I’m generally a pretty voracious reader, but found that in 2017 I read far fewer books than I have since I was a college student when I didn’t have time to read for fun. I suspect my evening Instagram scrolling habit has replaced my reading as a favorite way to unwind…whoops. I’ll work on fixing that in 2018. But despite reading less in 2017, there were still six books I really enjoyed and could frankly see myself re-reading at some point.
1 // Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – I read this book early in the year and could tell when I finished the last page that I’d consider it a favorite of the year. My only regret was that I didn’t read and discuss it in a book club setting so I could chat with people in real time right after I finished it.
2 // The Perfect Find by Tia Williams – In sum, The Perfect Find is a good solid romance novel with a black female protagonist over 30 years old that I could relate to. I won’t tell you about the plot, because you really should read it to find out about it if you haven’t yet. It’s so refreshing to see more characters in mainstream books and TV (and to a lesser degree in film) that I can directly relate to as a black woman (Insecure, Queen Sugar, Being Mary Jane, Blackish, etc.). But of course, this book is a great story that you don’t have to be a black women to enjoy! The Perfect Find was a gem and an excellent vacation read for pure escapism.
3 // Sister Citizen by Melissa Harris Perry – As a black woman, I find it often to be so disappointing and inaccurate how black women are negatively portrayed in the mainstream media. I don’t even remember how I stumbled across this book but it was worth the read for those interested in politics, gender studies or just fans of Melissa Harris Perry’s writing and perspective on race in America.
4 // Who Thought This Was a Good Idea by Alyssa Mastromonaco – An honest and humorous look at working for the Obama Administration and the career trajectory that led to that opportunity. Frankly it made me miss the Obama Administration seen more than I was already! But despite my nostalgia for the Obama Administration, this book is also a great illustration of the fact that there’s no such thing as an overnight success for anyone who reaches a highly successful role. It’s a fast read and a good companion for political junkies like myself and anyone who wants a glimpse into what it was like to work for President Obama.
5 // Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly – As much as I loved the film version which I saw twice in theaters…it was really fascinating and inspiring to read this story about the black female mathematicians who worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the Space Race. The book offered more context to the background history and characters portrayed in the film version. Frankly I think this book should be required reading for all students.
6 // The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – So I will admit that most of the Young Adult (YA) books I read are suspenseful, supernatural/fantasy, or dystopian. But as you are aware, the current American political climate can be just as upsetting as any YA dystopian novel. The Hate U Give tells a story from a perspective you don’t often read in mainstream YA book options. It revolves mostly around the aftermath of a black make teen killed in a black community and how it impacts the life of his friend, the protagonist who was a witness of his murder by a white police officer.