Humans of LitSoc: New Bookworms '22

Katie Hopkins
March 28, 2022
Photo of Tiana.


What was your favourite holiday read?

Tiny Pretty Things by Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra. It's a really engaging drama and thriller novel from the perspectives of three girls who go to a pretigious American ballet school. I thought the twists were really great and unexpected. In general, I love reading about petty dramas that develop into crazy, psychological and violent warfare, and to see this scenario unfold in such a proper and 'formal' environment was really interesting. It has some flaws, but overall I thought it was still very enjoyable to read.

What's your most anticipated movie adaptation?

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens!

What’s a hidden gem (a book you love but haven’t heard many people talk about) you want to share with LitSoc?

Naoki Higashida's biography, The Reason I Jump. Higashida was 13 years old at the time of writing, and it details his experiences and perspective on life as a non-verbal boy with autism. As an autistic person myself, I cannot recommend this book enough, as it really delves into the nuances of the condition and how it affects us. It's not the most 'traditional' biography out there, but I think this works for it and makes it really unique. David Mitchell also has a beautiful introduction at the start that was really touching to read and also establishes the purpose of the book, which is not to just be a reflection for autistic people on their conditions but also a source of understanding for people who are curious about the condition or don't fully 'get it'.

Photo of Cara.

Cara Manasan

What's your favourite genre and why?

When I read, I choose a book like I would a song from a selection of music. I have no favourite genre, but I do know that I love fiction. I would a choose a song that would make me happy or gut-wrenching sad. It could be a song that calms me down and helps me relax. If I wanted to wind down and help my mind focus, I would turn to the classics, such as Jane Austen. I can always count on her to make her heroines play the gentlemen into speechlessness or make my heart swell with the small romantic gestures. If I felt like staying up past 2am with my butt aching on my bed, I would open a series such as the A Court of Thorns Series or the Six of Crows Duology, no matter how much they might make me cry. If I was feeling nostalgic, I would probably pick up Carrie Pilby or A Beautiful Mess. I guess the only exception from reading fiction would be biographies – the most interesting one I have read is about Coco Chanel, who brought in the sensational black dress and exotic perfume Chanel No.5.

What was your favourite holiday read?

My favourite holiday read would have to be the Dirty Air Series by Lauren Asher. I certainly don’t enjoy sports, but she introduced me to Formula 1 Race Driving and I am in love! It was the perfect combination of four different perspectives that are interconnected, each filled with heartbreaking plots and redemption arcs as well as some steamy affairs ;). Though I may have read it in a short span of time, I spent the rest of the holidays thinking about it and remembering certain scenes that made me scream in happiness or surprise or just want to close the book and cry a little.

If you could live in any book, which one would it be?

There are so many books I would instantly jump to live in. But if I was given the chance, I would choose to live in Ketterdam, the notorious city of criminals from the Six of Crows Duology. Aside from the countless dangerous missions, I think I would rock the outfits each of the characters are described to be wearing. And all the weapons, especially Inej’s knives, is another pro for me. The Six of Crows are an awesome group – a chosen family – I would love to live with.


What's on your TBR right now, and what are you looking forward to about it?

At the moment at the top of my To Be Read list is Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline. I guess I'm just looking forward to delving into one of Céline's best books. I've heard a lot of great things about him as an author.

What's your favourite genre and why?

I'd say my favourite genre is probably realism – I'm a massive fan of Dostoevsky. I think it appeals to me as a genre because books within it explore and provide insight into life and reality in a way few others can.

If you could live in any book, which one would it be?

Probably the Tolkien universe or maybe The Book of the New Sun universe.

Photo of Mia.

Mia Rankin

What's your favourite character and why?

My favourite character would have to be Samuel Vimes, the protagonist of Terry Pratchett’s City Watch series, which is like a fantasy detective procedural. His redemption arc is absolutely brilliant and heartwarming to read as we initially follow him dealing with depression and addiction, yet over the course of the series Vimes begins to learn that he has self worth and that he is capable of being loved. He’s incredibly flawed, but he’s doing his best, and time and time again we see him trying very hard to unlearn his internalised prejudices. Vimes is also wonderfully sarcastic, is very much in love with his wife, and while he’s very cynical at times, deep down he holds a very strong desire to see true justice done and to provide a voice to those who may not be able to speak up for themselves.

