Ashley Berg’s January 2017 TBR: Rainbow Rowell, Markus Zusak and More

ashley berg january 2017 tbr the sun is also a star nicola moonPaperback Paris

My New Year’s resolution this year is to read more often; I have a daunting number of books in my TBR pile just waiting to be read. Some of which have been waiting there for years. So, this is the year I finally make my way through all of them (or at least some). Luckily for me, there is no school in session this January which means there’s ample time for me to dive straight into my list.

From books I’ve been waiting to start for years to star titles from 2016, here are all the books I just knew I had to get my hands on for my January 2017 TBR list:

Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

ashley berg january 2017 tbr list paperback paris
Back Bay Books/ Newsweek

Synopsis: A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America.

Set in an addicts’ halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are.

Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human—and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.

Thoughts: I’ve given myself some relatively easy reads to start with this month—the only outlier being this one. I recently watched the movie The End of the Tour, following David Foster Wallace and a Rolling Stone journalist on the last leg of his book tour for Infinite Jest. After watching the movie I knew I had to get my hands on a copy of the book. It isn’t known as the easiest read, but I’m determined to make January the month I at least crack it open.

Landline, Rainbow Rowell

ashley berg january 2017 tbr list paperback paris
St. Martin’s Press/ Speakerpedia

Synopsis: Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Thoughts: In 2016, I read three different Rainbow Rowell books. They were all amazing. She has a way of writing that is both relaxing yet exciting at the same time. All my previous experience with Rowell’s writing has been young adult fiction, so this will be the first time reading any adult fiction from her. I’m very excited to get started and also desperately hoping it will stand up to all her previous works.

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

ashley berg january 2017 tbr list paperback paris
Knopf Books for Young Readers/ Markus Zusak

Synopsis: It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Thoughts: Markus Zusak wrote one of my favorite books ever titled I Am The Messenger. It is then very surprising that I’ve never read his most famous book The Book Thief. I’ve heard many great things about this book, and it’s been in my TBR pile for ages. I’m thinking this January is the month I finally see what all the fuss is about (and from what I’ve heard, most likely cry my eyes out.)

The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton

ashley berg january 2017 tbr list paperback paris
Speak/ Speakerpedia

Synopsis: According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for “social”) has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he’s always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers–until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy’s skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.

Thoughts: This is yet another book that has been in my to be read pile for years. I’ve heard the title countless times in relation to the YA genre but never was too interested in reading it myself. Finally, after reading Rowell’s Fangirl in 2016, I decided that this is another book I should have read by now. I’m already half of the way through and, I’ve got to admit, it’s pretty great.

The Sun Is Also a Star, Nicola Yoon

ashley berg january 2017 tbr list paperback paris
Delacorte Press/ Nicola Yoon

Synopsis: Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Thoughts: I read Nicola Yoon‘s Everything, Everything last year and fell. In. love. All of a sudden, in just a matter of pages, her writing had already sucked me in; and I finished the book in one day. I have a feeling this book is going to do the same thing and I am oh so excited to start it. 

Have you read any of the books on this list?!

Tell us which books you’re most looking forward to reading in the comments below!
Be sure to keep up with the Paperback Paris Team’s monthly TBRs!

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This article was written by Paperback Paris author, Ashley Berg**
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