New Year, New Books, New Dreams

I love starting a new year. February’s the month for abandoning resolutions and/or ask why-oh-why we made them in the first place. And yet a whole month into 2015, I’m still feeling that sense of a clean start.

A blank slate.

A fresh beginning.

A brand new … READING LIST!

Alas, the truth comes out. I love books. I often wish reading was more essential to survival than eating. (To be clear, eating would still be one of my favourite pastimes in this hypothetical world even if my life didn’t depend on it.)

The first two books I finished this year are coincidentally similar.

1. Opposite of Loneliness

3. A book written by someone under 30 (January 18)

Topic-wise, they’re nothing alike. Same with their writing styles — completely different but the literary hangovers? (Made-up term. Just go with it.) Identical.

———-SIDE NOTE————

Every book comes with a different literary hangover.

For a good book, the hangover is a sigh and a smile. There’s the wish to go back in time so you can experience it all over again for the first time paired with the conflicting need to crawl into a hole and cry that it’s over.

For a bad book, the hangover is less complex. You hurl the book across the room while shouting in anguish, “I want those hours of my life back!”

Of course, these are two simplified examples. There are endless others with varying degrees of intensity, but you get the idea.


From Marina Keegan and Malala Yousafzai, the literary hangover is admiration. Well, more like admiration with that champing-at-the-bit, anything-is-possible, “Put me in, coach!” feeling, kind of like drinking four shots of espresso all at once. I do admire them for their eloquence (How can people be so articulate at 16 and 22 years old?) but mostly I admire their passion.

If one man, Fazlullah, can destory everything, why can’t one girl change it?

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

This is what I mean by passion. I love the way these two chase their dreams with one track minds, the way Marina never let jaded authors discourage her from being a writer, the way Malala never let the Taliban derail her fight for education. They both captured the beauty and power of being young.

Somewhere between growing up and being responsible, maybe we start to forget what that feels like. And I’m afraid the ugly parts of life will snatch away the memories of dreaming in full colour and feeling unstoppable. I just turned 24, the age when so many of my friends are turning into nine-to-fivers, getting engaged and watching the bottom line. I worry these are the years we start to fade, so thank God for writers like Marina and Malala who remind us of our un-jaded selves, back when we dared to dream.

[T]here’s something sad about so many of us entering a line of work in which we’re not (for the most part) producing something, or helping someone, or engaging in something that we’re explicitly passionate about. Even if it’s just for two or three years. That’s a lot of years! And these aren’t just years. This is 23 and 24 and 25 … I feel like we can do something really cool to this world. And I fear — at 23, 24, 25 — we might forget.

“Even Artichokes Have Doubts” in The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

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