Don’t fret! I haven’t forgotten about Part 2 of “my favourite university reads” but seeing as January is already coming to an end, it’s really time for me to be writing this before it’s officially too late.
Although I won’t be in university for a while, I still need to implement some structure into my life or you’ll find me on the couch binge-watching Desperate Housewives and eating Nutella straight from the pot (FACT). Therefore, some sort of reading plan is in order. Because I recently moved cities, I was only able to bring a few books (a Kindle might be a good investment in my life) and these are the books in the following lists, books that I really want to get through this year.
1. A song of Ice and Fire Series – George R.R. Martin
These books do not need an introduction. I started watching the TV show a couple years ago but stopped in the middle of the second season because, being the fantasy fan I am, I really wanted to read the books first. However, it always seemed like a huge time commitment. My problem with series is that I have the memory of a goldfish. The only way I can get the most out of them is by marathoning but ain’t nobody got time for that. Also, I might not be in the mood for fantasy during the entire time it’ll take me to get through the five gigantic novels. I have found some sort of a solution to this problem by starting a reading journal (more on that in another post). This month, I have read the first volume of the series, A Game of Thrones, and I loved. Having already seen the TV adaptation was somewhat helpful to get a better understanding of the universe and the intricacies of the plot. I like how each chapter is told through a different character’s point of view. It helps to give dimension to the story and for the reader to connect with all the characters and to understand their complexities. I am eager to continue on with the series and see if Tyrion, Arya and Daenerys continue to be the badasses they already are.
2. 1984 – George Orwell
Firstly, how gorgeous is this edition…so gorgeous (well done Penguin)! This book is one that I purchased two days ago on a whim. Two other dystopian novels I remember reading are Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. To be honest, I did not really enjoy the experience. I think one of the reasons why I didn’t like them was because I read them when I was fairly young and did not understand the deeper message. The ‘uncanny’ dimension of dystopia was too overwhelming for my tiny self. I think that now that I am older I could really get into it. I read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, a dystopian science fiction novel at university and loved it (more on that later) so there is hope. Plus, I’ve already read Animal Farm by Orwell and loved it the three times I read it so that’s an encouraging sign. Anyway, I’ll let you know what I make of it.
Fun Fact: I was in a play adaptation of Animal Farm in High School. My main role was the cat but I also sung in front of everyone dressed as a chicken (Apparently, I peeked at 17…sigh).
3. CHARLES DICKENS
Let me first say that Dickens is probably one of my favourite author, if not my all time favourite. During my BA, I specialised in 19th century literature and I got to see where he got his inspiration from and how he inspired other writers. I love his writing style, I love how funny and strange his characters are, and I love his stories. I have only read three of his works so far, which does not give me enough material to be able to truly say “he is my favourite author” (although I still do). I watch a lot of BookTube video and in one of Bazpierce videos from last year I believe, he mentioned he was doing a Charles Dickens year. I decided to do the same. I want to read as many of his novels as I can. Seeing the size of his works, it might take me a decade to actually read all of them but I’ll try my hardest. I’ve just started The Pickwick Papers, which tells the story of a group of men who are travelling for their newspapers and are in charge of noting any interesting instances they may come across (at least that’s what I have gathered so far). I have already laughed ten times in twenty pages. There are almost a thousand pages and hopefully a lot of laughter in stock.
PS: The Penguin English Library edition is beautiful and very pleasant to read. It took me forever and probably way more money than I should have spent to find this book in this edition but it was worth it.
4. Stardust – Neil Gaiman
I have wanted to read this book for years now. I have seen the movie I think three times and loved it. I’ve heard so many great things about Neil Gaiman but I’ve never picked up one of his books for some reason. 2015 is the year I will finally do. Stardust is the epic story of a young man called Tristran who goes on a quest to bring back a star to the girl he loves. The star ends up being a beautiful young woman named Yvaine and the two of them are thrown into many adventures to get back to the village and to the girl Tristran thinks he loves. Romance, fantasy, scary witches, goats, pirates…What more could a girl want? I think this book will be a perfect break between a Dickens novel and a volume of A Song of Ice and Fire.
5. Assise: une rencontre inattendue (an unexpected encounter) – François Cheng
This is a french book but I thought I would include it in this list as well. I don’t know much about it apart from the fact that it tells of the author’s experience in the beautiful Italian town of Assise which I have had the chance of visiting twice. It’s a very short book and I think it’ll be a good way to reminisce the amazing times I have had in this town. The only issue is that it might make me want to go back there, and it is not in the plans for 2015.
6. The Last Runaway – Tracy Chevalier
This book was a gift from my godfather whose tastes in literature as well as music are always on point. Therefore, it went straight to my TBR. I’m not quite sure what the story is about but I have heard great things about the author who has also published Girl with a Pearl Earring. I believe this novel tells the story of a girl who has to leave England for Ohio and gets involved in a network that helps slaves regain freedom (don’t quote me on that though). Even if the story is set in 1850, I’m excited to read a book that has been published in this decade because it does not happen a lot and I’d like to be more in touch with what is happening in literature at the moment.
7. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin
Another modern read, it’s a miracle! This book has been all over the BookTube community and I have been dying to get my hands on it. What could go wrong with a book centred around a bookstore? Not much! This novel tells the story of an isolated bookstore owner called A.J. Fikry who receives a mysterious package that will change his life. I think this is going to be a fun read and I cannot wait to get back into contemporary literature (can we call it that? I’m bad with my genres, literature student fail).
Bonus: Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling
After years of wanting to reread these series, I am finally doing it. Say what you will, I don’t think you can read Harry Potter too many times. I have just finished the first one, again (hence the destroyed spine), and the rereading experience was a little strange. I might write a post about how I feel about rereading once I am done with the series. In the picture, you’ll notice that I’m missing one of the books (The Order of the Phoenix). I only had it in French for some reason so that will give me an excuse to enter a bookstore. Anyway, I don’t think I need to say much about this except that I am a huge Harry Potter Fan.
Not a Fun Fact, Just a Fact: I got sorted as a Gryffindor on Pottermore but I think I’m more of a Ravenclaw.
And here it is, my 2015 reading plans. Nothing is set in stone. I might add things or decide that after three more of his novels, I hate Dickens, who knows? I might also get a life (my mom sure hopes so) but I wouldn’t count on that. Until then, I shall try to stick to these books.
What are your reading plans for 2015? Do you even make plans or do you just go with the flow?
Coming soon is Part 2 of “My Favourite University Reads.”