This is the round-up that I promised!
This year, I read a total of 44 books. I think this might actually be the most number of books I have read in a year. A lot of that has to do with the fact that I joined Goodreads again, and I also took part in the Reading Challenge. I set my goal to 30, three books a month. I ended up topping that, which was awesome.
My Top 4 Most Liked Books of 2017
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Before reading this novel, I have heard nothing but good things about it. Reviews say that it’s one of the best books ever written. With feedback like that, I just couldn’t help but want to see it for myself. I have also read Crime and Punishment before this — my introduction to Dostoyevsky — and I liked it a lot, so I was quite positive that I will like this book, too. In the end, it became one of my most favorite books of all time. It was very philosophical (and I love philosophy!) while still having a plot. It makes you think. There is also a wide array of entertaining and memorable characters. I recommend it to everyone!
Blindness by José Saramago
I didn’t quite know what I was in for when I picked this book as next on my reading list. All I knew was that it had a great premise. When I finally opened the book to read it, well, I couldn’t close it! I read this in one day. I was so absorbed in everything that was happening, and I was so attached to the characters. Together with The Road by Cormac McCarthy, this was also a very disturbing book. The most disturbing scene I have ever read so far is in this novel. The most cathartic ending I have ever read in a novel is in this as well.
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
I have been curious about Murakami for a while. He is one of the most raved authors of today. To satisfy that curiosity, I picked one of his highest rated novels to introduce myself to his works. I really like his different style. His novels have a certain melancholy to them that I really love. The ever present magic realism in his books I also find really unique and attractive. I read some more of his works after reading this, but Kafka on the Shore undoubtedly remains to be my favorite Murakami novel.
In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality by John Gribbin
(I initially only planned to have a Top 3 Most Liked Books, but I just had to make it to 4 just to have this book included in this list.) Gods, I loved this book! I would read it again if I have to. This is my real introduction into the nitty-gritty of quantum physics. I read this out of school and out of my own volition, which I thought was pretty awesome. (Hahaha!) I learned a lot about its different theories and different implications. I learned that really, everything is up to interpretation, and we, as humans, are really limited by our own logic. The author did an awesome job walking the reader through the important details; it was easy to follow and not too convoluted. Don’t be intimidated by the topic; this was actually quite an easy read!
Special mentions go to Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, The Shining by Stephen King (which made me feel real fear), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (which made me laugh!), and Agatha Christie books that I haven’t read yet from last year.
My Least Liked Book of 2017
I always make it a point to pick books to read that I know I will like, because what is the point of making time for things you know you will not enjoy, right? However, things don’t always turn out to be the way you want them to be.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
This was a short novel, but it took me so long to finish it. The message of the book was pretty straightforward, I got it (I believe), but what turned me off was the writing style. I love writing heavily laden with metaphors. Heck, I even enjoyed Haruki Murakami novels which others might find boring, but this book was really hard to read, and it didn’t grasp my attention like books usually do. I actually tried reading it two times; on my first time, I had to drop it and read something else, but on the second time, I managed to finish it. You could say that I didn’t have to read it again in the first place if I didn’t like it the first time, but I just don’t like not finishing books I start. Also, this was considered a “classic,” and it’s usually referenced a lot, and I didn’t want to miss out on it.
New Reading Experience
For the first time, I also finally tried listening to an audiobook! Instead of reading the text version, I listened to an audiobook of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, narrated by Amy Poehler herself. It was a very fun (and funny) experience, and I honestly didn’t want it to end. I realized that memoirs are better experienced this way. It feels so authentic, because you hear the words being said by the person who wrote them. Only they know the correct mood for the book, and only they can deliver it the way they want to! If possible, I would like to experience autobiographies and memoirs as audiobooks from here onwards!
Poetry compilations tend not to be in my reading repertoire, but this year, I read Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, which really touched my heart. I always think that I cannot not give 5-star ratings to books of poetry, since poetry, to me, is more of an art than a craft, and since it is the artist’s expression, I can’t give a poor rating to it, can I?
There were also a couple of authors whose books I read for the first time. I introduced myself to Haruki Murakami through Kafka on the Shore, and I ended up reading some more of him after that; Stephen King through Carrie — I wanted to warm myself up before I dive into his lengthier novels, and I ended up reading three more of his novels after that.
I reread one book this year, and I reread it two times: my favorite novel, Rebecca. I had to remind myself once again why I love this novel so much. Maybe before the year ends, I might sneak another reread of it.
Plans for 2018
Next year, I plan to join the Reading Challenge again. I’m not going to push it, so I’m just going to stick to my goal of 30 books. I think 2017 was a fluke, because I had so much time to kill, and I’m not sure I can say the same thing for 2018. I don’t yet have a to-read list for next year, but I have been thinking about adding some graphic novels to my bookshelves. I also want to read more Philippine literature, since I notice that they are almost non-existent in my shelves. Tangkilikin ang sariling atin and all that.