SELECTED HIGHLIGHT OF 2021
Catch-22 is absurd, ridiculous, random, and blunt—just like the war it satires. Joseph Heller left me both disturbed and amused in his fully American novel about hypocrisy, mortality, and the desperation of man.
Want to know where the colloquial use of "Catch-22" comes from? Here's the first original reference to the idea in the book:
"There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane, he had to fly them. If he flew them, he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to, he was sane and had to."
Read my review on Goodreads here.
GREAT READS OF 2021
People often ask me for book recommendations, so below I have shared a few of my favorite reads from this year.Longstanding favorites are listed on the main page.
Min Jin Lee
There is no one who summarized Pachinko as beautifully and tragically as Christine An:
"Pachinko is the kind of book that can open your eyes and fill them with tears at the same time."
EDUCATED: A MEMOIR
This one made me think a lot about my relationship with my own parents. How my education thanks to them—and in spite of them, is a form of: "Transformation. Metamorphosis. Falsity. Betrayal." And ultimately, love, even if I know they may never understand some of the decisions I have made for myself as I find my own voice.
A SUPPOSEDLY FUN THING I'LL NEVER DO AGAIN: ESSAYS AND ARGUMENTS
David Foster Wallace
The essay on a young boy's fear of diving in this collection was brilliant. DFW was a literary genius—a mad and anxious and relatable one whose emotional quotient shatters whatever scale for emotion exists.
THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK
Manson teaches us that happiness requires struggle. It is the active and conscious effort we make towards some goal that gives us a feeling of satisfaction, accomplishment, and joy, not the achievement of said goal.
“A more interesting question, a question that most people never consider, is, “What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?”"
SIRENS OF TITAN
Every book of Vonnegut's confounds and exceeds my expectations. His confidence in writing about the absolutely absurd (space, time travel, and the chrono-synclastic infundibulum) is hilarious, refreshing, and enlightening.
FULL READING LIST OF 2021
A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace
Pachinko, Min Jin Lee
Born a Crime, Trevor Noah
Educated, Tara Westover
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson
The Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut
Catch-22, Joseph Heller
Seed Money, Carole Sprunk
Step on the Cracks, Brandon Posivak
Every Step Is A Gift, Josh Lasky
Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro
The We and The They, Kyra Ann Dawkins
Return To Pō, Jon-Erik Jardine
Beyond the Halls, Mackenzie Finklea
Beyond the Diploma, Ashane Govind
Insomnia, Lauren Bartleson
Drown, Junot Díaz
Soundstorm, Saransh Desai-Chowdhry
What Never Leaves, Daniel Tam-Claiborne
The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel van der Kolk
Let Me Tell You What I Mean, Joan Didion
Stop Overthinking, Nick Trenton
Dare to Lead, Brené Brown
You Are Where You Go, Caitlyn Lubas