• Mansha Anand

Carpe Librum | 2018

For the previous two years, one of my goals has been to read twenty-four books in one year. For the last two years I have also failed to achieve this goal. I find this oddly funny because when I was in my early teens and younger even - I read books by the truckload. I could finish a book within a day if I was feeling extra ambitious but as I have grown older, this pace has decelerated and I've realized something key to my book reading habits. While growing up, I was constantly imagining ways my life would be different if certain aspects of it could/ ever did change. However, I neither had the guts nor the tools to try making these changes myself. Enter: books. No matter the story being told, books were the rabbit-hole I went down to get lost in fictional universes. There's a saying that says "you find it hard to sleep once your dreams become reality..." or something to that tune anyway. I attribute my book reading habits with the same philosophy. As I grew older and moved around a lot, I experienced love, heartbreak and the meaning of loyalty among other cliché things - and my life became the very thing I would read about in books. I couldn't sleep because I was finally living my dreams and I no longer threw myself into a book because I was finally living the story.

None of this is to say I don't enjoy reading because I most definitely do. I still feel a rush of excitement as I walk into a bookstore and take in the new book smell. I still love reading them and throwing myself into an authors words - uh hello I was an English major in college. The difference now is, I buy more books than I can possibly read and I've learnt how much value came from reading as many books as I used to, when I was a kid.

I say this to everyone I know who struggles with writing - 'it's because you're not reading enough.' I wholeheartedly believe that the more I read, the easier it is for me to write at a consistent pace - whether that be for work, school or for this blog. I get major writers block when I don't read enough or at all. The reason being that when you read, you're being exposed to a strain of letters that have been strung together in a way that can only be written - not spoken. So when you don't read, you don't have that familiarity with written work and your brain, which is a muscle, isn't being trained to think in that way. Just like the rest of the muscles in your body - you need to keep them moving or you'll struggle every time you try to shake your booty. Anyway, if you don't care to/ need to write, then this is irrelevant but I genuinely believe reading is good for your soul, so try doing it anyway!

Basically, all the above is my long-winded reasoning as to why I think I haven't been able to complete my reading goals. And although reading is something that I don't want to be goal-driven but rather desire-driven, I know I need to find a way to encourage myself to pick up a book, over my mobile.

This year, instead of picking an exact number of books I want to read, I'm going to pick actual book titles. I think this method will do two things a) it'll cut down the decision making time on what book I should read next / whether I want to read a series / single works and b) it'll mean I finally read all the books I've been wanting to read for years instead of letting them stack up on a shelf. This way, I can catch up with all the novels I have and hopefully be able to read new releases as and when they come out. Finally, if the year ends before I finish my list - those exact books will just carry onto the next year. No harm, no foul.

Now my fellow book nerds, if you're interested in seeing what's on my list this year, keep scrolling! All of these are brand new books (mostly) because I have a bad habit of re-reading old books again and again. Ya know, like how people (never me) watch Friends over and over again? And although it's not the end of the world - I'd like to kinda sorta expand my knowledge. Ya dig?

1. Northern Lights/ The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman

Okay, so I read this book a ton of times when I was a kid (like 8 times) BUT I don't remember much except thinking that it wasn't a kids book. Plus, Philip Pullman just came out with another addition to the collection, which my brother gifted me on my birthday so, I figured now would be the perfect time to re-start the series.

2. The Subtle Knife - Philip Pullman

The second book in His Dark Materials series ~ pretty self-explanatory.

3. Bad Feminist - Roxane Gay

Decided to read this book after listening to the Girlboss Radio interview with Roxane Gay (author). After listening, I realized how silly it was for me to not read a book based on the opinion of others and how much I genuinely connected with what the author says during the podcast.

4. The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

I've been wanting to read this book since before it was released! It's supposed to be incredible and I've just been letting it collect dust on my shelf for a year - boo me.

5. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

In one of my college English courses, three different people said this was their favorite book, which confused me because how can you pick one book when there are SEVEN Harry Potter books lol. I'm being serious. I need to know what the hype is about and I've also been waiting to watch the show on Hulu, til after I have read the novel.

6. Paris For One - Jojo Moyes

I'm a HUGE fan of Jojo Moyes' work (go check my It's Lit series) so, this one shouldn't be a surprise.

7. A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3) - George R. R. Martin

I read the first two books in the GoT series last year and started the third one but failed miserably at finishing it. It's not a book I can personally binge read because I get burnt out real quick - which is exactly what happened after I finished the first two books. Also, I need something to fill the TV show void until it's back in 2019, sad face.

8. The Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman

The third book in His Dark Materials series ~ again, pretty self-explanatory.

9. Outliers: The Story of Success - Malcom Gladwell

Recently given to me as a gift: this one will hopefully be a nice change of pace from all the fiction and expose me to some dude's insight on what makes successful people different.

10. Americanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Written by the incredible woman who wrote the bestselling We Should all Be Feminists, which is something I strongly believe everyone should read and makes a great gift for anyone who needs a lesson on what feminism is. I started this book in my last semester of college but didn't get time to finish it hence, it's on the list.

11. A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire #4) - George R.R. Martin

The 4th book in the GoT series, duh.

12. The Nest - Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

Picked this up from the "Bestsellers" shelf in Barnes & Nobles because who doesn't want to read about dysfunctional families??

13. The Girls - Emma Cline

I literally waited for this novel to be released in paperback and then I finally got it... and obvs never read it. Shocking, right?

14. In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs - Grace Bonney

The name kind of says it all! I got this as a gift for Christmas and have started reading it already. I think this is something I'll read when I need some inspiration from badass women. It's really cool because I can read an interview of one women everyday, or one-a-week and it'll be my constant source of inspiration!

And I know, I know - I've only picked fourteen books in comparison to the twenty-four I've wanted to read in previous years. But I'd like to finish these books and novels having enjoyed them, instead of rushing to finish them (plus, the GoT books totally count for 2 books each haha). Like I said before, I can and will add to the list if I finish before the year's up - we'll see what happens!

I hope this post gives you some motivation to read or, ideas on what to read next! If you have any book recommendations, definitely let me know in the comments - I'm someone who believes that recommending someone a book that you think they'll enjoy or can get a lot out of, is one of the best gifts you can give and says a lot to your character (no pressure, lol). Also, if you've read any of the above or are planning to read them, let me know your thoughts too!

Thanks for reading peeps,

P.S. I usually review a book when I finish it, so watch out for my "It's Lit" posts if you wanna hear my thoughts :)

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