Essay

A Reader’s Guide To Surviving 2018

Nirbhay Kanoria

January 02, 2018

2017 was one hell of a year, leaving many with mixed feelings about all that went down. If nothing else, the launch of The Curious Reader was certainly a bright spot in the literary world (I plead guilty to self-aggrandising). Going by the events lined up in 2018, it looks like it’s going to be one hell of a ride. To prep you for the upcoming year, below are some of the most anticipated or worrisome events, along with some excellent reading choices to help you understand them.

  1. How do you plan on coping with everything politics is going to throw at us in 2018? BJP and Congress will begin campaigning for the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections – so, obviously, we can expect a scam to surface, a few hundred crores to be spent, a barrage of stations, airports, and metro lines being inaugurated but not functioning, and generally, a pretty draining year with all the political drama. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the 2018 U.S. senatorial race will be happening so expect some seriously nasty tweeting from Twitter-in-Chief, Mr. Happy Fingers himself. So pick up a copy of Animal Farm by George Orwell, by far one of the best political satires out there, or The Competent Authority, which satirises Indian polity.
  2. According to Sophie Turner, a.k.a. Sansa Stark, we aren’t getting the series finale of Game of Thrones till 2019,  so 2018 is going to feel like one long winter without our summer dose of violence, sex, blood, gore, and Westorosi politics. Now you could spend 2018 rewatching the entire show, but, think about it, wouldn’t you rather read the entire series? It’s riveting, unputdownable, and so much more layered than the show. Plus, you can join the club of those who look down upon the people who’ve only watched the show and be all smug and act superior when your friends don’t understand a particular plot twist. because they haven’t read the books. And of course, shout yourself hoarse while informing everyone that the series is actually called A Song of Ice and Fire (you’ll get the significance of this when you think about R + L = J).
  3. This is kind of sad but as per this study, we should expect 2018 to be a pretty terrible year in earthquakes. 2017 was bad enough with fires in California and hurricanes from Puerto Rico to Chennai. Should the good people over at the Universities of Colorado and Montana be right, we’re in for some serious ground shaking in 2018. If so, it’s probably a good time to brush up on your knowledge of earthquakes and how to survive them by reading Rolf Schick’s Little Book of Earthquakes and Volcanoes.
  1. Get ready to get your sex on! The movie version of E. L. James’ Fifty Shades Freed – the ultimate novel of the Fifty Shades series which rocked the world and made BDSM ‘normal’ – is coming out on February 9, 2018. So go on ladies and gents, catch up and prep for this mega movie event by reading the first 2 novels in the series, and if you’re embarrassed to do so in public, wrap it up in brown paper. Fair warning – this isn’t the best-written work in my opinion, but if you are willing to experiment (in the bibliophilic sense of course!), this may change your opinion of these ‘taboo’ acts. However, if reading about sex and BDSM isn’t your thing, you can always read some of the other brilliant books which have also been made into movies, and releasing in 2018 – A Wrinkle in Time and Crazy Rich Asians.
  2. Come June, expect an assortment of your friends to be glued to the television anywhere between 3:30 in the afternoon till the wee hours of the morning. After all, Russia is hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup. While it’s sad that India is yet to qualify, that doesn’t stop us Indians from loving the game. The 2014 World Cup was watched by 100 million Indians and our own homegrown football league – the Indian Super League- is already a success. To get into the mood for some ball-kicking, you can read Nick Hornby’s debut novel – Fever Pitch – an autobiographical essay on how being an Arsenal fan helped him cope with life or learn all about the history of the event by reading The Mammoth Book of the World Cup by Nick Holt and dazzle your friends with your knowledge. For a humourous read, check out Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett, which you will enjoy even if you have no idea what ‘offside’ means.
  3. Have you marked May 19th on your calendar already? It is possibly the largest social event of the year, a wedding of truly royal proportions, and no, not, #Virushka but #Harmeg (can we start that as a trend please?) – I’m talking about the upcoming nuptials of Prince Harry and American humanitarian and actress Megan Markle. Back in 2011, William and Kate’s wedding dominated headlines and I expect #Harmeg (I’m making it a thing) to be no different. However, before you start speaking in that English accent, go back and read two classics that are all about a wedding: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (yay for Shakespeare!) and Sense and Sensibility (a guide on how to get your guy -Victorian edition).
  1. We have two insanely cool space events happening in 2018. Towards the end of the year, assuming Elon Musk delivers on his promise, two space tourists, and not professional astronauts, will orbit the Moon (yes, you read that right!) in one of the Falcon Heavy spaceships. And bang in the middle of the year, on July 27 to be precise, Mars will be the closest its been to Earth since 2003. In case any of you are planning to jump ship to Mars, hoping for a brighter future, don’t forget to read The Martian which is all about how an Earthling survived on Mars for a long time and even ended up growing his own potatoes. His survival tips may just come in handy.

These books will provide you with the context you need to understand the craziness that 2018 will bring. Some of these will make you laugh while others will make you question what you know, but you will definitely enjoy all of them. And if you really want to have a crazy 2018, sign up for The 1st Extraordinary Reading Challenge which is going to nudge you into stepping out of your comfort zone. You’ll be reading 24 different books across a variety of genres and discussing them in an exclusive Facebook Group for others who are taking on this challenge.

Happy 2018 and wishing you a year of merry reading!

Do books help you make sense of the world around you? Do you think another book is better suited for the events discussed here? Tell us in the comments below.

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Nirbhay Kanoria

Nirbhay Kanoria

As a young boy, Nirbhay had the annoying habit of waking up at 5 a.m. Since television was a big no-no, he had no choice but to read to entertain himself and that is how his love affair with books began. A true-blue Piscean, books paved the path to his fantasy worlds- worlds he’d often rather stay in.