Reading as a necessity to survive
Although I love reading, I don’t consider myself a voracious reader. I read to sustain myself. I read just enough to keep me alive. In moments that I feel empty, I know that there will always be that one book to fill me up.
This year, though – because I’ve had a hunch that this could be my last – I vow to read more books. Consume them as much as I can.
This could be my last year on Earth, and how else could one live many lives – if you do not have much time left, nor the luxury to move beyond the four walls of your apartment (no thanks to the world’s longest lockdown) – but through books.
(Posted on 11 February 2021)
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”Joan Didion
This page will serve as my updatable personal reading tracker. I’m making it public not only to add pressure to myself to read more, but ultimately its purpose is for my nieces and nephews to find it. Hopefully, in some way, it will inspire them to read. Hopefully, at least one of them would eventually be obsessed with reading.
I know I should have done it decades ago, but I only started tracking the books I read in 2019 (which, together with 2020, wasn’t a good year for reading). For the past two years, according to my tracker, I only read one book a month on average.
But, it seems like 2021 is going to change that. It’s only the middle of February as I type this, but so far I have finished five books and I’m already on my sixth. Why I am suddenly speeding through books is a whole other story – which I hope to tell in a blog post in the future. For now, I am listing the books I’ve read since 2019.
Note that this will just be an (updatable) list and not my thoughts on each book. I will get to that once I’ve regained my confidence in myself (which 2020 had robbed from me). For now, I hope this list will interest you.
What could be my last year of reading
1. God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy* – A book I revisited just to savor Roy’s delicious writing
2. Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany Jackson
February (Black History Month – thus explains some of the titles here)
3. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
4. Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper
5. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
6. Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo
March (A bad month for me in terms of reading…and other things)
7. Azadi: Freedom. Fascism. Fiction by Arundhati Roy
The year of magical thinking
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race By Reni Eddo-Lodge
- The Witches are Coming By Lindy West
- Men Explain Things to Me By Rebecca Solnit
- The Handmaid’s Tale By Margaret Atwood
- The Testaments By Margaret Atwood
- Headscarves and Hymens by Mona Eltahawy
- The Institute by Stephen King
- The Outsider by Stephen King
- Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
- On Writing by Stephen King
- Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion* – a book I had to re-read right after my father died
The year of not reading
- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
- Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
- The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion* – A book I read years ago, but decided to revisit
- Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
- White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
- Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller
What books would you recommend to me?
This could be very well my last year of reading. Send me your recommended reading, your “books to read before you die” list.