January 2022 has already slipped away and I haven’t accomplished anything much. There’s so much to be done this year. I want to get my book published (still working on it as I have been for the last two years. Didn’t realize it would be such an extensive process. Sometimes I need writing breaks from writing the book. I am not sure if this made sense), travel to mountains and new cities, learn new skills (I am dying to take up a sport), keep practicing the old ones, blog more often, and read as much and as widely as I can. So, this blog is basically to list down all the books that I plan to read this year, for the sake of sorting out one thing at a time.
Of all the life-changing decisions we need to make, choosing the right book is one of them. I look for books that are fun, exciting, inspiring, intelligent, funny, and refreshing. Too many adjectives? Well, books that have an innate sense of ingenuity and honesty. With a gamut of books available in every genre and with new genres being introduced every once in a while, there is no dearth of interesting stories. But the way they are told and how sincere the author has been while writing the book makes all the difference. I am sure bibliophiles would understand what I am inadequately trying to convey.
So, here’s my reading bucket list (hopefully there will be more) for 2022. BTW, all of these are highly acclaimed books with rave reviews, thanks to an hour of research that went into it. Hope you can add a couple of books to your bucket list for 2022! And I would be eternally grateful if you can give recommendations too, in the comment section.
To the Lighthouse
Author: Virginia Wolf
Genre: Classic, 20th Century Literature, Fiction
About (from Goodreads):The serene and maternal Mrs. Ramsay, the tragic yet absurd Mr. Ramsay, and their children and assorted guests are on holiday on the Isle of Skye. From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse, Woolf constructs a remarkable, moving examination of the complex tensions and allegiances of family life and the conflict between men and women.
As time winds its way through their lives, the Ramsays face, alone and simultaneously, the greatest of human challenges and its greatest triumph—the human capacity for change.
Author: Beth O’Leary
About (from Goodreads): Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.
But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…
Born a Crime
Author: Trevor Noah
About (from Goodreads): The memoir of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.
Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away.
Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.
Author: Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy, Humor
About (from Goodreads): ‘Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around again until you get it right.’
People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be skeptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?
You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.
It’s a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon now finds themselves in. They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse. And then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist…
Author: Sally Rooney
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
About (from Goodreads): At school, Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers – one they are determined to conceal.
A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.
Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.
Author: Merlin Sheldrake
Genre: Non-Fiction, Science
About (from Goodreads): There is a lifeform so strange and wondrous that it forces us to rethink how life works…
Neither plant nor animal, it is found throughout the earth, the air, and our bodies. It can be microscopic, yet also accounts for the largest organisms ever recorded, living for millennia and weighing tens of thousands of tonnes. Its ability to digest rock enabled the first life on land, it can survive unprotected in space and thrives amidst nuclear radiation.
In this captivating adventure, Merlin Sheldrake explores the spectacular and neglected world of fungi: endlessly surprising organisms that sustain nearly all living systems. They can solve problems without a brain, stretching traditional definitions of ‘intelligence’, and can manipulate animal behavior with devastating precision. In giving us bread, alcohol, and life-saving medicines, fungi have shaped human history, and their psychedelic properties, which have influenced societies since antiquity, have recently been shown to alleviate several mental illnesses. The ability of fungi to digest plastic, explosives, pesticides, and crude oil is being harnessed in breakthrough technologies, and the discovery that they connect plants in underground networks, the ‘Wood Wide Web, is transforming the way we understand ecosystems. Yet they live their lives largely out of sight, and over ninety percent of their species remain undocumented.
It Ends with Us
Author: Colleen Hoover
About (from Goodreads): Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.
Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up
— she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.
Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.
As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Author: Maya Angelou
Genre: Classics, Memoir
About (from Goodreads): Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Her life story is told in the documentary film And Still, I Rise, as seen on PBS’s American Masters.
Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.
Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.
Author: Gregory David Roberts
Genre: Fiction, India, Adventure
About (from Goodreads): “It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.”
So begins this epic, mesmerizing first novel set in the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Shantaram is narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear.
Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter Bombay’s hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere.
As a hunted man without a home, family, or identity, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city’s poorest slums, and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The search leads him to war, prison torture, murder, and a series of enigmatic and bloody betrayals. The keys to unlock the mysteries and intrigues that bind Lin are held by two people. The first is Khader Khan: mafia godfather, criminal-philosopher-saint, and mentor to Lin in the underworld of the Golden City. The second is Karla: elusive, dangerous, and beautiful, whose passions are driven by secrets that torment her and yet give her a terrible power.
Burning slums and five-star hotels, romantic love and prison agonies, criminal wars and Bollywood films, spiritual gurus and mujaheddin guerrillas—this huge novel has the world of human experience in its reach, and passionate love for India at its heart. Based on the life of the author, it is by any measure the debut of an extraordinary voice in literature.
Author: Andrew Sean Greer
Genre: LGBT, Humour
About (from Goodreads): PROBLEM: You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years now engaged to someone else. You can’t say yes–it would all be too awkward–and you can’t say no–it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of half-baked literary invitations you’ve received from around the world.
QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town?
ANSWER: You accept them all.
If you are Arthur Less.
Thus begins an around-the-world-in-eighty-days fantasia that will take Arthur Less to Mexico, Italy, Germany, Morocco, India, and Japan and put thousands of miles between him and the problems he refuses to face. What could go wrong?
Well: Arthur will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Sahara sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and arrive in Japan too late for the cherry blossoms. In between: science fiction fans, crazed academics, emergency rooms, starlets, doctors, exes, and, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to see. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. The second phase of life, as he thinks of it, falls behind him like the second phase of a rocket. There will be his first love. And there will be his last.
All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Genre: Historical Fiction
About (from Goodreads): Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them, they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Genre: Classics, Magical Realism
About (from Goodreads): The brilliant, bestselling, landmark novel that tells the story of the Buendia family, and chronicles the irreconcilable conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love—in rich, imaginative prose that has come to define an entire genre known as “magical realism.”