September 8 marks International Literacy Day, an official United Nations occasion which focuses on the importance of reading, both as a matter of human rights, and to advance towards a more literate and sustainable society.
Luckily, the literacy rate in Hong Kong is consistently high (around 99 per cent) these days, which means we can focus on supporting charities that promote literacy elsewhere – and on continuing to challenge our own reading.
Here are the best books the Young Post team members have read so far this year. We hope they inspire your TBR pile!
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
This book tells the story of a young couple from Cameroon who moves to the US with hopes of making a better life for themselves and their son. It explores a lot about immigration, race and class in the US and shows how out of reach “The American Dream” is for many people, no matter how hard they work.
Dannie Higginbotham, Web editor
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
The first book in Leckie’s Imperial Radch sci-fi trilogy, the story is told from the perspective of a ship’s A.I. and raises interesting questions about what it means to be human, and whether self-learning A.I. will one day be ruled by feelings instead of programming.
It also has lots of action scenes and big starship battles, which is a must for a good space opera.
Jamie Lam, Special projects editor
Becoming by Michelle Obama
One of the most inspiring books I’ve read this year. The autobiography provides a refreshingly candid insight into her life, thoughts, and views, and how her experiences have shaped some of the difficult decisions she’s made. Obama’s delightful personality shines throughout the book, and left me with even more respect and admiration for the former First Lady of the United States.
More importantly, Becoming is an uplifting read that gives us hope when it comes to today’s chaotic political climate.
Doris Wai, Multimedia editor
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
As its title suggests, this charts the evolution of the species homo sapiens from the Stone Age to the 21st century. I first read it a couple of years ago and was so desperate to share it with someone that I introduced it to my boyfriend, and we’re now listening to it together on audiobook.
It’s the kind of book that you need to be able to discuss, as it poses so many interesting questions: did humans rise to dominance because of our ability to believe in things just using our imagination? And were we really happier when we were simple hunter gatherers? This book may not offer any definitive answers, but it will definitely get you thinking.
Charlotte Ames-Ettridge, Sub-editor
The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay
A gripping story that follows a young woman’s journey to find an old, long-lost figure from her childhood. She makes the journey from Bangalore, India, to the troubled region of Kashmir where she is thrust into the on-going tumultuous political situation.
The novel depicts the character’s growth from privileged young girl, to a ferocious, brave woman. Definitely one to read if you are curious about politics, and in particular, want to learn more about the situation in Kashmir.
Rhea Mogul, Junior reporters manager
The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman
The first in a trilogy set in the same universe as Pullman’s amazing “His Dark Materials”, this is set 12 years before Northern Lights, the first in the original trilogy and follows the efforts of two young people to protect the baby Lyra (the main character of His Dark Materials). There’s a lot of world-building and expansion on things only touched upon in the original books, with an exciting story to boot.
Ginny Wong, Sub-editor
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
This is a masterpiece based on the tales of two abolitionist sisters, Sarah and Angelina Grimké, and their slave, Hetty Handful. It doesn’t just focus on the atrocities of slavery – it’s about Hetty’s quest for freedom, and the sisters’ fight for equal rights for both slaves and women. One of the most remarkable things I learned from it is that some slave owners felt guilty about owning slaves, and would have freed them had their livelihoods not been so dependent on them.
Veronica Lin, Reporter
84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
I’m not generally a fan of epistolary stories (those told through letters), but this is possibly the most delightful thing I’ve ever read. And I read almost CONSTANTLY. This is a series of letters between an American woman and the owner of a bookshop in London over the course of 20 years. It tracks the friendship that develops between them, but is also a window to major historical events, and an insight into how life changed over those decades. Sheer joy.
Karly Cox, Deputy editor
Shine by Candy Gourlay
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of meeting Filipino author Gourlay when she came to Hong Kong for the Young Readers Festival. I read this book and became an instant fan of her writing. It’s a thrilling and suspenseful story filled with magic, mystery and monsters. It also touches on issues such as loss, loneliness, social media and mental illness. Just a great read.
Nicole Moraleda, Sub-editor