To give a brief summary of my reading history: I started devouring books on October 4th 2009, when I first picked up Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones. I haven’t stopped since.
I’ve come to realize and accept that different books have different functions, and they can be both meaningful.
Books With Impact
I read quite a few books that shifted the way I view things, even if it’s just a little.
These books helped me to question what I thought was the “norm” – things that I thought I couldn’t change because that’s how things are, right? Eating Animals basically gave me the final push to become vegetarian. The Circle Within made me question my own set of values and whether I am living up to them; it also gave me food for thought about my religious views. Daring Greatly connects me with people by showing the universal struggle to be vulnerable and the crucial importance of vulnerability. It helps me in my effort to be authentic every day. Creative Visualization, despite its suggestive title, is not just a how-to book. The author also talks about her own philosophy of life. The Soul of Money is a mixture of psychological myth-debunking, promoting fund-raising, and spirituality (that blind leap of faith). It does not have a particularly smooth style, but its messages were very important in me re-setting my own values.
These three books are more centered around minimalism and living simply, but these two ideas are really tools for living intentionally, or living with awareness. What I really liked about On the Shortness of Life, A Day in the Life of a Minimalist and A Story of Debt were the authors’ personal stories. They are not just sprouting off their personal philosophy like Ralph Waldo Emerson in “Self-Reliance”. Seneca, Joshua Field Millburn and Ashley Riordan write about their philosophies in application, which makes them so much more relatable. (I’m not dissing Emerson – I agree with a lot of what he says, but his writings remain very abstract.)
Great books on feminism and female sexuality. I am ashamed to admit that it’s only recently that I’ve come to realize the crippling effects our gendered society has on women and men, and I really, truly appreciate #HeForShe (although I still think it should be WeForUs – like he for he, he for she, she for he, she for she, and it would include genderfluid and agender people as well; but I admit it wouldn’t be as catchy or as thought-provokingly different as in unusual). However, gender inequality on the economic front, double standard, sexism, violence against women because of their gender – all these still exist, and they should be acknowledged and fought against.
Books With Comfort
Regardless of my name (it means ‘contemplating about truth’), I don’t want to be in an existential crisis 24/7. I fell in love with books because they provided me with fun and comfort, because they offered me a temporary escape, and because I could relate to fictional characters in such a way that it lessened my loneliness. All of this still holds true, and here are two series that were my main companions throughout the year.
1. Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Its ordinariness is the extraordinary in this series. Humorous, heart-warming, critical without judging, and absolutely relatable.
2. In Death series by J. D. Robb
The only Nora Roberts/J. D. Robb series I still follow. Having finished Obsession in Death today, I am now caught up with all 40 paperback releases and limited to two new releases per year! I steampowered through this series this year (re-read #13 – 18, then read #19 – 40 for the first time). It’s a murder mystery series, of course, but it’s actually the futuristic world and the characters that have their hold on my soft spot.