Last year I had a goal of reading 25 books, which averages to about two books a month and which seemed both totally doable but challenging enough that it would require some changes in my behavior, which was kind of the point of the goal. Unfortunately, once the pandemic hit in March, I became so distracted that it was hard to focus on texts longer than social media captions, and the same book remained by my bedside, barely read, for about six months. This year I’ve done a much better job meeting my reading goal and I’m excited to share what books I found most enjoyable and hear your suggestions, too. First, my favorite book this year was…
I LOVED this memoir of a 20-something’s ordeal with cancer and her re-entry into “normal” life after a harrowing experience that both took so much from her and gave endless entry points to discovering more about herself, her place in the world, and the rich connections people share with each other. The writing is exquisite!
This is a murder mystery novel, which is not a genre I usually gravitate to at all, but I read this on the recommendation of a friend and I’m so glad I gave it a chance! It’s a gripping suspense that’s “also a moving story of sisters, addiction, and the formidable ties that persist between place, family, and fate.” Obama listed it as one of his favorite books of last year, so there you go.
In this memoir, writer Ashley Ford shares her experience growing up a poor Black girl in Indiana “with a family fragmented by incarceration, exploring how isolating and complex such a childhood can be. As Ashley battles her body and her environment, she embarks on a powerful journey to find the threads between who she is and what she was born into, and the complicated familial love that often binds them.” Ford’s narration is at once heartbreaking and hopeful, and ultimately a triumphant coming-of-age tale that I read faster than any other book this year.
A novel based on real events, “My Dark Vanessa” explores “the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher.” It was a both disturbing, yet all-consuming and thought-provoking, read that nailed so much of the experience of being a teenage girl discovering the effects her changing body has on men and a brilliant reflection of the “shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.”
Currently, I’m reading the NYTimes Bestseller “Crying at H-Mart,” and though I’m just 20 pages into it (I only picked it up at the library yesterday), I can tell it’ll likely be another favorite read of the year. What are you reading these days? What were some of your favorite books this year?