Last year was the first full year that I wasn’t a student, and it was wonderful. With the crazy amounts of reading required of an English major, I barely read anything that wasn’t assigned to me during my time at college. I couldn’t wait for the day that my reading list no longer doubled as a class syllabus. Now my reading list is multiple stacks of library books that I’m afraid to put all together in one pile because it will probably be taller than me. I can’t read them fast enough.
My 2016 was full of wonderful reads. I read 64 novels. I didn’t keep track of nonfiction books, but I read a handful of those as well. And I’ve made it one of my goals for 2017 to make even more time to read as I forgot just how much I love it thanks to years of school. Here’s a list of some of my favorite books I read in 2016, as well as a list of books I’m looking forward to reading in early 2017.
In her blurb on the cover of The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork, author Stephanie Perkins claims that “This book might just save your life.” I don’t think this claim could be any more accurate.
With this story, Stork gives an honest portrayal of mental illness. The book begins when Vicky wakes up in the hospital after a suicide attempt, but it is not about why she tried to kill herself. The Memory of Light instead explores how you can go on living afterwards.
This book is unlike any other I have read that deals with the subject of mental illness. Inspired by the author’s own experience with depression, this book digs deep into Vicky’s mind and looks at how depression is a fog that clouds her thoughts. Yet despite the pain in her life, Vicky meets friends at the hospital who are going through similar things, and, with their help, Vicky finds reasons to keep on living.
Writing about depression is hard. It’s been a subject I’ve wanted to tackle for a long time, but I’ve only ever managed to write a short story about it. I really admire Stork’s raw and honest approach to such a difficult topic. I will look to this book as inspiration when I eventually tackle this subject myself in a novel. The Memory of Light is definitely a great read if you want an inside look on living with depression, and a must-read if you have had any experience with this illness.