Greetings and salutations!
I read about 40 books this year; short on my goal of reading 52 books (next year I’ll get it!). Here are my favorite 10 books. Some of them were published in 2017, others were released in previous years. They’re listed in no particular order.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Engrossing story that spans centuries, beginning in Africa. It traces the descendants of a family that was split during the Transatlantic Slave trade. I enjoyed the individual stories, how the characters were each given a unique importance, and how those stories blended into a novel of coming togetherness.
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
One of the best and unique fantasy novels I’ve read in years. The protagonist lived an adventurous life, having been born with the power to manipulate certain energies, which can cause massive earthquakes. They’re trained by an organization to be a tool, and is treated as both disposable utensil and dangerous weapon.
Transcendent: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction, edited by K.M. Szpara
An anthology of engaging and beautifully written speculative fiction featuring transgender characters or stories about identity and transformation. The stories also avoided having a fatalist view of gender queerness in society. The stories are excellently done and offer unique perspectives; there’s a story with a ship powered by magic channeled through physical pain, assassins who read the future on flower petals they spit out in the morning and other dazzling tales.
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Written from the point of view of a teen girl living in Nigeria during a period political change. Her father is abusive and controls the family through a mix of violence, intimidation and misuse of religion. The tenderness from a young visiting priest opens her up socially and emotionally.
To Be Drenched in Dreams, Delights, Downfalls and Dos by Kia Marie Dawkins
Beautiful book of cute poems, doodles and activities. The poems made me smile and I got warm & fuzzy feelings from reading this book. Nothing but positive vibes.
Electric Arches by Eve L. Ewing
I have it listed under poetry, but it’s more than that. There’s visual design and prose as well. Elements from science fiction are blended into the pieces as well. Some my favorite pieces are the ones that retells an event with additional “what I wish would’ve happened” parts.
For Girls Growing Into Their Hips by Hannah V. Sawyerr
Powerful pieces about surviving and healing from sexual abuse, loss, heartache, life. The poems don’t speak from the destination, but through the journey and process of reclaiming one’s body, voice, joy and love.
Have Black Lives Ever Mattered? by Mumia Abu-Jamal
A collection of essays from one of the best known U.S. political prisoners. Beginning with an essay written in June 1998, he digs into the system of oppression in the U.S. that targets racially, is fueled by capitalistic greed and enforced through police brutality. His essays go back to the days before social media and mobile phone cameras; one of the more damning things is the information on police brutality caught on video, decades ago, and how the perpetrators got off and how the system didn’t collapse, which smacks the idea of the legal and political impact of recording encounters (and posting them online).
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
Essays and speeches by a brilliant thinker. I enjoyed how she uses personal experiences to show the political, and her candidness of her own errors when dealing with her family and other women, due to racial and gender oppression from society — the essays are more than feminist theory, but feminism in practice.
The Cook Up by D. Watkins
A down-to-earth memoir about a man who inherited the means to start a crack empire in east Baltimore, and how he gets out the game. This is a life of personal loss, death, violence and love, written in a direct manner tinged with humor and humanity. An engaging look into the street life, without condemning the players for making their decisions when there are limited options presented to them.