We all have them and we all feel guilty about them sometimes: Books that gather dust on our TBR pile or that we’ve had saved on our Amazon or Goodreads wish-list for months and sometimes years. 2018 is the year to (finally) tackle some of those tomes and perhaps find the new favorite you’ve been looking for. My personal list includes 10 books that I absolutely need to get to this year (no pressure!):
1. LES MISÉRABLES – Victor Hugo – (1862)
After reading (and loving) THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA by Gaston Leroux, I wanted to get into more French classics. I’m currently reading THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME but my ultimate end-goal is definitely LES MISÉRABLES (both by Victor Hugo). Most will know this story as the inspiration for the world-renowned musical of the same name. There are also multiple movie versions, including the 2012 film starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway. The story starts of in the year 1815 in Paris, leading up to the bloody June Rebellion in 1832. It follows several characters, particularly the struggles of the ex-convict Jean Valjean. Why I haven’t picked it up? Have you seen this book?! It’s huge! (1,400 pages)
2. THE GOLDFINCH – Donna Tartt – (2013)
This book has been on my TBR since it was published in 2013. To be honest, I don’t know a lot about the story and want to go in relatively blind. I know that Donna Tartt was awarded the Pulitzer Price in 2014 for this novel and that it features a painting named The Goldfinch. Why I haven’t picked it up? First of all, it’s over 800 pages. Secondly, the so-called Bildungsroman or Coming-of-Age-Story can be a bit daunting as the pacing is usually a bit slower and the main character has to deal with quite a bit of emotional baggage. (Who doesn’t?) And someties, I’m not in the mood for more emotional baggage than my own.
3. THE NAME OF THE WIND – Patrick Rothfuss – (2007)
Am I the only one who hasn’t read this book? This is probably one of the most beloved fantasy novels of the last 20 years, I’d say. I don’t read a lot of fantasy but this story just immediately caught my attention: The “Kingkiller” who tells us his own side of the story of when he did the king-killing. Why I haven’t picked it up? I haven’t heard a single bad review – not for THE NAME OF THE WIND or the sequel. But we don’t know when the next book in the series will be published…that drives me a little crazy. Nevertheless I just have to know what all the fuss is about. Aaaaand again, it’s huge!
4. THE LADY OF THE RIVERS – Philippa Gregory – (2011)
This is only the first book on my list of books by Philippa Gregory that I want to pick up. THE LADY OF THE RIVERS is (chronologically) the first in her series about the Plantagenet and Tudor families. Now, I love historical fiction and this one follows the life of Jacquetta of Luxembourg, who lived from 1415 – 1472. I am really looking foward to seeing how this story (and its sequels) explore the time of British monarchy before, during and after Tudor reign. I also enjoy reading about women who lived (and shaped history) during this time. Why I haven’t picked it up? Seriously, I have no idea! It’s just one of those books that I know I’ll love once I start reading, so I just have to get it together and pick it up!
5. THE SCOTTISH PRISONER – Diana Gabaldon – (2012)
Speaking about Historical Fiction: Diana Gabaldon has to be one of my favorite writers to date! I love her Outlander series and I have also been enjoying the Lord John novels – a spin-off series to Outlander featuring one of THE best-written fictional characters of all time: Lord John Grey! I’ve read the first two books in this series and it is about time to get to the third. Why I haven’t picked it up? It’s one of those moments where you question if you’re really in it for the stories, or only the appearance of your bookshelf, because the third book does not match the first two! (Don’t you hate it when that happens?) But as soon as I find a matching edition – this has to happen!
6. HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD – John Tiffany – (2016)
Everytime I see this book somewhere I just sigh internally. I think we can all agree how exciting it was when we heard that Harry Potter was going to get a sequel – and in the form of a play nontheless that follows Harry’s children during their time at Hogwarts! How unique! Not going to lie, I was ready to pick this up the SECOND it hit the shelfs. Why I haven’t picked it up? Because what followed soon after the release were some of the worst reviews I’ve aver heard…I do not have very high hopes for this (not anymore) and I don’t want to read books that I know I won’t enjoy…but I just have to know, you know?
7. DEAD MAN’S FOLLY – Agatha Christie – (1956)
I have read about 35 Agatha Christie novels to date, most of them featuring my favorite Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. DEAD MAN’S FOLLY is the last one I haven’t picked up!! Why I haven’t? Because I wasn’t really in the mood to use “the little gray cells” perhaps…or because I’m not ready to say goodbye to Poirot yet. But when mystery writer Ariadne Oliver invites Detective Hercule Poirot to a staged Murder Hunt that proves to be more realistic than expected when one of the guests ends up dead in the boathouse and another disapeares without a trace, I knew I couldn’t hold off on this novel forever.
8. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD – Harper Lee – (1960)
Another one of those modern-day Classics and Pulitzer Price winners that I feel everyone but me has already read. Words used to describe what this book is about are often “Racial Injustice and Inequality”, but also the “destruction of innocence”. Actually, author John Green made a pretty amazing video about this novel on Crash Course Literature back in 2014. Why I haven’t picked it up? I just haven’t been in the mood for a Classic lately – but I just know that this will be the year for reading TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.
9. THE NIGHTINGALE – Kristin Hannah – (2015)
Yeiii, more Historical Fiction to read this year! THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah follows two sisters in German-occupied France during World War II where they are basically just trying to survive. I’ve recently read THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak which is set during the same time in a small town close to Munich, so I’ve definitely been in the mood for books that make me cry and just rip my heart out one word at a time. And from what I’ve heard about THE NIGHTINGALE – this novel will do exactly that. That’s also why I haven’t picked it up until now…I just needed something light after THE BOOK THIEF.
10. RED RISING – Pierce Brown – (2014)
My 2018 is going to be all about Historical Fiction and Sci-Fi with RED RISING by Pierce Brown completing the list. This story is set in a dystopian future where people are divided into castes, which are color-coded. The main character, Darrow, is a Red, one of the members of the lowest caste. One day, he finds out that the Reds have been lied to their whole lives and the story goes on from there. As always, I find it best to go into Sci-Fi novels blind, but I can tell you why I haven’t picked it up before: RED RISING has been described to me as “Hunger Games”-like on multiple occasions and I just hope that these people were exaggerating, because the premise actually sounds amazing! (And I’ve already bought it so now I have to read it, right? 😉 )
Hopefully, by the end of this year I’ll have book reviews up for all of the novels mentioned above. Which books are on your list this year that you’re hoping to get to?