Sunday, January 12, 2020

2019 Reading List

Here we go with my 2019 reading list summary! I moved and started a new job in the last couple weeks, so forgive me for being a few weeks late! The grand total of books I read this year was 126, written by 104 authors. I did a rough calculation, which required me to make a few assumptions, of the demographics of the authors (so take these stats with a grain of salt since they are not exact): out of 104 total authors, 82% were women, 47% were people of color, 10% were LGBTQ identified, and 17% were not from the United States.

As usual, not all 126 books are listed below since many were re-reads. This took forever to compile so please enjoy!

BOOK OF THE YEAR:
Know My Name by Chanel Miller
I cannot overstate how incredible this book is. Chanel Miller, previously only known as "Emily Doe," was sexually assaulted in early 2015 on campus at Stanford University. She decided to write a book to tell her story and go public with her identity in 2019. The book is heart-wrenching, devastating, uncomfortable, unflinching, honest, fearless, and hopeful account of surviving sexual assault. Chanel Miller's story is not my story but there are many commonalities between our stories, and in this book she describes things I have wanted to say so much more eloquently than I have been able to do. It's also a difficult read that can be triggering, so I have tried to be clear about that every time I talk about it as well--if you are able to be in the mind-set to read a personal account of surviving sexual assault, I truly recommend this book.

And now for everything else:
Favorite Essay Collections
The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West
Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samantha Irby

Other Essay Collections I Read This Year
Life Will Be the Death of Me... And You Too! by Chelsea Handler
What Do We Need Men For? by E. Jean Carroll
Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom
Hallelujah Anyway by Anne Lamott
Women, Culture & Politics by Angela Davis
Don't Call Me Princess by Peggy Orenstein

Favorite Historical Fiction Novel
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I Watched Her Netflix Show & Got Real Into Marie Kondo
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

A Truly Fascinating Book About the Long Term Effects of Trauma on the Body
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel A. van der Kolk

Two Excellent Books About Women & Anger
Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger by Rebecca Traister
Rage Becomes Her by Soraya Chemaly

Two Books About the Anti-Gun Violence Movement that the Parkland Shooting Ignited
Parkland: Birth of a Movement by Dave Cullen
#NeverAgain by David Hogg & Lauren Hogg

Two Books Written by Parents After Their Stories Became Internationally Famous When Their Sons, Young Black Men, Were Gunned Down in the Street by People Who Claimed to be Upholding the Law
Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin
Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil by Lezley McSpadden (mother of Michael Brown)

YA Novels with LGBTQ Protagonists (I realized that about half of the YA novels I read this year had LGBTQ protagonists so figured it merited its own category.)
Spinning by Tillie Walden
Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash
The Fever King by Victoria Lee
Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

Other YA Novels I Read This Year
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Blended by Sharon Draper
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Puddin' by Julie Murphy
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

Books About Care Work & Gender
All the Rage by Darcy Lockman
Women's Work by Megan Stack

Favorite Contemporary Fiction Novel
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Lots More Novels
Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Intercepted by Alexa Martin
The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory
Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan
Sula by Toni Morrison
The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

Poetry
SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson
Dream Work by Mary Oliver
Wild Beauty/Bella Salvaje by Ntozake Shange
The Woman I Kept to Myself by Julia Alvarez

A Very Interesting and Delightful Biography on the Friendship Between Pauli Murray and Eleanor Roosevelt 
The Firebrand and the First Lady by Patricia Bell-Scott

Black Women Writing About Feminism
Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks
Reclaiming Our Space by Feminista Jones

A Book I Started About 10 Years Ago and Finally Finished This Year
Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? by Michael J. Sandel (this one also wins the award for most infuriating error in a published book I found this year--describing Laredo as being across the border from Juarez... since I had that particular copy of the book for a while, I sure hope someone else caught that error and it was fixed in a later printing.)

Presidential Candidates (I aspired to read more of these but there were so many presidential candidates, most of whom had written books and tbh, much more interesting books I wanted to read instead.)
A Politics of Love by Marianne Williamson
Where We Go From Here by Bernie Sanders
This Fight Is Our Fight by Elizabeth Warren

Memoirs
The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
The Doctor Is In: Dr. Ruth on Life, Love and Joie de Vivre by Ruth Westheimer
Rita Moreno: A Memoir by Rita Moreno
Trans: A Memoir by Juliet Jacques
UnSlut: A Diary and a Memoir by Emily Lindin
American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures by America Ferrera (ed.)

This Would Probably Be Classified As Somewhere Between a Memoir and Humor Essays, But Really Is an Unflinchingly Honest and Often Hilarious Look at What It's Like Living With Severe Depression
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

I Watched Black Earth Rising on Netlfix and Wanted to Learn More About the Rwandan Genocide
We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch

Some Very Well-Written Books That Gave Me a Lot to Think About
How To Be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas
Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez
Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel
The Recovering by Leslie Jamison
She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey

Favorite Audiobook (it was a tie!)
This Will Only Hurt A Little by Busy Philipps (I had little awareness of Busy Philipps before her short-lived E! late night show, but I quickly fell in love with her enthusiasm and sense of humor and that spurred me to listen to her book. It's a mix of heart-wrenching and hilarious, funny stories and celebrity gossip, and what makes it so great to listen to is how she imitates the voices of people she talks about--she's a storyteller!)
Dear Girls by Ali Wong (Ali Wong's stand up is extremely funny and her book does not disappoint. It's full of great stories from her life--many of them just as raunchy as her stand up is. But it also includes some heartbreaking stories, such as her experience with miscarriage.)

For Some Reason I Thought It Would Be Fun to Read Multiple Re-Tellings of Pride & Prejudice
Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal (I think this one was my favorite of these)
Pride & Prejudice & Other Flavors by Sonali Dev
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa De La Cruz
Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Catch-All Category for Graphic Novels/Comics/Illustrated Adult Books
Vietnamerica by GB Tran
Arab of the Future 3 by Riad Sattouf
Illegal by Eoin Colfer
Seeing Science by Iris Gottlieb
Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun
Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin-Manuel Miranda
oh no by Alex Norris

Holiday Themed!
One Day in December by Josie Silver
Merry & Bright by Debbie Macomber
Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory
Pride & Prejudice & Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz* (also included in the Pride & Prejudice re-tellings section)
Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber

Most Underwhelming!
Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith
(One of my favorite books of all time is Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn so I decided to look up some other books she wrote and picked this one for its similarity to my tattoo--it was a sweet story but depressing at times and just kind of mundane.)

Most Confusing! 
99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown (I thought this was a more straightforward biography, but it was... not. I don't really know how to explain it but basically some of it is true and other parts are just made up and I don't know if that would have been easier to understand in written form (I listened to the audiobook) or if I would have always found it confusing. Anyway, I can't recommend this one because I was so confused.)

Least Favorite Book of the Year
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh (this book had gotten a lot of hype so I gave it a shot and maybe it's because the premise hits too close to home, but I just didn't like it.)

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