By: Sydney Spangler
Hi there, Coastal Bend book lovers! As a lifelong reader and book collector, I'm always amassing new pieces to read but I don't always immediately read them. I find one of the greatest things about buying books is that you're curating a collection of stories that are unique to your taste and while you may not get to reading a brand new book immediately, having it on your shelf allows you the freedom to mosey through those tales at your whim.
I am a shameless maximalist, an eccentric hermit, and someone who finds deep pleasure in holding a physical copy of a book. My TBR list is endless and my number of books continues to pile into towers. This year, I plan on tackling some of those towers and upping my regular reading. But wait -- it's already May? We're five months into 2022?!? The time for making new year's resolutions is over? Well, let me tell you -- it is never too late to set new goals for yourself. And right now, at this very moment -- I am swearing to all higher powers that I will read the following books this year. It may not be today. It may not be next week. But before the year end, these are the seven books I want to finish.
First on that list is "Klara and the Sun" by Kazuo Ishiguro. I picked up this book because I loved Ishiguro's novel "Remains of the Day" and heard really good things about this story. I'm terrible at reading synopses but from what I've heard, the main character is a robot - some kind of artificial intelligence- who learns about what it means to love by watching the world around her. I'm hoping this book has great commentary on interpersonal relationships and how we connect person-to-person.
Second on the list is "Howl's Moving Castle" by Diana Wynne Jones. I've watched the Ghibli movie and absolutely loved it. I've heard that the movie portrays one of the main characters, a wizard named Howl, as a suave lady-killer, but the book portrays him as more of a dramatic, whiny baby. Some fans have said that the movie version is more like how Howl see's himself and the book version is how Sophie, the real protagonist, views him. I'm excited to see where the differences lie, typically I prefer to watch the movie first and then read the book because often, I find reading the book as a way to gain even more content about the story I enjoyed.
"Crying in H Mart" by Michelle Zauner is next on the list. This is a memoir that I think will be a tearjerker. The premise follows Zauner's journey as she grows apart from her Korean identity and later learns a new appreciation for it. A lot of Zauner's journey takes place through food and her trips to the Asian grocery store H Mart. I think this book will hold a special place in my heart just because I can relate to what I've read so far about the story. I didn't really feel a strong connection to my Filipino identity until I moved away from my mom and started learning how to cook Filipino dishes myself. I'm really looking forward to reading this one!
Then, there's "Upstream" by Mary Oliver, which is a collection of selected essays. I absolutely adore Mary Oliver's poetry. She's an American poet whose work often focuses on the quiet occurrences of nature. Her work gives off a sort of calm, pleasant vibe -- an appreciation of the world we live in. It can also be quite introspective and makes me feel alive. One of her most famous poems, "Wild Geese," reminds me that it's okay to just be -- it's okay to give yourself permission to live. I'm excited to read her essays and what depths of knowledge I can glean from her brilliant words.
The fifth book on my list is "Kaiyeki: A Novel" by Vaishnavi Patel. I'm a little intimidated to read this because it is the thickest book in this group. However, I can't help but be drawn to a story of a woman forging her own path. Basically, the main character Kaiyeki yearns for independence and discovers a magic that will help her transform from an overlooked princess into a warrior, diplomat, and queen. There's strong girl-power vibes going on and I am here for it.
Moving away from warrior-women, next on the list is "The House in the Cerulean Sea" by TJ Klune. This has been on my reading list for years but I've never actually gotten around to turning the pages. It's queer. It has found-family. There's magic. Everything about it sounds great. I've even heard that it's extremely wholesome and just full of good vibes.
And last but not least is "The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo," by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I first came across this book on BookTube. It was highly rated by various bookish YouTubers, but what really sold it for me is the sapphic twist! I also love drama and heard there was plenty of tea to be spilled in this story. I don't know much about the plot but I am looking forward to finding out what all the buzz is about.
So that's it, those are seven books I definitely want to read this year. My ultimate goal is to read 25 books and I've already completed 15. What are some books on your TBR? Is there anything you're particularly looking forward to reading this year?