulers clash, all of the land feels the tremors.
Audacious, inventive, brilliantly imagined, A Clash of Kings is a novel of dazzling beauty and boundless enchantment;a tale of pure excitement you will never forget.
Thank you for reading! Let me know in the comments what you want to read in 2018!