New Year’s Resolution 2016: Keep Reading

Reading in sunlight
Categories: Personal

Despite my mediocre 2015, there was one New Year’s resolution I kept to: reading more. While other people absolutely dwarfed my meager Goodreads challenge of 25 books that I ultimately failed to achieve, I have to say I’m at least a teensy bit proud of myself for having actually read through 21. If you’re interested in what I read, feel free to browse through my 2015 year of books on Goodreads.

My favorite book of 2015 though? It had to be The Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore by Michael Dylan Foster. I love Japanese culture. My mom would condemn me during my high school years, wondering why I was so fascinated by Japan and not China— but that’s another story for another day.

Book written by Michael Dylan Foster. Illustrations by Shinonome Kijin. Published by University of California Press.
Book written by Michael Dylan Foster. Illustrations by Shinonome Kijin. Published by University of California Press.

Anyway, yokai are Japanese folkloric creatures, and they’re heavily embedded into pop culture today. So if you’re interested in the historical significance of Japanese folklore, or if you just want a better understanding of the Japanese pop culture references related to these supernatural creatures, I definitely recommend picking up The Book of Yokai. A word of warning though– it’s written a bit more on the academic side, though there are whimsical (and some downright creepy) illustrations of some of the yokai done up by the talented Shinonome Kijin.

For 2016, I want to keep up my reading habit. I want to find my next “book of yokai”, a book that I’ll spend days poring over obsessively. I’m also perfectly happy with a book that’ll challenge conventional thinking, especially those like Gladwell’s (all three of his which I resolved to read in 2015 and did!) that reframe situations and our understanding of things into different contexts.

So what’s on my current to-read list? Plenty. But I’m the type that needs a variety of reading; I can’t just stick with one genre of book and read five of them in a row. I do, however, have a few notable books that I’m determined to pick up this year:

The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Yup, this one made the list again since I never got around to it in 2015. I remember trying to read through The Hobbit during college and, well, I couldn’t for the life of me focus on Tolkien’s idiosyncratic prose. In other words, I was too sleep deprived to really appreciate his writing. I’m not quite sure why I didn’t even attempt this one last year, but I think part of my hesitation was that I couldn’t decide on which edition to read (Do I scour the internet and get an original copy of it? or do I get the HarperCollins republished edition? or do I just get the movie tie-in ones because they’re the cheapest and most abundant on Thriftbooks? or do I just suck it up and read the ebook edition I have saved on my computer somewhere?). I’ll probably end up buying a used copy off Thriftbooks since 1) it’s cheap, and 2) I hate the thought of books going to the dumpster.


The Science of Attack on Titan by Rikao Yanagita. Published by Kodansha Comics.

The Science of Attack on Titan by Rikao Yanagita

Upon first watching the anime and devouring the manga soon after, I deeply admired creator Hajime Isayama’s ability to render me absolutely hopeless and dreadful for humanity in the AoT series. So with my usual semi-obsessive nerdy self, I’m enamored by the idea that this book even attempts to explain the science of the AoT world. I’m interested to find out what topics the author (who’s apparently the head of some “Sci-Fi/Fantasy Science Research Institute“, which I can’t seem to find any information on… can anyone help?) covers. I don’t know how it’s going to read, but it’ll at least be interesting to have some of the science revealed.


Wait: The Art and Science of Delay by Frank Partnoy

I’ve had a few instances of having pulled the trigger too soon, so I was somewhat intrigued to see this book come up on my Goodreads recommendation (also, how could you scroll past the cute book cover without wanting to find out more?). This is one of those books that I hope lets me in on how people think, as well as maybe even give me some insight to help me reign back my eagerness for immediacy. The author is a law and finance guy, though, so I’m not sure what exactly will be covered in this book.


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – 9780199535569

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Yeah, I know, I’m a literary heathen for not having read this one yet. My sister loves Jane Austen and raved about her works when I was still in middle school, but I never had to read any Austen in any of my classes. At all. I think the closest Austen-esque book I was assigned to read in school was Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Yeah, so there you go. Schooling at its finest.

Honestly, I don’t even know what this book is about other than the main character going “Mr. Darrrrrcyyy” like ten times, or something like that. Yup, I’m totally a literary heathen.


So how about you guys? What are you looking forward to reading in the coming year?

Featured image by Alice Hampson from Unsplash.

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