I love to read. And this year, I set the bar high — I want to read 50 books by the end of 2015. After jumping on board with the 2015 Reading Challenge hosted by Anne over at Modern Mrs. Darcy, I realize that this goal is well within my reach. The challenge is pretty simple — read 12 books in 12 categories in 2015.
Goodreads, NPR, Oprah and Kirkus are my go-to resources for book recommendations, but the reading challenge is a fun, simple way to share books we’ve read and the ones we can’t wait to get our hands on. It’s also a surefire way to discover incredible books and authors, inspire each other and stay motivated this year.
A book I’ve been meaning to read
Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
This book has been sitting patiently on my to-be-read pile since my university days, so it fits perfectly into this category. In his memoir, Mandela shares the extraordinary story of his life — from his childhood to his 27 years spent in prison to his inauguration as the first democratically elected black president of South Africa.
A book published this year
Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight
I read (and loved) Reconstructing Amelia back in December and I couldn’t contain my excitement when I heard about McCreight’s new novel coming out in April. This time around, she transports us to the affluent town of Ridgedale, New Jersey where a dead newborn baby is found in the woods near the town’s prestigious university campus. A gripping story of intersecting lives, the power of buried secrets and the past coming to light.
A book from my childhood
The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
This was a tough one to narrow down. But the one book I remember reading over and over again is The Little Match Girl. This one brings back fond memories. A classic for sure.
A book originally written in a different language
Stella: A Novel by Siegfried Lenz
Set in a small town on the Baltic coast, Stella is the tender love story between Stella Petersen and her English professor, Christian. Translated from the German, the novel opens at Stella’s memorial service where Christian relives the memories they both shared.
The Independent describes it as “a superbly crafted novella of first love, with a tenderly evocative sense of place, mood and era.”
A book that “everyone” has read but me
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
While there are a million titles that qualify for this category, I decided to go with Strayed’s memoir detailing her eleven-hundred-mile solo hike across the Pacific Crest Trail.
Oprah picked it as the first read for her Book Club 2.0 and said: “I was on the edge of my seat. . . It is just a wild ride of a read . . . stimulating, thought-provoking, soul-enhancing.” I really hope so.
A book I chose because of the cover
The Unlikely Settler by Lipika Pelham
When it comes to books (like people), it’s what’s on the inside that counts. But an eye-catching cover (pun intended) like this one really draws the eye in. This cover design speaks volumes without being too loud.
A book by a favourite author
Hidden by Catherine McKenzie
I discovered Catherine McKenzie’s Spin in the summer of 2011 and breezed through it in 24 hours. I’ve read incredible reviews about her most recent work, Hidden. The novel “explores the intersecting lives of a man, his wife, and a woman who may or may not be his mistress.” A story about relationships, personal choices and the unpredictability of life.
A book in a genre I don’t typically read
Redeployment by Phil Klay
I have never been a huge reader of war writing or short stories, but that changes this year. One surefire way to step out of my comfort zone is to step into the war zone. Winner of the 2014 National Book Award, this collection of twelve short stories by ex-Marine Phil Klay drops the wars squarely in our laps. He takes us to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and explores the challenges faced by the soldiers who return home.
A book recommended by someone with great taste
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
This one has been on my radar since its release last fall. While I enjoy reading books on healthcare in general, I tend to shy away from books dealing with palliative care in particular. But after reading Joanna’s take on this book, I had a change of heart.
A book I should have read in high school
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Last year, the world lost one of the most influential poets of our time. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings wasn’t required reading for me in high school so I figured I’d give it a read this year.
A book that’s currently on the bestseller list
Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar
Deep Down Down has spent two weeks on The New York Times Bestsellers list. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hector Tobar gives us a gripping account of the experience of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days in 2010 and, miraculously, rescued.
For details on the reading challenge, hop on over to Modern Mrs. Darcy.