Ringing in the New Year: Book Tag and I’m it!

The Scene: A well-lit bedroom, strewn with clothes and books, drawing supplies and souvenir shot glasses, a Taylor guitar and an antique typewriter.

The Players: One Stephanie, sitting against the headboard in bed, laptop in place, surrounded by detritus of the evening – books, 2016 planner, prismacolor pens, iPad, chargers and Rolos. Two cats, both alternating between pacing and hiding under the bed in fear of the fireworks that have been sporadically going off all evening.

The Mood Music: Tricky’s Blowback album.

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Ringing in the New Year Book Tag

Shaun at Tales in Anxiety tagged me to do this Ringing in the New Year Book thingy. I’ve been avoiding doing these – and please don’t be offended if you’ve tagged me to do something but I didn’t. I just couldn’t resist this one, though, cuz I’m nuts about books! By the way, carry your asses over to Shaun’s place – he’s a good writer. Not only that, but he’s a fucking cool dude – so go on!

Now. Y’all know how I do. Fuck the rules; let’s get right into the questions! (Which are really fucking tough, by the way.)

Best book/series you read in 2015?

I’m going to give you two books: one a non-fiction memoir and one literary fiction. These were my two favorite books of the year:

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban, by Malala Yousafzai. Malala’s story is not only important for the advancement of basic human rights the world over, but it’s also some pretty fucking important perspective. Things can always be worse – and for far too many people, they are. Malala is a brave young woman who stood up for her rights, and the rights of others in her situation. For that, she nearly lost her life. And you know what? It didn’t stop her – nay, it bolstered her and made her voice into a powerful force for good. Her memoir is the perfect blend of Pakistani history and political climate for reference with the recounting of what happened to her.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, by Haruki Murakami. Murakami is my favorite fiction author, period. He has been for a few years now. I haven’t read all of his books…yet. But that’s only because I’ve forced myself to slow down because I’m dreading the day I’m caught up and don’t have any new Murakami to read. Murakami is this weird, magical realist and surrealist author. I don’t really know what to say. Perhaps Kafkaesque. All I know is that Murakami gives me characters that I can relate to alongside most unrealistic characters. I love his jazz references and the simple scenes and detailed minutia. But I also love the mind-boggling surreal scenes that are insane…and profound. He always makes me think – and good lord the caliber of his writing. Just. Just read him.

Authors you’ve recently found and would like to read more of in the new year?

Both of these are authors that have been around for a long time, but I only read a book by each of them this year. Both of them drew me in and taught me about different cultures – which I love reading about. So I would love to read more by Amy Tan as well as Chinua Achebe. Fantastic writers and able to draw you in to different cultures and lands. I read Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

I’m also gonna take this as a chance to tell you about what’s next up from my TBR pile:

  • The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman
  • The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Kinda pumped about all four of those!

Most anticipated book turned movie?

Okay. This may be cheating, because the movie has already been out for quite some time. I don’t really keep up with books turned movies very well. But one I’ve been looking forward to seeing and haven’t gotten to yet is The Martian, based on the book of the same name by Andy Weir. I enjoyed the book – it was a super fast read. I kinda raced a coworker to see who could finish first. I know. Weird. Anyway! It wasn’t some masterpiece, but it was a decent book, and the main character was a snarky pottymouth. So I approved. I do think it’s one of those rare ones that could make a better movie than book, so I want to see it at some point.

Name a character you wouldn’t mind sharing a kiss with at midnight.

Westley from The Princess Bride. He’s loyal and funny and a smartass and did time as a pirate. He wins battles of wit, brute strength and sword fights. He comes back from the dead to rescue his true love. Definitely Westley. I want to hear, “As you wish,” to my silly little whims or shows of affection.

How many books do you hope to read in 2016?

I think my Goodreads goal for 2015 was 24 books. I’ve finished the year with a total of 42 books read. A couple of those were short comic books, but the rest were novels (or at least novel-length). I think I’ll keep my goal the same for 2016, because I like keeping track of what I’ve read – but I also don’t want to turn reading into a stressful thing that I feel I fail if I didn’t do a certain amount. 24 is perfectly doable for me, without being stressful or feeling I’ve failed myself. But it would be cool if I could make it to 50 this time!

Will you participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge? 

Yeah! See above!

Any New Year’s Resolutions? (Bookish or otherwise?)

Not really. I don’t really do resolutions. But, I do have ongoing goals that I will continue to work on. Goals such as: be a better person, be kind to myself, work on my health, and find courage to carpe the fucking diem! And somewhere in all of that, I will continue to be a reading machine!

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I nominate all y’all, cuz that’s how I roll. Anybody wanna do it? Do it. You no wanna? No do it.