What are your new year’s resolutions for 2022? Are you still eating healthier, or have you exchanged your running shoes for a warm blanket and your couch yet? For those of you who loathe sore muscles and running through The Hague’s rainy weather, we have good news: The new year’s resolution we propose involves no sweating or getting up early. In fact, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your bed to (re)discover your passion for reading this year. To do so, we, the CIROS board of 2021/22, have compiled a list of our favourite book recommendations for you.
Sophia’s recommendations: Hand-picked favorites from a true book lover
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: One of those books where you get completely absorbed by it without realizing it. Adichie makes you feel the emotions of the characters without telling them to you. A deeply moving story about a young girl discovering freedom in the shadows of family turmoil and political upheaval in Nigeria. – Sophia
Trigger warning: domestic abuse, mentions of torture.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi: A graphic novel about the coming of age of a young girl trying to establish her identity in the context of the Iranian Islamic revolution, and later during her education in Vienna. Graphic novels are a great place to start if you’re just trying to get into reading again, and this one is full of personal emotion in the context of political upheaval. – Sophia
Trigger warning: torture, attempted suicide
Ben’s all-time favorite: A poetic account from the “life on the road”
On the road by Jack Keouac: Apart from being one of my absolute favourite books ever, this account of Kerouacs travels not only takes you across the American Continent, but also back across time. Perfect to escape to a different time and incredible places, this book tells the story of Sal Paradise and his crazy life moving across America in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Based on Jack Kerouacs personal experiences, this book is a beautiful and poetic account of life “on the road” with all its ups and downs. – Ben
Niamh loves strong female leads
Girl, woman, other by Bernardine Evaristo: This book follows twelve characters on their journey through the past century of Britain’s history. This book is so good, that even I enjoyed it – and I really don’t like reading. – Niamh
Kira loves science fiction and enemies to lovers tropes
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini: This book centers around Kira Navárez dreamed of life in new worlds. Now she’s awakened a nightmare. During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first, she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move (synopsis).
The book includes amazingly detailed worldbuilding and the topics can be applied to our society just as much as possible future issues. Issues around global governance, communication are just as much included as personal struggles and coming to terms with things that cannot be changed. It’s around 800 pages, quite a read, but very worth it. – Kira
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong: A story set in Shanghai of the 1920s about two gang heirs whose families have had a blood feud for as long as they are alive. Juliette and Roma have history, that cannot be erased. They have to work together to help save their city from a bigger threat. Expect lots of mutual pining, drama, and some great plot twists.
The overall message I took away from it is that sometimes it is okay to choose yourself and your feelings over others. Overcoming prejudice and differences to work together for the greater good of everyone. However, you can also just read it as a Romeo and Juliet inspired YA book that is inclusive and has just the right amount of romance 😉
Emma’s recommendations: From murder mystery to international relations books
The power of geography by Tim Marshall: Is this the year where you want to become the best IRO student you can be? Then you should definitely read this book to explore maps from a different angle. Marshall explores different regions around the world and explains how their geography affect the decisions of political leaders. Super interesting! – Emma
The secret life of writers by Guillaume Musso: When a Swiss journalist tries to discover the secrets of the mysterious author, Nathan Fawles, who withdrew to a small Mediterranean island, a woman’s body is discovered on the beach. This book is a great murder mystery in an idyllic setting. Perfect for when you want to relax, but at the same time it keeps you on your toes with amazing plot twists. – Emma
Marta’s tip for animal lovers
The Ten Trusts by Jane Goodall and Marc Bekoff: Even though reading is not one of my favourite hobbies I cannot stop recommending this book and I wish everyone read it. Is a revealing book in which Jane and Marc, two scientists, tell the life of animals through their point of view. I recommend this book because I believe that there is still a great disconnection between humans and the environment. With this book, I have learned the truth of many things and it will make you question the ‘why’ of things and it will help you grow the awareness of animals’ lives. – Marta
Lara’s favourite’s: Exploring historical events from a different angle
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi: It all begins with two sisters: One is sold into slavery, the other becomes a slave trader’s wife. The story follows the family tree of Effia and Esi and spans from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton plantations of Mississippi. What fascinates me about this book is how it retells the tragic history of slavery and its long-term effects through the fate of one family. In every chapter you meet a new character from the next generation. In every chapter you fall in love anew. Definitely one of the best books I read recently!
The firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley: Even though this is not exactly a new book, it is one of my all-time favourites. After I discovered it on my mom’s dusty bookshelf when I was 13, I have consumed it multiple times. By now the pages are falling out from my edition but I will definitely read it again in 2022. This book retells the Trojan war from the perspective of Kassandra – priestess, princess, and a passionate woman with the spirit of a warrior. In this version, the legendary heroes are just men, the war becomes a power struggle between the ancient great goddess and the Greek gods, and the true costs of war are depicted. – Lara
Have we gotten excited to start reading yet? What are you waiting for? Go to your favourite bookstore or the Instagram page of @Readcycle (our latest CIROS club) and follow through with those new year’s resolutions. We are curious to hear whether you liked the books we recommended, so send us a message on Instagram or tag us in your story and let us know if you liked it!