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Tag: book reviews

2016 – Books I’ve Read This Year

I’ve always loved fiction for as long as I can remember. To me, characters, albeit imaginary ones, speak more truth than the surface-level information and knowledge I get from most nonfiction books. As a kid I fell in love with them while trying to improve my English. I started reading more because I heard that reading improves your linguistic abilities. Then as I grew up, and I don’t know if it’s just me, it seems like people respect you more if you read more nonfiction than mere literature, as it implies you’ve acquired more real-world, practical and applicable knowledge rather than just reading for pleasure. I gave in to that impression and gradually lost interest in books at all.

This year, however, has been the year that I embraced my true self. I made a simple goal of reading 12 books of any kind to fall in love with books again, and I ended up with 99% fiction. As I said, reading was one way I take pleasure, and I find great joy in watching stories unfold and journeying with particular characters as they go through highs and lows in order to experience change. Like a cup of good tea, it’s been a way for me to unwind and loosen the tangled thoughts in my head. It takes my mind off myself and watching how another character as flawed as I am faces his or her challenges. I’m glad I’ve taken the plunge into worlds that only exist in the mind once again, because as Einstein famously said, imagination is more important than knowledge. Reading into characters deeply has made me a more considerate and empathetic person than I was a year ago.

Here are the pieces of literature (plus one nonfiction) I’ve read this year, listed in reading chronological order:

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The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

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The Fifth Gospel
by Ian Caldwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“We are a religion of captains hoping to go down with the ship. Though we teach our children that the worst thing Judas ever did – worse even than betraying Jesus – was committing suicide, the truth is that what moves the lifeblood of our faith is a thumping impulse toward self-destruction. Greater love has no one than this, Jesus says in the gospel of John. To lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

This is easily one of the best books I’ve ever read. I’ve got so much to say that this review has bloated up to the length of a standard novella. You were warned.
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Playing with the Grown-Ups by Sophie Dahl

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Playing With The Grown Ups by Sophie Dahl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not surprised that the average Goodreads ratings for this book is a so-so 3.24 out of 5 stars at the moment I’m writing this review. It reaffirms the fact that taste is relative, because I actually really enjoyed the simple plot and the complicated characters. It’s a plainly beautiful story.

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Airport reading: Books to bring along with you

 

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