Maybe I can have this as a tradition now. I’ll list books that I really want to read every start of the year and see my progress once the year ends. I have posted a list like this last year and I was not able to even finish just half of the books on that list. But believe me, this year will be different. It will be different. 🙂 *crossing fingers*
This list does not include books that are yet to be released. I also no longer included books on my last year’s list of books that I am excited to read that I haven’t finished yet. Here we go! 🙂
Signs Preceding the End of the World by Herrera Yuri
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: And Other Stories (March 10, 2015)
Signs Preceding the End of the World is one of the most arresting novels to be published in Spanish in the last ten years. Yuri Herrera does not simply write about the border between Mexico and the United States and those who cross it. He explores the crossings and translations people make in their minds and language as they move from one country to another, especially when there’s no going back.
Traversing this lonely territory is Makina, a young woman who knows only too well how to survive in a violent, macho world. Leaving behind her life in Mexico to search for her brother, she is smuggled into the USA carrying a pair of secret messages – one from her mother and one from the Mexican underworld.
– I’ve read a guest review of this book over at Nazahet’s blog Read Diverse Books. Reading it was described as “a once in one hundred books’ type of experience.” And I am like. “SOLD. Give me that book now.”
The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss
Paperback: 331 pages
Publisher: Granta (July 7, 2016)
Adam is a stay-at-home dad who is also working on a history of the bombing and rebuilding of Coventry Cathedral. He is a good man and he is happy. But one day, he receives a call from his daughter’s school to inform him that, for no apparent reason, fifteen-year-old Miriam has collapsed and stopped breathing. In that moment, he is plunged into a world of waiting, agonising, not knowing.
The story of his life and the lives of his family are rewritten and re-told around this shocking central event, around a body that has inexplicably failed. In this exceptionally courageous and unflinching novel of contemporary life Sarah Moss goes where most of us wouldn’t dare to look, and the result is riveting – unbearably sad, but also miraculously funny and ultimately hopeful.
The Tidal Zone explores parental love, overwhelming fear, illness and recovery. It is about clever teenagers and the challenges of marriage. It is about the NHS, academia, sex and gender in the twenty-first century, the work-life juggle, and the politics of packing lunches and loading dishwashers. It confirms Sarah Moss as a unique voice in modern fiction and a writer of luminous intelligence.
– Booktube convinced me to include this one in my list of books to read this year.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (May 1, 1991)
The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children’s voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden’s voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.
– A lot has been said about this classic book. If there’s one classic book that I want to really read this year, it’s definitely this book. I can’t wait to share my own thoughts about it.
Human Acts by Han Kang
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Portobello Books (January 6, 2016)
Gwangju, South Korea, 1980. In the wake of a viciously suppressed student uprising, a boy searches for his friend’s corpse, a consciousness searches for its abandoned body, and a brutalised country searches for a voice. In a sequence of interconnected chapters the victims and the bereaved encounter censorship, denial, forgiveness and the echoing agony of the original trauma.
Human Acts is a universal book, utterly modern and profoundly timeless. Already a controversial bestseller and award-winning book in Korea, it confirms Han Kang as a writer of immense importance.
– The Vegetarian is the best book that I read from last year so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be reading another book by Han Kang this year. I heard from reviews about this book that some of the chapters here were told through the perspective of a ghost. If that did not make you feel intrigued, I don’t know what else.
Si Amapola sa 65 na Kabanata by Ricky Lee
Paperback: 364 pages
Publisher: Philippine Writers Studio Foundation, Inc. (2011)
ASWANG KA BA?
NARINIG MO NA BA ANG ALAMAT NG BAKLA?
MAY PAG-ASA PA BA ANG PILIPINAS?
Eleksyon, 2010. Isang baklang impersonator, si Amapola, ang naging manananggal at nakatanggap ng propesiya na siya ang itinakdang magliligtas sa Pilipinas. Ang naghatid ng balita: si Emil, isang pulis na Noranian. Ang pasimuno ng balita: si Sepa, ang lola sa tuhod ni Amapola, na nanggaling pa sa panahon ng Kastila at may unrequited love noon kay Andres Bonifacio.
Ang ikalawang nobela ni Ricky Lee ay isang hati-hating tingin sa buhay at pag-ibig ni Amapola at ng kanyang mga mahal sa buhay, at sa buhay at pag-ibig na rin ng mga taong gusto nating pakialaman, dito sa bansang tinatawag nating Pilipinas, sa isang panahonng halos humihingi tayo ng mga kababalaghan. At donuts.
