Another year done & dusted, and it was certainly one for the books! Literally. I was a reading machine and made my way through a massive number of great reads. Fourteen books to be exact. I've always enjoyed reading but really connected with it on another level this year. There are a couple of reasons for this:
1. Reading helps me wind down before bed. Especially fiction novels, I think the escapism helps me de-stress.
2. It's a great way to avoid boredom. And I had a lot of time on my hands at certain points this year. I moved to Stockholm and I had no idea what I was doing with my life!
3. You never quite know what you're in for. Buying used books from the very small English section at the second hand store means I have to take what I can get. But, I have had some GREAT finds. Like, seriously surprising, wonderful stories to read.
4. It's a really nice way to spend an evening. We don't own a TV, so I read instead.
So I was thinking, maybe you'd like some reading recommendations to start 2018 off right with? Here are my top 7 reads from this past year (in the order in which I read them):
1. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi: Starting in Ghana in the 18th century following characters from one generation to the next, all the way through to modern day America. Through British colonization, the slave trade, civil war and Harlem. This book is incredible, I definitely recommend it.
2. Wild by Cheryl Strayed: I absolutely recommend this to anyone who loves an adventure, a good challenge and some soul searching. Cheryl Strayed writes about her epic 3 months 1,100 miles solo trek along the Pacific Crest Trail. I really loved this book. Her bravery is incredible and is so inspiring to get out there and do something that pushes you out of your comfort zone.
3. This Must be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell: Claudette Wells is, or was, the wife and muse of a temperamental Swedish film-maker. She disappears at the height of her career, never to be seen again. She has pulled the ultimate vanishing act and disappears to the isolated valleys of Ireland where she lives a challenging but honest life with her children and future husband. This book is incredible for depicting the struggles with all face in life. This one is definitely in my top 3.
4. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert: I loved this book so much I wrote a book report and gave a presentation on it at nutrition school! I was a little put of by the cheesy title of this book written by the author of Eat, Pray, Love, but I'm glad I looked past this. Her writing, stories and insights really inspired me to pursue a life of creativity. There are so many great takeaways from this books that I reflect on on a regular basis.
5. Ruby by Cynthia Bond: this is a heavy, heart-wrenching read but absolutely beautifully written. The ultimate story of survival by Ruby, a victim of human trafficking, set between Texas and New York City in the middle of the 1900s. The style of writing takes a little to get used to, but this book left a powerful impact on me.
6. Bear Town by Fredrik Backman: written by a Swedish author, this novel takes place in a small northern town with nothing else going for it other than hockey. The dream of making it to the NHL is everything to the boys and for the town as well. But when the next future superstar is accused of sexual assault, the town is thrown into turmoil. With lots of great character development and a little insight into what it must be like growing up as future hockey stars, this book was a real page turner.
7. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows: a really beautiful story set in 1946 when writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, leading her to start writing letters to a whole group of people on the island of Guernsey. In need of inspiration for her new book, she heads to Guernsey and the story unfolds. A great one to snuggle up in bed with and definitely feeds the creative soul.
If you have any reading recommendations, I'd love to hear them! Please share in the comments below.
Shannon x x