Maryana Garcia - #LitReads: The 2018 Edition

Last year, I shared with you my favourite kind of list: The Book List. Now, 2018 is quickly drawing to a close. Summer is (sometimes? almost?) here. There are holidays and festivities coming up. It’s time to start some new habits, or rekindle some old ones. It’s time for reflecting on the busy year and all its ups and downs. It’s time to read.

It’s time for the 2018 edition of the #LitReads list.

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First up, let’s get real.

Let’s face it, when we want to relax bringing up the latest Netflix drama on our screen might be easier. When we don’t feel like doing anything, even picking up a book can seem like a bit of a chore. We live in an age that craves quick pleasures. Stuff we enjoy is usually just a click away, and there’s always something to “Watch Next”. Sometimes we get so used to being overstimulated by colour, and sound, and movement, and images - in all the forms those can take - that we forget how to stop, think, and reflect. This leads us to why:

Reading IS good for you.

Just in case you’re not convinced, reading is proven to have many health benefits. In studies carried out in the UK reading has been shown to improve focus, de-stress the mind, and help improve sleep patterns. In fact, bibliotherapy or reading therapy has been a well known and widespread practice since the early 1900’s. Reading a good book has also been shown to help develop the memory. Probably most important of all, is that reading teaches us to walk around in each others’ shoes. One of the healthiest things we can learn from a book is empathy.


You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view....Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird


Reading is all about your point of view.

According to a study by the University of British Columbia reading brings us out of ourselves. We meet characters who remind us of ourselves. We look at a world within a book and think, “Huh, that looks familiar.” We learn to look up and say, “I had never thought of it that way before.” Through reading we enrich our understanding of our own identities, of the people around us, of the world we live in. The characters and settings we meet ask us to step up and out, to look at society through different eyes. When we read we start asking ourselves questions like, “What if?” or “Could I do that?” or “Why?” From there, it’s only a short skip to the next earth shaking question, “What can I do?” That last question is powerful. So the more chances we give ourselves to ask and answer it, the better.

Where do we start?

You may be a bookworm. You may be someone who could just never get into reading. Or you could be a regular reader who’s been on a long break. In any case, I believe that the first step is always about finding the right book. So I’ve compiled a list of 30 titles to get us started.

This list is as diverse as I could make it. These writings represent the voices of authors from all around the world. There is a book about figuring out our place in the world of work (Shaun Tan’s Cicada). Some books may help us make sense of our present (A Fort of Nine Towers, No Country For Old Men), while others will ponder what we can learn from the past (An Artist of the Floating World, Gilead). Still other books will speculate about the future we are in the process of building (Wool, Chaos Walking). There will be beautiful collisions between human beings (A Man Called Ove, The Awakening of Miss Prim, Brideshead Revisited). There will be practical wisdom at its best (basically anything under “Self-Help”).

So if you’re looking for a spin on recent culture (Dandelion Wine is weirdly reminiscent of Riverdale), if you’re prepping for the next page to screen adaptation (Chaos Walking will star Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, and Nick Jonas), if you want a page turning crime story (Six Four, Redemption Road), or a good, old fashioned, swashbuckling tale (The Fall of Gondolin, King Raven) there should be something on this list for you.

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The #LivingLit Book List 2018

Self-Help

Gmorning, Gnight! Little Pep Talks for Me and You by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Make Your Bed by William H McRaven

Chapter One: You Have the Power to Change Stuff by Daniel Flynne

Non-Fiction

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story by Qais Akbar Omar

Graphic Novel

Cicada by Shaun Tan

Maus by Art Spiegelman

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery

Science Fiction/Fantasy

The Fall of Gondolin by J.R.R. Tolkien

King Raven Trilogy by Stephen R Lawhead

Wool by Hugh Howey

Mystery/Thriller

Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama

Redemption Road by John Hart

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Historical Fiction

An Artist of The Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Puppet Boy of Warsaw by Eva Weaver

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Contemporary Fiction

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartín Fenollera

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Classics

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Aotearoa

The Wish Child by Catherine Chidgey

Night Horse by Elizabeth Smither

Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds by Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins

For Younger Readers

Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield


If you're stuck for where to get a good read under such short notice and want to have some local options check out Browsers or Unity Books

That's all from #LivingLit for 2018. Happy reading everybody!

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Maryana Garcia

Maryana is a firm believer in the power of storytelling. You can find her poetry on Instagram.