Top Reads of 2016

The One that Pulled Me into the Abyss.

My Review

A Little Life is perhaps, the darkest book I’ve read in a long time. It features a character who wouldn’t know happiness even if it was staring at him in the face. Because even if he was surrounded by the people who genuinely loved him, he was always waiting for the other shoe to drop so accepting that love was tremulous task. This was a hard read, but I truly feel that I was a better person after the crying jag.

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The One that Gave Me Perspective.

My Review

There is nothing easy about this novel ( though, easier than A Little Life, admittedly). This is about the racial climate in contemporary America, and Jodi Picoult did her best, albeit reluctantly, to tackle this issue most of Americans wish should remain buried in their painful past. This book gave me pause as I ruminated on how difficult it is to be successful, to be educated, and still be disrespected and discriminated because of the colour of your skin.

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The One that Pulled Me Out of the Abyss.

My Review

After the trauma of watching a demagogue be elected as the president of the United States, I was not in a good place. I was angry and shocked. And since books have always been the panacea I tend to reach for when I’m feeling down, The Hating Game pulled me out of that dark place. I just knew that rereading it would be the perfect thing that would help me forget the misery of the day.

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The One that Made Me Like Science Fiction.

My Review

Science Fiction, much like Fantasy, is a genre that I could never quite figure out. But this page-turner made me believe that I could truly love Sci-fi in its simplest form. Simple, because this book isn’t inundated by jargon and long sterile narratives that tend to steer me away from the genre. I’ve always believed that discoveries have the tendency to bring out the best and worst in humans. Mr. Neuvel certainly didn’t shy away from showing all the immoral things we’ll subject ourselves to in the name of Science. With a combination of dry humour and ingenious story-telling, Sleeping Giants was the perfect example of Sci-fi for the masses.

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The One that Whisked Me Away to Another Place and Time.

My Review

This book always makes me want to ramble on about how beautiful it is. The writing, the scenery, the characters…everything about it perfectly captures the small town charm, the grandeur of the old world Hollywood setting, and the stories of the people that tie these worlds together.  Beautiful Ruins was cozy, warm and funny it all its subtleties. It’s a book full of passionate people, visceral settings, and rich in history spanning decades. The perfect beach read…couch read…bed read.

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 The One that Made Me Feel Inadequate.

I have re-read this twice already. Each re-read more powerful than the last. Still, the impact is greater for someone like me to comprehend. It could be because I’m not African American, nor do I live in the States. But the power of Mr. Coates’ words – his desperation, his hopes, his warnings – leap off the pages with intense clarity. And yet, I get it. I get the hopelessness. That feeling that in some ways, his body, his son’s body were never their own. As easily as freedom may come to some, to African Americans, freedom is a fleeting fancy. Despite the progress that America has had over the years with the racial injustices of times gone by, African Americans are still shackled by the colour of their skin.  And to deny the existence of such discrimination is naive and dangerous.