New Year, New Books

It’s eleven days into 2016 and I’m finally getting around to blogging about last year’s reading goal and the new books I’ve read. It’s safe to say that less procrastinating was not one of my resolutions. Regardless, HAPPY NEW YEAR ELEVEN DAYS, EVERYONE! One of my resolutions should be to stop rainbow-coordinating things in my posts like a child, am I right?

I have begun 2016 in a very different place (in all meanings of the word) than 2015, but it’s kind of comforting knowing that this goal remains the same. Once again, I will attempt to read 100 books this year. Another goal that was kind of placed on the back-burner last year was to refrain from buying any new books until I’d read all that I own. Which is a lot. I’m going to try a lot harder to do that this year. So far so good.

One of the last books I read in 2015 brought up some interesting points about book blogging. Andy Miller, author of The Year of Reading Dangerously, undertook a similar reading goal and resolved to blog about the books he read after he complete them.

He stopped his blogging project before finishing his goal, however, because he felt that his reading had become too focused on what he would later blog about; he was missing important parts of reading the actual book due to this “looking forward” to the blog post that would follow.

I sort of get this, so I might switch up my blog format a bit. I still need to figure out what will work best, but I think it would help if I didn’t go into so much detail about every single book. This will probably be a challenge, brevity is not my strongest suit.

Anyway, all of this is to say that I have completed book #1, book #2, and book #3 of 2016. It feels terrifying and exhilarating to be starting all over from the beginning. #1: The Dinner by Herman Koch; #2: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates; and #3: Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray.

So let’s start with The Dinner. Because this was my first Dutch-translation novel, I have nothing to compare it to. But this book was both hilarious and terrifying. Like if Patrick Bateman was responsible for raising a child. The book takes place on one night, over the course of a dinner between two brothers and their significant others. It’s a pretty brilliant book, and covers the nuances of sibling love-hate relationships to the extreme. I’d recommend it, just be prepared because it escalates very quickly.

Between the World and Me was incredible and heavy and very important. It’s a short read, and consists of Coates writing to his 15-year-old son about his life and what it is to grow up black in America. He tears down the American Dream and compares his life to his sons comparably better and less violent life. It felt like a critical read in this time of disproportionate violence toward black Americans, even though there has always been disproportionate violence toward black Americans. Well-deserving of all the hype, Coates writes beautifully and poetically about things that are not poetic.

And finally, Lair of Dreams. It wouldn’t be 2016 if I wasn’t reading a Libba Bray novel. (That doesn’t make sense at all, but let’s run with it.) This was the sequel to The Diviners, and the second book in the series. I needed something light to follow BtWaM and this did the trick. I loved rediscovering prohibition-era New York and all the crazy characters that Bray had created in it. Although this book felt more vividly nightmarish than the first, so if you’re into creepy imagery and ghosts, you’d probably like this one. I obviously did by default because Libba Bray wrote it.

So that’s it! Three books down, 97 to go. I hope all of your 2016’s are off to a wonderful start. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good year. ◊

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