Now that the year is ending, it’s always nice to revisit one’s favourite things during the year. Here are my favourite books that I’ve read (for the first time) this year.
These are in no particular order
1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
This book leaves you with my questions at the end then answers and I love that. It stays in your head for days and everyone you meet could have a different interpretation and based on that interpretation, the genre changes. Is this horror? A psychological thriller? A drama? Who knows. What I do know is that if you’ve heard of this book, you should definitely pick it up. If you haven’t, allow me to inform you about it: this novel follows 3 strangers who embark on a journey with Dr. John Montague, who wants to prove whether or not supernatural beings/phenomena exist via staying in a supposedly haunted house and using the scientific method to study what happens in that house. What actually happens, like I stated before, is based on your perception of events. It may be a bit hard to get into at first, but it is worth the wait.
2. The Most Dangerous Place on Earth By Lindsey Lee Johnson
I’m someone who tends to avoid young adult books because I feel as though it is convoluted with stories about romance. Whether or not thats actually true is up for discussion, but this book strays away from that. This takes a look at different millennium teenagers, all of whom are going through different things, as well as a new teacher at their school who hopes to inspire them. The premise is basic, but the execution is great, as it is very bleak and disheartening and almost feels like the moment when your not a kid anymore, where your actions have consequences outside of an academic or social circle, when you truly become an adult. It’s a bit of a sad/hopless book and if that’s your feel, go for it. If you prefer books to fill you with hope, this isn’t the one for you.
These books are the first two books in Mishima’s masterpiece and final piece of work, The Sea of Fertility. This series takes place over the course of Shigekuni Honda’s life, a student who goes on to become a successful lawyer. Despite that, he is never the main character (at least in the first two novels). He is always the observer, a close friend to the main character of the story, who has tragic ends in both novels.
In the first, he is the best friend of Kiyoaki Matsugae, a young aristocrat, and the book follows Kiyaoki’s relationship with with a female family friend, Satoko Ayakura, and the tragedy that unfolds because Kiyoaki doesn’t know how to handle his emotions and is just an idiot, to put it mildy.
Runaway Horses is about Isao Iinuma, an extreme right-wing student who seems to be going down a dangerous path. Honda tries to steer him the right way, with tragic consequences.
These two books are one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. I love the psychological profile and warfare that goes on between the characters. It makes the story much more fulfilling, and allows the plot to happen gradually and at a pace that makes more sense. If Japanese literary fiction is something you are interested in, I highly recommend this series.
Joyce is one of those authors whom I love so much, that everything they write is a favourite of mine. Despite that, I still feel I can still tell what’s good due to my bias and what isn’t. I think this is one of those instances where it’s good but not due to my bias per say, but due to Joyce’s writing style, which I am obviously am bias towards.
This is a manuscript that was released posthumously and many ideas were revisited in A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man.
It feels weird that this is the book that came after portrait, as portrait is written in a stream of consciousness style, while this is more realism and is more coherent to read, but I do think that if you enjoyed one, you will enjoy the other. The same characters are in both, but if you found any of Stephen Dedalus’s monologues about esthetics kind of confusing, this book will fill you into what he’s thinking about.
As someone who basically took a semester off and is in a stage in my life where I have to make big decisions but am incredibly confused, this book was refreshing. Dedalus is also at university and is essentially figuring out what he thinks about the world around him and his place in it. It’s an essential companion to Portrait.., but a great coming of age story on it’s own, despite the fact that it was not finished.
Omg. I did not think that this would be the Bronte book that I love, but it’s THE Bronte book that I love.
This is a tragic story about passion and revenge, almost like a Greek tragedy. It follows a young man who meets his landlord’s family and upon inquiring about them, learns their horrible twisted story. As you may already know, the tragedy is very over-the-top and you should take breaks between reading it, because MAN is it depressing. I took the ridiculousness of the novel humorously, and even that did not dismiss the sheer awfulness of the characters. I think anyone who does not love this novel is because they either: 1) were not ready for how bleak and depressing it was 2) were under the impression that this is a romance novel. Given that I knew that it was ridiculous, I definitely was ready for what I was getting into, and I think it serves as a fair warning to anyone wanting to read it to let them know about those two things.
Oh Obama, how I miss you (even though I’m not American..). This memoir was phenomenal and I credit it for igniting my interest in non-fiction.
Obama lived an incredibly interesting life: He was a mixed boy growing up in various environments where his ethnicity and upbringing was incredibly unique. This novel chronicles his life as he tries to carve himself a place wherever he goes and the unique insight he brings to each experience. He’s also a compelling storyteller and does a great job of putting the reader into his shoes.
If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know that this series is a new favourite, but my particular favourites in the series are the first and fourth book in the series.
These books tend to be mystery/horror/tragedy/supernatural, with a different genre usually taking a main role in the story. In these two, the tragedy/horror takes the main space. With the first book, you are introduced to the world, in a short and sad novel, but the fourth novel gives you back story into some of the supernatural elements of the story, but not a lot, serving as a great teaser for the last book in the series.
I’ve done a review of the first three books in the series and will do a review of the remaining ones in the future. I don’t want to give too much away, so stay tuned or go read my previous reviews if you are interested.