Napaka-imaginative ng Pilipino at di nauubusan ng mga bagong paraan ng pagdurusa.
– This year is finally the year that I’ll be reading another Ricky Lee book. I’m curious what’s in store for me in this one.
We Are the Ants by Shaund David Hutchinson
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse; First edition. edition (January 19, 2016)
From the “author to watch” (Kirkus Reviews) of The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley comes a brand-new novel about a teenage boy who must decide whether or not the world is worth saving.
Henry Denton has spent years being periodically abducted by aliens. Then the aliens give him an ultimatum: The world will end in 144 days, and all Henry has to do to stop it is push a big red button.
Only he isn’t sure he wants to.
After all, life hasn’t been great for Henry. His mom is a struggling waitress held together by a thin layer of cigarette smoke. His brother is a jobless dropout who just knocked someone up. His grandmother is slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s. And Henry is still dealing with the grief of his boyfriend’s suicide last year.
Wiping the slate clean sounds like a pretty good choice to him.
But Henry is a scientist first, and facing the question thoroughly and logically, he begins to look for pros and cons: in the bully who is his perpetual one-night stand, in the best friend who betrayed him, in the brilliant and mysterious boy who walked into the wrong class. Weighing the pain and the joy that surrounds him, Henry is left with the ultimate choice: push the button and save the planet and everyone on it…or let the world—and his pain—be destroyed forever.
– Another book that I hoped to read from last year but failed to do so.
More Happy than Not by Adam Silvera
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Soho Teen (June 2, 2015)
In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again—but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.
When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.
Why does happiness have to be so hard?
– Some of the book bloggers that I trust consider Adam Silvera’s More Happy than Not as their best book from a debut author that they read from last year. I trust them so I’m giving this a go.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Philomel Books; First Printing edition (February 2, 2016)
World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.
Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.
Told in alternating points of view and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, Erik Larson’s Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein’s Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff—the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity and love can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.
– I love Ruta Sepetys. Sadly, I failed to read any of her books last year. This year is the time to make up for that.
Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (July 16, 2013)
It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives.
But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.
Awaiting the judge’s decree, it becomes clear to Anna that everyone around her thinks she is not only guilty, but also dangerous. And when the whole story comes out, reality is more shocking than anyone ever imagined.
– I am intrigued by the number of readers who consider this book as totally mind-blowing. I am in for that ride.
No Knives in the Kitchen of this City
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press; Tra edition (October 15, 2016)
In the once beautiful city of Aleppo, one Syrian family descends into tragedy and ruin.
Irrepressible Sawsan flirts with militias, the ruling party, and finally religion, seeking but never finding salvation. She and her siblings and mother are slowly choked in violence and decay, as their lives are plundered by a brutal regime.
Set between the 1960s and 2000s, No Knives in the Kitchens of this City unravels the systems of fear and control under Assad. With eloquence and startling honesty, it speaks of the persecution of a whole society.
– A book set in Aleppo. This will be a timely and important read.
On Bittersweet Place by Ronna Wineberg
Paperback: 270 pages
Publisher: Relegation Books (September 16, 2014)
On Bittersweet Place is the powerful coming-of-age story of Lena Czernitski, a young Russian Jew whose family flees their homeland in the Ukraine after the October Revolution. The story unfolds in Chicago during the Jazz Age of the 1920’s, where Lena’s impoverished family has settled and where she must traverse the early years of adolescence. Lena’s new world is large and beautiful and full of promise, but it is also cold and unwelcoming and laden with danger. Ronna Wineberg delivers a moving, universal story of family, self-discovery, young love, and the always relevant experience of the immigrant, the refugee, the outsider struggling to create a new home and a better life in an unfamiliar place.
– The cover of this book caught my attention. Based on the reviews that I reviews that I read this is not just another immigrant story. Count me in!
Kingdom of Ashes (Nightfall #1) by Elena May
Paperback: 540 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (October 30, 2016)
Myra never witnessed the Nightfall. She has only heard stories from the eldest among them; tales of the Old World and of the scientists who invented the WeatherWizard–a technological innovation that controls the weather. Unfortunately, the device also gave an ambitious vampire prince the means to cover the world in impenetrable clouds, allowing his armies to crawl out of their caves and conquer all.
