I read 55 books last year. I made some guidelines for 2015: a new author every week, stick to recent releases, something literary, and only read books I never read before. Sounds boring, but it was important to me. This year, however, I’m doing whatever the hell I want. I’m not worried about a number like I was last year, or those stupid rules. I still have a reading goal (4/month), but I can read things I’ve already read and am trying some more “fun” titles.
This month was a great way to start 2016. Read one of my favorite books to kick off the new year, read two debuts from authors I’ve interviewed (links below) and read a Star Wars book that’s basically fan fiction. Check them out below.
Columbine – Dave Cullen (2009)
Completed January 3
What it’s about: the most thorough look into the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School written by a journalist who was there the day of the event and many years after.
Why you should read it: it’s not just a cliched narrative. It jumps around to keep a tension similar to a thriller novel. Cullen is able to explore a variety of topic including depression, myths, grieving, PTSD, and so many more as well as a level headed approach to a timeline of the journey of two killers.
Girl Through Glass – Sari Wilson (2016)
Completed January 7 (Read my interview with Wilson here.)
What it’s about: an 11 year old ballet starlet in 1977 and her relationship with a shadowy middle-aged man. Years later, a dance professor’s past comes back to haunt her.
Why you should read it: even though it’s “about ballet” this book delivers emotionally relatable characters. It’s short and the lack of knowledge about certain scenes builds tension.
Star Wars: Heir to the Empire – Timothy Zahn (1991)
Completed January 18
What it’s about: Luke, Leia, and Han continue their galactic battles as they try to rebuild the galaxy’s Republic after the events of Return of the Jedi. This was the book that helped mold the Expanded Universe and is the first in the Thrawn Trilogy.
Why you should read it: sure, it’s technically fan fiction at this point since the EU was wiped out and isn’t considered canon anymore. However, the trilogy is what so many considered Episodes VII, VIII, IX for so many years. Plus, you can still pretend most of this happened – with some grand exceptions – until the new canon proves otherwise.
What Belongs to You – Garth Greenwell (2016)
Completed January 26 (Read my interview with Greenwell here.)
What it’s about: an unnamed gay American teacher meets a male prostitute in a bathroom while living and teaching abroad in Bulgaria. Told in three parts, the story follows this man as he begins a passionate infatuation with the boy.
Why you should read it: even if that description doesn’t entice you, please read this novel. It’s so beautifully written. Greenwell’s prose is so lyrical that it swells perfectly like a crescendo. There is a sweetness that comes from the writer’s obvious passion for exploring LGBT issues. Again, this is a beautiful book. That’s really all you need to go pick this debut up.