Well we’re going to be kissing 2014 goodbye in few weeks and welcoming a new year. It’s that time again when people start making resolutions and set goals for 2015, well it’s probably more about updating the previous ones they didn’t realize than creating new ones. Personally, I don’t make new year’s resolutions, because I feel like it’s a waste of time (for me). Well if I realize that I need to commit to something new, and if it’s important enough to truly resolve to do it, then it would be silly to wait until 1st of January, If it’s that important I’m going to commit to it now, whether it’s March, August, or November. But that’s just me 🙂
So instead, I like to do reviews of the previous year: what I did, what I realized, new things I learnt and new people I met. That said, I thought why not make a new series of articles sharing random things I liked and didn’t like in 2014, but also thoughts on different things that happened to me this year. For this first one, and since I moved around quite a bit, which means I needed road companions, I’m going to start with the books I’ve read in 2014 and stood out, either the good or the bad way.
Probably my biggest discovery for this year was “Elif Shafak”. I know this is old news for many of you guys as the Turkish best selling writer was well known for a while now, but since this blog is all about me I’m still going to talk about her. My 2014 “to read pile” included three books by the Turkish writer: The Forty rules of love, The bastard of Istanbul and Honor, and I still can’t believe I’ve waited that long to read her work! Her characters are so real and she pictures them in a way that the reader can’t take sides (well let’s be honest we always take sides while reading novels!), with her you end up liking all of them, even the bad guys. I also loved the fact that she always writes on the foundation of historical background and she does it so beautifully that she always finds a way to take you back there even when the story is taking place in 21st century’s Arizona or Massachusetts.
Amine Maalouf was also one of the writers I consider “out of my comfort zone” and that I started reading in 2014, after a recommendation from a friend. Apparently I chose to set the bar quite high by discovering him through his best work; “Le Rocher du Tanios” and “Samarkand” which I was totally drawn to.
2014 was also the year I wanted to catch up with some classic American novels I always wanted to read but never got the time to do it before –well until I found myself stuck in a bus between Paris and Prague for 18 hours–. My reading list included quite a few of them but I totally fell in love with three; “To kill a mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “The color purple” by Alice Walker and “A Farewell to arms” by Ernest Hemingway (that I’ve read twice!).
Finally, there were also few books I’ve read and didn’t like that much (and I’m being nice here!). You know, the kind of books that when you read them you think:” well if this guy was published, then I might have a shot to find someone to publish the horrible Sci-fi novel I wrote in middle school”. First there is Steve Harvey, the not so funny comedian who wrote a book called “Act like a lady think like a man” which was by the way a best seller in the US (What??), this book is basically geared toward how a woman should behave according to a man. I’m sure I’ve heard it all before and didn’t need to hear it again, so after reading few chapters I threw it back to my bookshelf and pretended I’ve never opened it. The 2nd book I didn’t like was “The signature of all things”. Elizabeth Gilbert is a great writer and an inspiring person, but when it comes to fiction great writing doesn’t always translate into a great book. The Story takes you at the start, but about half way through it really starts to become quite boring. It is well written like all her novels but WAY longer than it has to be. Excellent descriptive passages and character development, but WAY more than is needed. I think she does better when she writes about herself.
So this was my pick from last year’s stack of books read, don’t hesitate to check them out if you’re going away on holiday, if not a cup of hot tea and a blanket would be perfection 🙂
Cheers to the places we yet have to go to!