What’s a hidden gem you want to share with LitSoc? (A book you love but haven’t heard many people talk about)

I’ve yet to meet anybody to truly gush about The Diviners by Libba Bray with. It isn't the first book in a young adult series set in 1920s New York, but Bray’s unflinching discussion of some of the historical atrocities of that time make the series feel far more mature. The Diviners is a paranormal murder mystery of sorts with ghosts involved, yet it’s a wonderful found family story with representation across all fronts – race, sexuality, religion, disability. These characters are so utterly loveable and real and and the setting is deliciously eerie. Every time I reread it I can’t put it down.

What's your most anticipated 2022 read?

It would have to be Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng. I have been waiting for a new Celeste Ng book for so, so long, and she is finally releasing something in October this year! I don’t know much about the book yet, but from what I can tell it seems to be a bit of a departure in style from her other books. Either way, I know it’ll devastate me just as much as Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere did. She just has a way of articulating very specific emotions and memories that you didn’t realise you had, and reading her writing always makes me feel truly seen.


What was your favourite holiday read?

The Hobbit.

What's your most anticipated movie adaptation and why?

I'm not sure, I don't keep up.

If you could live in any book, which one would it be?

I think living in Middle-earth would be neat as long as I'm not going to be fighting any orcs.

Photo of Imogen.


What's your favourite bookstore and why?

My favourite bookstore is definitely Gertrude and Alice in Bondi. Not only do they have a massive range for such a small space, but the staff go above and beyond to help you find something. Plus there’s a cafe, and you can sit amongst the books to drink or eat! Definitely recommend.

What's a hidden gem (a book you love but don't think gets enough attention) you want to share with LitSoc?

My favourite hidden gem book would be Seven Days in June by Tia Williams. It was selected as a Reese’s bookclub pick last year, but I hardly ever see people talking about it! It’s a beautiful exploration of black joy, it’s sexy and smart and a super accessible literary fiction.

What are some of your favourite tropes?

Omg my favourite trope in the whole world is Fake Dating. Theres nothing I love more than the set up of two people (sometimes enemies, sometimes coworkers) PRETENDING to date, and then along the way discovering all the small things about each other and falling in love. I also love and adore the Chosen One trope in fantasy, but I do admit that sometimes it isn’t done super well. And who doesn’t love a good enemies to lovers?!!!

Angelo Mariano

What's on your TBR right now and why are you looking forward to it?

I’d say Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney as I really enjoyed reading Normal People, and I’m currently reading her other book Beautiful World, Where Are You.

What's your favourite bookstore and why?

Definitely Better Read than Dead at Newtown! I find it to be very cosy spot, and they have a wide selection of books. They also have a 'blind date with a book' section where they wrap a random book with manila paper and write a brief description of the book so you can pick a book that interests you and be surprised at the same time! It’s sort of like that feeling you have when opening Christmas presents haha.

What's your most anticipated movie/TV adaptation?

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. It was one of my favourite recent reads, and I’m really excited for the upcoming movie because the actress from the TV adaptation of Normal People is playing the main character!

Photo of Salman.

Salman Ahmad Chandio

What's your most anticipated 2022 read?

One book I want to get around to reading this year is Ghosts of the Tsunami, which is a journalistic account of the aftermath of the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. It's about the short and long term effects it had on the public in the face of such a large scale disaster.

What's your favourite genre and why?

I'd probably say science fiction. The ideas of highly advanced technology and the ways in which civilisation can change over the course of millennia in travelling across space and adapting to new environments have always been fascinating to me.

What's a hidden gem (a book you love but don't think gets enough attention) you want to share with LitSoc?

This isn't exactly a book, but the first thing that comes to mind is that I read the play Philadelphia, Here I Come! a few years back, and it has stuck with me ever since. It's about a young man from Ireland who spends his life blaming others for his misfortunes and the problems in his life, and he decides to move to Philadelphia in search of his fortune and in order to improve his life, but as he's about to leave he gets terrified of the change, which leads him to finally re-evaluate his life and come to terms with himself being the cause of his woes in life.