I really slacked on reading in the last year. I’ve been a bookworm all my life, but that quality disappeared a bit in 2014. I still read constantly and probably more than your average person, but I can’t remember the last time I read an actual novel from start to finish. Oops. In 2015 I want to change that. I’m having you guys hold me accountable by publicly putting my 2015 Reading List out there in the blogosphere. Look at me with that incentive. I made my 2015 reading list only ten books long at the current moment because I know myself too well and realize I’m not going to stop reading an abundance of articles and short stories anytime soon.
My favorite type of books are often the more real and gritty stories. The ones with subject matters about mental illness, addiction, abuse, etc. For some reason (probably part of why one of my majors was psychology) I’m drawn towards book after book with those story lines. They’re just fascinating. I’ve always been that way as my favorite book during my teenage years was Go Ask Alice. I think the human spirit and mind, especially in times of darkness and struggle are captivating. That being said I do occasionally need non-downer books. I still have a penchant for lingering in certain types that usually revolve around my passions. I’m not afraid of picking up some good natured cheesy romance stories now and again though either.
When I was writing this list I didn’t realize how morbid it was until I went back through and saw the majority of my choices are of a somber fare. It’s amusing to me because overall I’m a very positive and bright person, but man do I like to read some dark and depressing shit.
Kati Rose’s 2015 Reading List
1. #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso – A look back on Amuruso’s journey to creating the super popular online retailer NastyGal (which I LOVE) and her advice for others. It’s part inspirational, part memoir. An examination of the odd path to success, following your heart, and getting things done – all in a no bullshit style of writing. In Amoruso’s own words at the opening of the book, “I have three pieces of advice I want you to remember: Don’t ever grow up. Don’t become a bore. Don’t let The Man get to you. OK? Cool. Then let’s do this.”
2. Schizo by Nic Sheff – Sheff is one of my favorite authors and I have devoured his books in the past. Formerly he wrote a two-part memoir about his drug addiction that paired with his father’s book about witnessing his son’s addiction for a collection of books on the same subject matter from different POVs. In “Schizo” Sheff makes the jump to the fiction world. An insightful and gritty look at a teen going through his first onset period of schizophrenia that also correlates to the disappearance/probable drowning of his younger brother. The book is written through Mile’s eyes, giving a first-hand look into the chaotic and disjointed reality of someone dealing with a mental illness as they come to terms with everything.
3. Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller – During the 1960s, music was still a mainly boys only playground. Until three groundbreaking women decided to stomp on cultural barriers and become music legends. Featuring the stories of Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon as they achieved success by breaking all the rules. A must for music lovers, especially of that time period. Supposedly in the works to be turned into a film, as long as Taylor Swift does NOT portray Joni Mitchell – her words, not mine.
4. It by Alexa Chung – Long-time readers of my blog know Alexa Chung is gem in my eyes. Everything from her personality to her style, I’m a huge fan. These reasons led to Chung being named my first fashion icon in the series HERE. Chung’s memoir has been on my list since it was first announced. I know there’s been mixed reviews, but I need to check it out myself. A diary-like look at her life, thoughts, and journey I know if anything once I read it I can use it as an inspiration of sorts.
5. I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imaginary) by Chuck Klosterman – Here is another one of my favorite authors with a new book. Klosterman I have loved since I was a child and he was a music columnist for SPIN. Known for his wit and sarcasm as he takes on popular culture, I’m curious to find out what his thoughts are on society’s love of the anti-hero. Klosterman discusses how we break down the lines of who’s really bad, but still fascinating, and who’s just a bad ass. It’s definitely a book and perspective that will make you walk away going hmm as he looks back at history and our most infamous villains.
6. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – There is a certain romanticism to the “Lost Generation” of writers that lived in Paris during the golden jazz years. Two members of that elusive group were Hadley Richardson and her husband, writer Ernest Hemingway. Other notable members that make appearances include F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, and Gertrude Stein to name a few. Focusing on the Hemingways volatile and emotional marriage that was full of challenges at every step, at it’s heart it’s a look at two very flawed people that love brought together, but ultimately fell apart. Hemingway once wrote, “I wish I had died before I loved anyone but her.”
7. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – I’ve picked this novel up a handful of times, only to get distracted for one reason or another and abandon it to never finish. A truly haunting book about the breakdown of perfectionist Esther until she descends into complete madness. It was largely autobiographical on Plath’s own fall into mental illness. A raw and harrowing look at emotional trauma, there’s a reason why this book is considered amongst the classics.
8. The Last Days of California by Mary Miller – Based off Jess’ father’s ideas that the rapture is about to occur, the family embarks on a road trip to California so they can be amongst the saved. On the way Jess documents their journey of attempting to save more damned souls while inwardly dealing with the broad nature of family dynamics and that maybe the taught beliefs of an oncoming rapture are wrong. The family is a complex group, from a father with a disappointing life he hopes will be redeemed, a mother full of dysfunction, and a rebellious sister who thinks the whole family is going nutty. It’s a coming of age story about the desire to escape and belong all at once.
9. I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb – This mammoth 900+ page story is one of Oprah’s favorite reads. Chronicling the life of twins, it deals in the heavy nature of one family’s dark secrets. The narrative comes from the “normal” twin Dominick as he struggles with mixed feelings towards his twin brother Thomas who suffers from a series of mental illnesses. Through a collection of flashbacks and current events, the story weaves together a journey of one man’s suffering and redemption.
10. Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff – When Sam’s best friend commits suicide suddenly he is left behind with only a playlist of songs to find explanation. A look at loss, growth, learning who you are, and the ever potent question to answer why? As a person who connects music to practically every situation and memory I think this is a really interesting concept in literature to tackle.
Which now brings me to the first ever giveaway on Kati Rose Constantly Seeking Wonder! Whoo hoo!
My favorite way to read now is on my e-reader. Man, is that thing a life saver with it’s convenience factor! On the way to work, on the plane, when I’m sitting and waiting for a meeting – I can whip it out and do a wide range of things. I most often find myself reading with it. That’s why to succeed on my 2015 reading list, I’ve already downloaded a few of the above listed books to get started! I want to help you succeed in your reading goals as well! I’m co-hosting to giveaway a Kindle Fire HD 7 and a $50 dollar Amazon giftcard for you to read (and play and write and all the other neat things e-readers allow you to do) for yourself! Just follow the directions below! The giveaway ends 12am EST Monday January 20th.
We’re giving away a Kindle Fire HD 7 along with a $50 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!
What books are on your 2015 reading list?
P.S. – I’m a fan of lists, check of the six songs of 2014 I hope to never hear again.
Until next time,