Last year, I read a scant seven books. Although this number is quite slim, some of the reading was medium to heavy. I read five Haruki Murakami novels: 1Q84; Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage; After Dark; Norwegian Wood; and Dance, Dance, Dance. I also read Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, and Patti Smith’s Just Kids.
This year, I would like to read one book a month, and I would like to read more non-fiction.
I just finished Kim Gordon’s incredibly artistic and well-written memoir, Girl In A Band. It’s closer to an autobiography, since it spans her childhood up til her life in the present day. I recommend it, even to people unfamiliar with Sonic Youth’s music. It is simultaneously very revealing, and mysterious, like her voice. If you are interested in art, music, geography, and good writing, you should read this book. What I loved most about it was finding out how much Kim Gordon and I have in common, despite the age difference. And despite my lack of rock stardom, compared to her decades full of it. For example, we both love and pity Karen Carpenter. Another: We were both born and raised in, and love the idea of Los Angeles… but are both kind of repulsed by it and feel we can never go back. Much of the repulsion has to do with upbringing, family history, and how it is so closely tied to this place. We both have this drive to understand ourselves outside of that context. I also love Kim Gordon’s own brand of feminism, traditional in some ways, controversial in others. Kim Gordon puts herself all out there, and yet, there’s just something you can’t pin down about her. That’s my summary of this book.
I am currently reading Pema Chodron’s Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living. I found out about this book through the Instagram account of fashion designer Philip Lim. He posted pictures of sentences and passages he underlined, and they appealed to me and my general philosophy of enriching my mind and enhancing my world view. I’m not Buddhist (and the ideas in this book are based on Buddhist teachings), but so far this book is offering me a perspective on life that is at once calming and challenging. The whole book aims to help its readers learn how to “relate compassionately with that which we prefer to push away, and… learn to give away and share that which we hold most dear.” It’s a book about how to be kind to ourselves, so that we can be kind to others, and how to uncover this trait of compassion in ourselves. It’s a book about acceptance. To be honest, this book spoke to me because as nice, sweet, funny, and kind I usually am, I can also be a very dark, judgmental, insecure, and resentful person. I want to find ways to own all of this, and still have a positive impact on the world.
Non-fiction to read: I am still on the library’s wait list for Patti Smith’s M Train and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me. I also have a couple books by John McPhee on my to-read list (Annals of the Former World; The Founding Fish). The cool thing about getting these books onto my kindle via my public library is that it’s all free. And the wait times are shorter than if I were waiting for the physical copy. The not so cool thing about it is, I’ve been waiting for these books since Christmas, and it is now February! Hopefully the books will become available soon….
Fiction to read: I have the Lev Grossman Magicians trilogy on my Kindle (thanks, Jacob!), which I also can’t wait to dive into. And my best friend suggested Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series to me. Even though it’s not my type of genre AT ALL (romance novel involving “faeries” wtf?), I still want to give it a whirl because she loves it so much. Lastly, I want to begin re-reading/reading all the Harry Potter books. I only read up til The Goblet of Fire, and I haven’t seen any of the movies past Prisoner of Azkaban. Yes, I am fully aware how weird that is to most people.
I would like to immerse myself in books after the bar exam 🙂 Looking forward to another awesome year full of READING!