New year’s read-olutions
The Reflector’s list of books you should read in 2013
A lot of New Year’s resolutions won’t hold up past the end of March. That isn’t necessarily pessimism, but just an honest fact. The determination with which we held our resolutions will crumble, and we will likely slip into our old habits.
So instead of dropping a whole bunch of money on a gym membership you’ll rarely use, why not buy a book instead? Exercising your mind can be just as good as exercising your body, and a book is a quick purchase that can give you hours of entertainment and no guilt (except maybe staying up too late to finish that next chapter.)
On that note, The Reflector had two of our staff writers compile a list of books to pick up in 2013.
The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
With An Unexpected Journey, the first of the three Hobbit movies finally in theatres, it is a great time to read or even reread this classic book. Of the array of books by J.R.R. Tolkien, it is the easiest and most light-hearted, particularly compared to his more heavily-descriptive books such as The Lord of The Rings trilogy. It is also a great introduction to the fantastic world of Middle Earth.
Bilbo Baggins is a perfectly respectable, quiet hobbit, trying to live a life free from pesky adventure. When the mysterious wizard Gandalf shows up at his door in the company of 13 dwarves, Bilbo has no idea what he may be getting into. Joining the dwarves on a quest to reclaim their home and lost gold from a dragon, Bilbo journeys through forests and mountains, fights goblins and giant spiders and proves to everyone the power of the smallest and most unassuming person.
For its all fantastical trappings, essentially The Hobbit is a story about leaving the comfort and safety of home to challenge yourself and discover who you really are.
Unspoken – Sarah Rees Brennan
Sarah Rees Brennan loves creating unique characters, twisting plots and distinctive worlds. In Unspoken, Sorry-In-The-Vale seems like a normal town and Kami seems like a normal girl who won’t be able to find any scandalous stories for the school paper.
But there has always been a boy in Kami’s mind. Someone she could talk to, and who everyone else thought was imaginary. When the old mansion on top of the hill is once again inhabited by the secretive family that once ruled the town, and the boy from Kami’s mind appears before her in the flesh, it begins a chain of events that make her realize that nothing in her town is as she thought it was.
A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness
A Monster Calls is not a difficult read, and won’t take you a very long time to get through. What it will do is draw you in, captivate you and pull at your heart.
Conner has been struggling against a nightmare that has loomed over him since his mother started cancer treatments. But one night, a monster calls. Not the monster of his nightmare, but a wild and ancient monster who tells him stories, challenges his perception of what is right and forces him to confront the scariest thing of all: the truth.
How do you know what monsters are real or imagined, and what happens when you try to speak to them?
The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
Green’s fourth solo novel is narrated by Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16-year-old lung cancer patient. After being pulled out of school at 13, and forced by her parents to attend a support group for cancer-afflicted teens, she meets Augustus Waters, a 17-year-old amputee in remission from osteosarcoma. After introducing Augustus to her favourite novel, An Imperial Affliction, a book about a girl with cancer who ultimately still had a good life, the two travel to Amsterdam in pursuit of its author, Peter Van Houten.
But this is not a typical story about a girl with cancer, because as Hazel remarks early in the fourth chapter, “cancer books suck.” And this book definitely does not suck.
The Fault in Our Stars is arguably Green’s best novel yet, and is full of as much humor and wit as it is heartache. It debuted on the New York Times Best Seller list for Children’s Chapter Books at No. 1, and held that position for seven consecutive weeks.
Bow Grip – Ivan E. Coyote
Coyote’s first novel, Bow Grip, follows the story of Joey Cooper, a forty-something auto-mechanic from small-town Alberta, who is coping with his wife leaving him for another woman. After trading an old, beat-up car for a handcrafted cello, Joey travels to Calgary in pursuit of a cello instructor. He ends up staying in a rundown motel, where he befriends two of its residents, a young single mother and an older gay man.
Told with a strong sense of intimacy and honesty, Bow Grip remains captivating and emotional throughout the story as Joey tries to “keep the ghosts of personal history at bay with a heart that’s as big as the endless prairie sky.”
This novel was the winner of the 2007 ReLit award, and short-listed for the 2006 Ferro-Grumley Award for Women’s Fiction. Coyote was also the Writer-in-Residence for Mount Royal during the Winter 2012 semester.