Reading books in 2017 was an excruciating struggle as I was aiming to complete my Goodreads Reading Challenge (55 books). Are those too many books? No. But did I complete my challenge? Well, no. I read 43 out of 55; which I consider being a really good score. I made it a point that these books be as diverse as possible. Although, there were some that really disappointed me. And some that had me bawling. So, without further ado, I bring to you a list of books I read in 2017 that I would recommend to literally everyone.
1984 by George Orwell
I know! Everyone probably knows about this one (and has read it), but I really have to put it on the list. This is a classic dystopian novel; a political thriller. George Orwell shares his visions of a totalitarian and a bureaucratic world. Although the novel lacks character depths, it should be read for its terrifyingly political and hauntingly psychological themes.
Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
There are very few books you shouldn’t go without reading and this is one of those. A very heartwarming story of two teenage Mexican-American boys Aristotle and Dante who seem to have very few things in common. This novel is a coming of age story that weaves the lives of these two boys in a very beautiful way. In conclusion, I’d call this one an emotional rollercoaster because this book really makes you feel things.
We should all be feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Adapted from her much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name, this book will have you gift a copy to literally every person in the world. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks about feminism and what it means today in a very short, effective way. She narrates her personal experiences making fantastic points and yet, without coming off as preachy. A very eloquent read that can be read in under half an hour.
Night on the Galactic Railroad by Kenji Miyazawa
Japanese authors never fail to metamorphose an ordinary situation into something that is really riveting. And this book is no exception. It is a story of two little boys, Giovanni and Campanella, who take the magical train bound for the Milky Way. Along with sheer imagination, this book touches themes such as dreams, loss and afterlife.
Kitchen by Yoshimoto Banana
Yet another book by a Japanese author; this one also revolving around the loss of loved ones. The protagonist of this novel is an orphan who was raised by her grandmother. Following the death of the grandmother, this story begins revolving around the everyday reality of life and death. So why the title Kitchen? Well, read the book to find out!
Lifting the Veil: Selected Writings of Ismat Chughtai
A friend lent me this book and it is just wow. As the name itself suggests, this is a collection of some of the writings of Ismat Chughtai where she talks about politics, society and female sexuality with such boldness, it’s unbelievable! Mostly because, she wrote these stories in the 1940s (originally in Urdu), a time when women even thinking such was frowned upon. So, on the whole, this a brilliant read if not brave.
Simon vs. the Homo sapiens agenda by Becky Albertalli
Simon vs. the Homo sapiens agenda follows the story of a 16-year-old, not-so-openly gay Simon Spier. And no, this is not yet another sad gay book with a terrible ending. If this book is anything, then it’s a cute romance between Simon and well…a mystery boy. Because yes, this mystery is everything! So do yourself a favour and pick this one up like, right now!