Vampires rule over the New World, breeding humans for food. After fifty years of guerrilla warfare, the Resistance is fading, its supplies dwindling. They must rally and succeed–and soon–or all hope of restoring human civilization will be lost.
When Myra goes on a desperate mission to help the Resistance, she ends up a captive in the vampires’ palace. With time running out, she must find a way to stop Prince Vladimir, and every wrong step leads to the death of innocents. Her battle abilities prove useless, but Myra discovers she has another skill that can give her an edge over her captors. Now, Myra must defeat the vampire leader at a power game he has been playing for almost two millennia.
– I am always on the look out for up and coming fantasy authors and this book’s premise seems right up my alley so when the author asked me if I want to receive a copy of her book, I immediately said yes.
The Woman from Tantoura by Radwa Ashour
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press; 1 edition (June 15, 2014)
Palestine. For most of us, the word brings to mind a series of confused images and disjointed associations-massacres, refugee camps, UN resolutions, settlements, terrorist attacks, war, occupation, checkered kouffiyehs and suicide bombers, a seemingly endless cycle of death and destruction. This novel does not shy away from such painful images, but it is first and foremost a powerful human story, following the life of a young girl from her days in the village of al-Tantoura in Palestine up to the dawn of the new century. We participate in events as they unfold, seeing them through the uneducated but sharply intelligent mind of Ruqayya, as she tries to make sense of all that has happened to her and her family. With her, we live her love of her land and of her people; we feel the repeated pain of loss, of diaspora and of cross-generational misunderstanding; and above all, we come to know her indomitable human spirit. As we read we discover that we have become part of Ruqayya’s family, and her voice will remain with us long after we have closed the book.
– A book with a very high ratings in Goodreads that has flown under the radar. Based on its synopis, this book is an an honest account of Palestine which is a place I want to read more about.
Are You Here For What I’m Here For? by Brian Booker
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press (May 10, 2016)
The suspense creeps in and takes hold in seven stories about troubled characters grappling with rare illnesses, menacing chance encounters, sexual awakening, impending natural disasters, and New Age cults.
Within these pages, the everyday meets the uncanny as two high school friends go out for one unforgettable night. A boy, haunted by dreams of a catastrophic flood, becomes swept up in an encephalitis epidemic. A hypochondriac awaits her diagnosis at a Caribbean health resort. A disease researcher meets his nemesis on a train. A father searches for his missing son in a remote mountain lodge where nothing is quite as it seems. An elderly pharmacist protects his adopted nephew, who found a mermaid in a bottle, from a coastal village gripped by hysteria. A teenager is sent to a “therapeutic” boarding school with disturbing methods and is reunited with a staff member years later.
Even at its most surreal, this polished and lyrical debut remains grounded in the emotional lives of people teetering atop widening chasms of confusion and doubt.
– A short story collection I received from the book’s publisher last year. Reading the synopsis, I have that feeling that this book will take me on a weird type of ride. I love that in a book.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (June 7, 2016)
The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.
Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.
– A book I missed reading last year. I’ve been constantly reminding myself to read this before the year ends but sadly missed the oppurtunity because of schedule. This year will definitely be it.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Doubleday; 1St Edition edition (August 2, 2016)
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
– A book that is almost always in all the “must-read” and “best book” of 2016 list that I’ve read. That has piqued my interest
Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Solaris (February 10, 2015)
A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery, set against the background of Mexico City.
Mexico City, 1988: Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said “I love you” with a mixtape. Meche, awkward and fifteen, has two equally unhip friends — Sebastian and Daniela — and a whole lot of vinyl records to keep her company. When she discovers how to cast spells using music, the future looks brighter for the trio. With help from this newfound magic, the three friends will piece together their broken families, change their status as non-entities, and maybe even find love…
Mexico City, 2009: Two decades after abandoning the metropolis, Meche returns for her estranged father’s funeral. It’s hard enough to cope with her family, but then she runs into Sebastian, and it revives memories from her childhood she thought she buried a long time ago. What really happened back then? What precipitated the bitter falling out with her father? And, is there any magic left?
– One of my favorite Booktubers, Rincey at Rincey Reads, tagged this one as the best book that he read for 2015 and one of the book bloggers that I trust, Carolyn at A Hundred Thousand Stories included this book as one of the best that she read from last year. I should really be reading this one soon.
So what are the books that you’re excited to read this year? Do we have the same books in common? Any books from above that you’ve already read? Let me know your thoughts. 🙂