The New Year is a time of goal setting, change, and resolution for many. For me, this time of year is the beginning of my yearly reflection on all the reading I’ve done so I can write recommendations for lovely readers like you.
My 2022 column “I read 88 books last year…these are my top 5,” is chock-full of explanations of the health benefits of reading, so I won’t rehash them. If these reasons motivate you to make 2022 the year of reading for fun, If not, my next tactic is pure malice.the average american reads 12 books Year. want to be average? Want to be below average? No? I didn’t think so. Then scribble a small addition to your New Year’s resolutions list — read 13 books, and her five recommendations on this list are a great start to achieving that goal.
- “On Earth We’re Easily Gorgeous” ocean vong
This is a book I read last year and have recommended to everyone I know, bought multiple copies to give to people, and have been thinking about it ever since I read it. It’s a stunning tale of a son’s relationship with an immigrant mother, but it’s much more than that.
“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” a novel composed A letter written by the main character, Little Dog, to his illiterate mother. The novel dives deep into Asian-American identity, queer love and sadness. Vuong is a poet, so every line pierces the heart and serves as a reminder of how beautiful language can be and how powerful it can be. I have nothing but good things to say about this novel, so if I had to pick just one from this list, it would be this one.
- “Count of Monte Cristo” Alexandre Dumas
Now, this story book may look intimidating: 1,300 pages is no easy task. But I promise you, it’s worth it. I recommended The Count of Monte Cristo to her mother, who is in nursing school, and it took two months, but she never gave up. It also became one of her favorite books of the year.
The Count of Monte Cristo is a novel about revenge. A novel full of mystery and intrigue. But above all, it’s a masterclass in storytelling.This classic novel draws you into the characters and their relationships. The story is set in post-Napoleonic France and begins with a jealous sailor and a crooked magistrate imprisoning the young sailor Edmond Dantès on his wedding night for a crime he didn’t commit. He is taken to Castle If, where he sits and plots revenge on his enemies. There are secret burials, treason, and love. Most of all, it’s a book you don’t want to read through, even if it’s over 1,300 pages.
- “Anna KareninaLeo Tolstoy
I’ll admit — 2022 has been a long book year for me. But don’t be put off by the length of my recommendations. All of these novels are worth your time to read. In this classic of Russian literature, Tolstoy creates a diorama of her 1870s Russian aristocracy. The novel explores a large cast of characters interwoven with stories to explore relationships and the nature of the human psyche. Anna Karenina herself is a complex and troublesome character.
The novel explores many themes, but mainly focuses on Anna’s love affair with a man named Vronsky. Vronsky threatens not only to disrupt their own lives, but to disrupt the entire social order of Russia’s upper classes. Levin is incredibly adorable, but none of the characters are perfect. If you’re interested in Russian literature and looking for recommendations other than Crime and Punishment, I highly recommend Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.
- “Wasteland and other poetryTS Elliott
Last year certainly lacked poetry endorsements, so I wanted to include a few poems on this year’s list. “The Wasteland” is considered one of his greatest poems of all time. Eliot wrote it after taking a psychotic break. It’s a dark and pessimistic tour through a dying civilization, the frenzy of a man struggling with modernity and utterly unable to cope with the rapid changes in the world happening around him. Ezra Pound describes “Wasteland” as “the legitimacy of our modern experimental ‘movement'” and is arguably a poem that everyone in the modern world should read at least once in their lives.
The edition of “The Wasteland” to which I linked also includes other early works by Eliot. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is my personal favorite Eliot poem, and it’s made by a very unconfident little guy at a party about aging existential thoughts and perceptions of others. looking for All in all, this collection will take you only a few days to read and will draw you into the wonderful world of modernist poetry.
- “UlyssesJames Joyce
please listen. Yes, I know this book is always on the top 100 hardest books list. I know that this book is the pinnacle of modernist literature, which is very difficult. I know this book has a reputation for being pretentious and sometimes silly. I’m not going to lie it’s difficult. It took me nearly a month to read, and the novel had frequent moments when I had absolutely no idea what was going on. But even in that moment, my confusion was no big deal.
“Ulysses”, at the heart of the novel, is a very simple story. It takes place over the course of a day and follows a small cast of characters throughout the streets of Dublin. I live in fear. The novel slips in and out of the stream of consciousness, playing with language, time and narrative structure. Simply put, it’s like nothing you’ve read before.
If you decide that 2023 is the year you read Ulysses, I applaud you. worth it. And here are some advices. First, it’s okay if you don’t know what’s going on all the time. There are sections that feel like feverish dreams, if not the entire novel. Just keep doing it and know that at some point you will return to the story thread or another. Don’t be afraid to laugh at it. There’s an entire section where Bloom looks like she’s being stepped on by a gender fluid ruler. don’t take it too seriously. Finally, don’t be scared. Completing “Ulysses” is an achievement in itself, regardless of how much you actually understand. If you want to try your hand at reading this year, I highly recommend giving Ulysses a try. In conclusion, it’s just a good book.
that’s all! This concludes all last year’s recommendations. I hope you find something that resonates with you and pick it up for the new year. If you’ve read any of the books I’ve recommended, please email me your thoughts. Please let us know. Until next year, dear readers.
Anna Fischer writes about women’s empowerment, literature and the arts. She’s really into bagels.she writes her a letter [email protected].