One of my goals for this year is to read 2 books a month, probably one fiction and one non-fiction. This post will help me keep track of all the books I’d like to read as well as some quick thoughts on novels as I finish them. Hopefully you’ll find some ideas/inspiration on titles to add to your own reading list.
How We Can Save the Planet by Mayer Hillman
I bought this book for 50c at a second hand shop and immediately loved the feel of the recycled paper cover and pages and the fact that nearly every inch of it had printed text- nothing wasted! Although it was quite outdated (written nearly 15 yrs ago) and focused on the UK, I still found it very informative and inspiring. The part that had the biggest impact on me was the discussion of personal carbon emissions- how to calculate your annual emissions and ways to cut these down. An online calculator can be found here carbonfootprint.com.
When reading this book (ironically on the plane home from Australia) it really struck me
as to just how bad long distance air travel is for climate change. I flew from Hobart to Helsinki 3 times in the last year, equating to 13 ton of CO2 – more than half the Australian average per year and more than 3x the world-wide annual average (4 ton). Wow. So one thing I’ve decided as a result of this book, is to dramatically cut down on long distance air travel and spend more time exploring Finland and Europe!
Helsinki: People Make the City by Laura Iisale & Melanie Dower
This book was amazing for giving me an insight into how local people view the city and life in Finland’s capital, as well as providing me with plenty of hidden gems to explore on my newly found enthusiasm for local travel (see above). I particularly loved seeing into the classy, minimalist yet cosy homes of native Finns.
North: How to Live Scandinavian by Bronte Aurell
My mum gave me this book for Christmas and while Finland is not actually part of Scandinavia (it’s a Nordic country), I found it to be a fascinating insight into some of my new neighboring countries- Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Detailing traditional food, culture, landscape and outlook on life, this book has opened my mind to different philosophies and ways of life and given me a greater understanding of the people and part of the world in which I now live.
London Snow by Paul Theroux
I found this book in the free section of a local recycle center and was drawn in by the beautiful etchings throughout and by the snowy Christmas theme. While it’s more of a kids book, it particularly resonated with me as I read it during my first winter in Finland when Helsinki was experiencing an abnormally cold winter (so they tell me), with more than the usual amount of snow, ice and blizzards. I also loved the old English feel about it and will definitely re-read it at Christmas time!
Silas Marner by George Elliot
I’ve been meaning to read this for a long time, over a decade probably, and now finally got around to it. I was immediately drawn to the rich romantic language of this 19th century novel, yet there were definitely slow moving parts of the book that I became frustrated with and skim read. At times heart wrenching but more often heartwarming, the novel is famously moralistic on the surface but also has an engaging subtler dialogue on religion, agnosticism, solitude and community. Overall, I loved it and think it’s definitely worth persevering through the slower pages.
The Night Watch by Patrick Modiano
This started out in quite a confusing fashion with reams of names, places and snippets of foreign languages filling the pages in a stream of consciousness type of style. This was of course deliberate, nonetheless I didn’t like it. While it did improve, and definitely posed some interesting questions about morality, human nature and betrayal, I was tempted several times to give up on it. But if you can fight through the confusion and go back to re-read parts then it’s worth the effort.
Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho
The Left hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Mountain Shadow – Gregory David Roberts
Tender Is the Night – Scott Fitzgerald
A Clockwork Orange -Anthony Burgess
Cazaly The Legend – Robert Allen
Walden – Henry David Thoreau
Woman in the Wilderness – Miriam Lancewood
The Daily Stoic – Ryan Holiday
When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
Where Good Ideas Come From – Steven Johnson
Consolations of the Forest – Sylvain Tesson
The Year of Less – Cait Flanders