Books and Books

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Daunt Books, London

It’s national reading day! I have big reading dreams this year. I plan on reading 50 books, or more if I get really ambitious. I’ve read 8 books so far. I’m also determined to diversify my reading choices. By now, we’ve all read a lot of books by mostly white Western male writers. These are books and writers that I love deeply (I just finished England, England by Julian Barnes and The Pearl by John Steinbeck, and both were so great), but I want to read different perspectives and hear new voices.

So here are the top 10 books I’m excited about reading this year:

  1. This Is Not Chick Lit Edited by Elizabeth Merrick. Shout out to my writer soulmate, David for this. He read it, knew I had to read it too, and gave me his copy. This is a collection of short stories from female writers (like Jennifer Egan and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie), and it is bomb. The stories are funny and sad and inspiring and irreverent. I’m already halfway through.
  2. Broken April by Ismail Kadare. I found an English translation of this book in a charity shop in Hackney and it was the greatest find. Ismail Kadare is probably the most well known Albanian writer. This book tells the story of an Albanian man who is forced to commit a murder under traditional laws. I’m so excited to read an author from my corner of the world.
  3. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Liz Gilbert. PEOPLE. Liz Gilbert’s podcast, Magic Lessons has been killing me in the best way. It’s been teaching me so much about embracing my creativity and inspiration, confronting fear, and making art for the simple pleasure of it. I CANNOT wait to get my hands on this book (seriously considering the $20 shipping from Amazon to Kosovo).
  4. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem. It’s the first book on Emma Watson’s Goodreads book club list, need I say more? Plus I mean, come on, it’s Gloria Steinem.
  5. Wise Blood by Flannery O’Conner. My sweet Georgia writer whose short stories I love but novels I have avoided. Now is the time.
  6. Unless It Moves the Human Heart by Roger Rosenblatt. The only white male on this list, but deserving of the spot. I’m a third of the way through this book, and it feels like I’m sitting in a creative writing workshop all over again. So funny and filled with tons of nuggets of wisdom about writing.
  7. Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay. I listened to an interview with Roxanne Gay on the Dear Sugar podcast a couple of weeks ago, and it suddenly hit me that I had yet to read this book. So it’s about time.
  8. Sinners Welcome by Mary Karr. There’s a few from Mary Karr on my master list (The Art of Memoir and Cherry), but I’m most excited to read her poems. I don’t read a lot of poetry, but I’m trying to change that. Karr is a tremendous truth teller and in this book of poems she writes of finding faith.
  9. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein. I love memoirs. I love Carrie Brownstein. And I love the title of this book. The trifecta.
  10. Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed. Ah! You guys. Cheryl Strayed collected from every corner of the globe beautiful quotes that inspire and empower her and put them in a book! This is 100% my jam.

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Happy Reading!

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