30: The number of books I’ve read this year

I read a lot of good books this year and would recommend many of them. The one that stood out the most to me was No Good Men Among the Living by Anand Gopal. I highly, highly recommend this read, it was absolutely captivating. A close second was No Where to Hide by Glenn Greenwald. These two books stood out to me the most because of how timely they are to current events, the incredible level of investigation and reporting that went into them, and the superb writing.

Other notables in the nonfiction category were Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi; Between the World and Me by Ta-Neshisi Coates, which won the National Book Award for non-fiction; and, Irving vs Irving by Jacques Poitras, about the Irving family monopoly in the province of New Brunswick, where I worked for an Irving-owned paper for a year.

The other books in the nonfiction category I read were A Country of Words by Abdel Bari Atwan, which I liked, but sometimes could not get passed the ego of the author; The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, a very memorable and riveting memoir; Bossy Pant by Tina Fey; and, finally,  “A problem from Hell” by Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN. The one book I did not get through was Che Guevera: A Revolutionary Life by John Lee Anderson, which is not a criticism of the author or the subject matter, but I realized I just don’t like biographies. 

I reread the Harry Potter series, which I have not done in a long, long time, and thoroughly enjoyed every second of it…obviously. I did find I had a different experience reading them this time, now I’m later in my twenties. I was more cognizant of the abuse Harry had to endure at the hands of the Dursley’s, something that bothered and horrified me now much more than it did when I was younger. I hugged the Order of the Phoenix when I finished, cried when Dumbledore died, like always, and still felt something in my heart when I read the first sentence of the first book and closed the final page of the Deathly Hallows. I think it’s time for me to set the series aside, the books and the movies, and not read or watch them for 10 years, to see if I can and to see what my experience will be like when I’m nearing forty. Maybe by then there’ll be little me’s running around I can read to. Maybe.

In the young adult and chick-lit category, the book I’d recommend is None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio, about an inter-sex teen. The other books in this category were nothing special, but fun, easy-to-read books which is nice sometimes, especially considering how many heavy topic books I read this year.

I think I need to reread Not Wanted on the Voyage by Timothy Findlay, there was probably a lot I missed because I tend to take things too literally. 

I absolutely loved the mystery books J.K. Rowling wrote under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. So exciting and fun, very well written, highly recommend!

This year I also had the opportunity to read more books, and ones I wouldn’t usually pick up, because of the book club I started, a wonderful way to keep in touch with friends and expand your literary horizons. For book club this year, the books selected were Where the Air is Sweet, by Tasneem Jamal, A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay, No Good Men Among the Living (selected by me) by Anand Gopal, None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio, Go Set a Watchmen by Harper Lee, and lastly, The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to read more books than I read this year. I reached 30 this year (technically 29 and a half because I didn’t get through one). I already have my next two books lined up: Misquoting Muhammad by Jonathan Brown, and I Shall Not Hate by Dr. Izzeldine Abuelaish.

The List:

1. Irving vs Irving – Jacques Poitras

2. Not Wanted on the Voyage – Timothy Findlay

3. Where the Air is Sweet – Tasneem Jamal

4. Bossypants – Tina Fey

5. A Tap on the Window – Linwood Barclay

6. No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes – Anand Gopal

7. None of the Above – I.W. Gregorio

8. The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johansen

9. Che Guevera: A revolutionary Life – John Lee Anderson

10. No Where to Hide – Glenn Greenwald

11. Baby Proof – Emily Griffen

12. Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella

13. The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling

14. The Invasion of the Tearling – Erika Johansen

15. A Country of Words – Abdel Bari Atwan

16. Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee

17. Between the World and Me – Ta-Neshisi Coates

18. Guantanamo Diary – Mohamedou Ould Slahi

19. The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling

20. Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling

21. The Glass Castle – Jeanette Walls

22. The Girl in the Spider’s Web

23. “A problem from Hell.” – Samantha Power

24. Harry Potter 1

25. Harry Potter 2

26. Harry Potter 3

27. Harry Potter 4

28. Harry Potter 5

29. Harry Potter 6

30. Harry Potter 7

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