There is a certain joy that comes from a pile of new books waiting to be read, especially going into the new year. Whether they are on the shelf at a library or bookstore or sitting on the shelf at home, a book holds a promise of adventures to come. We are not always only in the mood for one type of book. Reading feeds me in different ways. Sometimes, I want to snuggle up in front of a fire and immerse myself in a novel, while other times I read to learn about a topic (see my previous blog post about this!)
It is interesting to look at my bookshelf and see how the books I read when I was younger lead to books that I read now: D'Aulaires Books of Greek Myths leading to the first female translation of The Odyssey, The Collections of Robert Frost leading to A Book of Luminous Things.
Here’s what is on my New Year’s booklist:
Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire
There are some novels that I just want to curl up and read the moment I see it. Egg and Spoon, a book about mistaken identities, economic differences, and fairy tales, made me do this with gusto.
My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Since I saw Sonia Sotomayor speak at the Hill Center, I have been interested in the lives of the Supreme Court Justices--especially the female ones. My Own Words is a collection of Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s writings from childhood to present day. This RBG book looked like a perfect mixture of two things that interest me now, writing and the supreme court.
Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee
With all the news surrounding North Korea, Every Falling Star is the perfect way to get a glimpse of what it is like to live there. Sungju Lee writes about his life in North Korea, from his privileged childhood, into poverty, and finally his escape.
Into English: Poems, Translations, Commentaries by Martha Collins and Kevin Prufer
Have you ever wondered what the thought process is for people who are translating poems? How similar are they to the original text? How much the translated version is its own poem? I found myself wondering these things after I read The Book of Luminous Things and saw that almost every poem had "translated by…" written underneath. This collection gathers different translations of poems and a commentary on the translators’ decisions.
The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson
This is the first female translation of the Odyssey. After reading an article about her and her translation of the Odyssey, I couldn’t help picking it up from the library. I have always been interested in Greek myths starting with D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths, and this is the perfect way to grow my interest.
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
My history teacher recommended this book for us to discuss together. It is a wonderful memoir that is about Barbara Ehrenreich’s experience living as a minimum wage worker for a year.
And the less traditional “books”:
New York Times Easiest Crossword Puzzles edited by Will Shortz
My grandpa was a genius at crossword puzzles, leaving behind a big legacy to fill. New York Times Easiest Crossword Puzzles was (I have already completed a couple--I couldn’t hold back) the perfect place to start, with “150 very easy puzzles”. They are very cleverly arranged and the perfect level for a beginning crossword puzzler.
Poetry is a beautiful magazine full of modern poetry. It comes out every month and provides a charming collection of poets writings that each have a different perspective on the world.