What I Read at the Start of the New Year

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What I Read at the Start of the New Year

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I’ll be honest and I sorta fell off the bandwagon and got sucked into Netflix and avoided picking up a book for a good while. I guess when it’s cold, all you want to do is cozy up with a big blankie and comfortable pajamas. I found transitioning into winter so hard, that turning pages seemed like so much work because exposing any part of my skin to my weakly heated flat seemed a bit too much of an investment in a book. No lie.

Anyways, over the last several months I did read a few books, but fallen into the podcast world too {more on that in another post} and I think curating a little collection of books that I’ve read for future literary lust posts seems more logical rather than sharing the thoughts on one book… but I digress…

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What I Read at the Start of the New Year
What I Read at the Start of the New Year

The Power by Naomi Alderman

One of my favorite reads of high school was Orwell’s 1984 and my favorite of university was The Handmaid’s Tail by Margaret Atwood. I came across the power in a chat I was having with one of my St. Andrews friends who was a very big fan of Atwood. Alderman’s The Power is a bit of the mix of the former two books I mentioned, a dystopian world where woman develop an electrifying power that disrupts the symbiosis of modern society. The plot follows the story of multiple characters around the world in varied situations.

Without giving away too much, I had a love/hate relationship with this book-this was not a soft, elusive, passive aggressive look at gender equality, but a proper view of society forcing the reader to question the status quo and the world that we live in. From examples of the Muslim World, to promoting protests and movements-it was raw and it was exhilarating. Power is a tangible subject here and they way it is utilized and controlled is the very notion that is materialized here.

Basti by Intizar Husain

I picked this one up right before I went to India, but didn’t get to properly read it until after my trip. It’s actually a Pakistani novel that is so beautifully written that I think I’m going to hold onto it with my Lolita novel as the language could truly enhance the language here on c&é (even though it was translated).

Looking back on the divide between India and Pakistan, Zakir is separated from the love of his life and continues to undergo trauma and the hostility that comes with the birth of a new nation. The plot encompasses the present, memory, dream and mythology-beautifully tying in all aspects of the Partition between India-Pakistan. What makes it interesting, however, is that the novel was written in 1979 during the Bangladesh’s war of independence from Pakistan.

”When the world was still all new, when the sky was fresh and the earth was not yet soiled, when trees breathed through the centuries and ages spoke in the voices of birds, how astonished he was, looking all around, that everything was so new, and yet looked so old.”

I’ve read many books and watched films on the Partition and the only difference I really sensed from Basti versus the rest was the prose. A little treat to the genre of historical fiction.

What I Read at the Start of the New Year
What I Read at the Start of the New Year

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

Just to preface this book and the one after, Messy, I only really was interested in reading Marie Kondo’s work to see what all the fuss was about. Messy was a nice competitor to Kondo’s teachings. I’m a minimalist and I am very content with what I have. It’s definitely not hard for me to let go of something, but I’ve never been someone who is attached to material possessions merely because I’ve moved around a lot, lost things on the way, thrown away bags of clothes-it’s really just fine. I guess I’m the anti-blogger, huh?

I loved Kondo’s teachings though. I understand the importance of a tidy space and a world where you don’t need to have to materialize to be happy, but the purpose of her teachings behind this book was to question if something actually “sparks joy”-if it doesn’t, get rid of it. There were cases where I thought, “a took kit doesn’t make me happy, but I do need it.” She addresses that and a lot more. It’s funny because after reading just the first 30 pages or so, I noticed that I was questioning what I had in my room. And though I already have things that make me quite content, it reminded me that everything I have is beautiful and purposeful in its own way-and there is something so beautiful about that.

Messy by Tim Harford

Though I’m not a messy person, extremely organized in fact, I found this book a joy to read! Harford takes real life samples of messy sitautions and/or environments that real life people have been in and how it has helped them in return. Using examples from a roster so impressive including Brian Eno, Martin Luther King, Jr., Steve Jobs and more.

I think the underlying message was that even in time of chaos, something wonderful can materialize as your mind is stimulated and functioning in way that can only be advantageous to you. Honestly, a great book for a present and even more exciting read.

What I Read at the Start of the New Year
What I Read at the Start of the New Year

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