I am a sucker for books. I don't know if you inherit a love of reading or fall into it, but it's one of the best addictions I have. From childhood fairy tales to teenage angst to adulthood uncertainty, I have always found a story that speaks to me. Books have allowed me to find freedom, answers, new worlds and so much more. No matter your interests there is a book out there waiting for you to read it.
Because of my book-love I often post my latest reads on social media and share the book-ish events I attend, which has led to a lot of inquiries about what I read and requests for recommendations. This year, via Goodreads, my goal was to read 20 books, which I surpassed (yes, I am patting myself on the back). I have a natural affinity for fiction, especially romance novels, however I purposefully diversify my selections to ensure I am well-read. Below are my top five picks of the year and the complete list of my 2017 reads-which I broke down by category to make it a tad easier.
What was your favorite read of the year? Are you looking forward to any 2018 releases? Let me know below so we can grow our “to-be read” list together. Happy Reading!
Top 5 Reads of 2017
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Hate U Give (THUG) takes its title from Tupac’s THUG LIFE (The Hate U Give Little Infants F**k Everybody) and shares the story of a teenage girl who witnesses her best friend’s murder at the hands of police. We see the effect of the death on the protagonist, her family and the community as a whole. The story is relevant and the writing compelling -I missed my subway stop because I was so entranced. THUG is being made into a motion picture starring Amandla Stenberg, Issa Rae, Anthony Mackie and Regina Hall, just to name a few. THUG is a MUST read.
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Butler is hailed as the queen of black science-fiction and has been on my reading list for a while so when I stumbled across the book at the Free Black Women’s Library I immediately grabbed it. Kindred tells the story of Dana, a young black woman who is transported back to the antebellum South to save her ancestor from his near death experiences. The catch is that her ancestor is young white boy who grows up to be a slave master- the master and father of the children that lead to her existence. Butler forces the reader to face the intricate ties of familial lineage for black Americans whose roots are tied to not only the enslaved but the slaveholders. She also discusses society and the attitudes and mindsets of those in the antebellum South. In an interesting twist we see Dana assimilate to survive, a topic that still is discussed today- could we survive then, how would we behave? Kindred took me through a whirlwind of emotion from start to finish.
salt. by Nayyirah Waheed
Salt is a collection of poetry that covers topics of race, identity, and love. Most of the poems are only a few lines yet Nayyirah is able to pierce you with each piece, leaving you in awe of her words and reflecting on each one.
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
This was my first Baldwin novel (I feel you judging me), but it will not be my last. A short, yet dense read, The Fire Next Time is as relevant today as it was when it was written. Baldwin’s words on race in America and the relationship between race and religion had me experiencing both critical thinking and raw emotion simultaneously. It was also great to read this book after Ta-Nehisi Coates Between The World and Me as they share a lot of similarities and Coates derives his title from a line in The Fire Next Time.
The Meaning of Michelle edited by Veronica Chambers
As for me and my house, the only First Family we acknowledge are the Obamas. A collection of essays by a variety of contributors such as Ava Duvernay, Roxane Gay, Damon Young and Chirlane McCray, The Meaning of Michelle reflects on the significance and impact Michelle Obama had as a black woman in the White House as First Lady, self-proclaimed Mom-in-Chief, and more.
Queen Sugar- Natalie Baszile
Kindred- Octavia Butler
Americanah- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Everything, Everything- Nicola Yoon
The Mothers- Brit Bennett
The Hate U Give- Angie Thomas
Small Great Things- Jodi Picoult
Another Brooklyn- Jacqueline Woodson
Swing Time- Zadie Smith
Legal Seduction- Sharon C Cooper
Disappearing Acts- Terry McMillan
**Honorable Mention: The Thunder Beneath Us by Nicole Blades because I just started and may, or may not, finish before 2018.**
The Fire Next Time- James Baldwin
The Meaning of Michelle- Veronica Chambers
Redefining Realness- Janet Mock
The Sisters are Alright- Tamara Winfrey Harris
The Hollywood Commandments- DeVon Franklin
This is Just my Face Try Not to Stare- Gabourey Sidibe
I Can’t Make This Up, Life Lessons- Kevin Hart
Nappy by Nature- Charell Strong
How Much We Must Have Looked Like Stars to Stars- Alysia Harris
Citizen- Claudia Rankine
Chalk Outlines of Snow Angels- Jasmine Mans
salt.- Nayyirah Waheed
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