Some people do their year in review at the end of the year. But I’m going to do mine now. From July 2016 to June 2017, here are my top ten, in alphabetical order by author name, because I cannot choose a ranking.
This was a really good year for my reading life. I started writing for Book Riot in March of 2016 (whoa!) and working with some of the biggest book nerds around leads to some excellent book recommendations.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Ellen Forney (Illustrator)
Junior decides to go to a school off the Spokane Indian Reservation, with the hope of creating a better future for himself. He’s the only not-white person at school. This is the story of his life balancing between two worlds, with lots of humor and heart.
Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn
Margot hustles and bustles to create a better life for her younger sister, Thandi, in the sticky heat of Montego Bay. Drama and secrets are rampant in this book about a family of strong Jamaican women just trying to get by. Gorgeous.
A must-read for all feminists. Sady Doyle looks deeply into the lives of women like Mary Shelley, Charlotte Bronte, and Billie Holiday and compares them to … Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and Amy Winehouse. The trainwreck. A woman who does the same thing a man does (i.e., sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll), but is crucified for it.
Sex Criminals, Vol. 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Artist)
I picked Volume 1, but really, I love all of Sex Criminals, and each issue is better than the next. Get this: Two people realize they have the power to stop time when they have sex. And what do they do? Rob banks to fund a library, duh!
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
Something terrible happened, and then Roxane Gay started eating. Her story is harrowing. The first few chapters are short and about how this is the hardest thing she’s ever written. It’s one of the hardest to read. But so worth it. A fellow Book Rioter said they felt “spoiled by her honesty,” and that’s the best way to think about this book.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Saeed and Nadia, a young couple keeping their relationship secret, escape their war-torn South Asian country through mystical doors that transport migrants from safe place to safe place. The doors appear all over the globe and people step out into new countries easily. Saeed and Nadia find one, step through, and begin their lives as refugees. Mohsin Hamid left me in a trance.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
If you’re a writer, or live any sort of creative life, you need this book. Preferably to read it, but it also is good to have on a shelf as a comfortable reminder. Anne Lamott’s writing has a calming effect as she teaches how to see, how to write, how to live.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Aristotle and Dante are just two nerdy boys who become best friends and discover a whole lot of things about, well, the universe. And themselves. This book will have you falling in love at every chapter. Bonus: Lin-Manuel Miranda reads the audiobook.
Blankets by Craig Thompson
Snow. Sibling rivalry. Church camp. Losing your religion. Snow. Young love. Two weeks of bliss. Blankets. I read this on a few wintry nights, curled up on my couch with candles and my cat. It only fills me with warmth.
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Natasha and Daniel are just two strangers, out and about on a regular day. Except for Natasha, who is running errands to figure out a way for her family to avoid deportation. They meet and instantly fall in love. And the universe does its thing.