"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." -Vladimir Nobokov

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Five Books I Want to Read Before 2016

It's November, which conjures up images of chilly, rainy afternoons spent huddled under blankets with a good book and hot beverage of your choice. The reality, in my case anyway, involves being hunched over a computer trying to draft a research paper, but a girl can dream, right? I've read a total of ten books this year (not my best, but I've been busy!), so I thought I would try to round that out to 15 by the end of 2015. Here are the books I want to check off my list by the end of the year:

1. How to Be Both by Ali Smith

Currently in the middle of this and really enjoying it. Ali Smith is an author that has been recommended over and over again by some of my favorite book reviewers on Youtube (click here and here), and I finally picked up one of her books. Her style is very unique and fluid, so much so that I found myself wanting to read her prose out loud. The book itself is split into two sections: one is narrated by a teenager trying to cope with the loss of her mother, and centers around a trip they took to Italy before she died, while the other follows a 15th century Renaissance painter. Which section comes first depends on which copy of the book you have, because it was printed in two editions and the story can be experienced in either direction. Really cool stuff!

2. Fly Trap by Frances Hardinge

This is the sequel to what is bound to be one of my favorite books of 2015, Fly By Night. Set in a fascinating world where books have been banned and all printed material has to be approved by a guild called the Stationers, Fly By Night follows a young girl who takes to the open road with a con man named Eponymous Clent and a rabble-rousing goose. Sounds great, right? It is. Frances Hardinge is one of the few authors I've discovered who made me immediately want to go look up everything she's ever written. Luckily, she has quite a few titles to her name, and they all look amazing. I haven't even read the synopsis of Fly Trap; any excuse to be back in the world of Fly By Night is enough for me.

3. The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman

I finished The Golden Compass, the first book in the His Dark Materials series in January of this year, so it seems fitting that I would end 2015 with the second book in the series. While it took me FOREVER to get into The Golden Compass, the second half of the book blew me away, and after months of pestering by my friend Maddie, I'm committed to finishing this series. I'll probably be reading this (and hopefully the third book, too, if I can get around to it) in December, when Jen Campbell is hosting a read-a-long of the entire trilogy. The richly drawn, steam-punk/fantasy setting of these books make it the absolute PERFECT series to read around Christmastime.

4. The Stones of Florence by Mary McCarthy

This is a non-fiction book that explores the spirit and history of the beautiful city of Florence. It has great reviews on Goodreads, and I have a very special reason for being interested in Florence, which (if you didn't already know) I'll be officially revealing on The Blank Page in a couple of weeks!

5. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Perfect for gloomy November nights when the wind is howling around the corners of my nine-story dormitory, Burial Rites tells the story of the last person to be executed in Iceland. Agnes Magnusdottir is convicted of the murder of her former master and sent to an isolated family farm to await execution. I started reading this book late last year but never got around to finishing it before I had to return it to the library. It's not the most pleasant read: the landscape (like the story itself) is sparse, desolate, and grim, but I'm going to trust the many Goodreads reviewers who say it's worth it in the end. I tend to lean towards historical fiction which takes a somewhat romantic look at what life was really like in whatever period it's set, and this book is definitely a break from that romanticism. I'll let you know what I think!

Bonus Material!
This list was SO hard narrow down to just five books, so here's a few others I'm particularly excited about but may not get to before Jan 1st:
So We Read On: How the Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why it Endures by Maureen Corrigan
The Sweetness at the Bottom the Pie by Alan Bradley
Girl Waits with Gun by Mary Stewart
Uprooted by Niomi Novik

Hope you enjoyed, and I'd love to know what books you want to finish before 2016!

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