30 books: 2017

A list of 30 books — my goal — that I will read this year.
  1. Bridge to Terabithia
    I wanted to read this book by Katherine Paterson for a long time now ever since I've heard people talk about the movie. Everyone said it was sad, but I wasn't expecting it to be as sad. I cried all the way through the end. I finished it on the first day of the year, so you know, it was a great start to 2017.
  2. A Drink Before the War
    I've read other Dennis Lehane books so I thought I knew what I was expecting. I was wrong. This book has gun violence, child porn, domestic violence, sexism, SO MUCH RACISM & even a reminder of the election. Basically, every terrible thing I write about for work. It brought me into a pretty nasty place mentally, which is what I try to avoid when reading. That said, it was a quick read. But it's landed me back in my happy place — Hogwarts. I need a literary cleanse after these last 2 books.
  3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (illustrated)
    I think we all need to return to Hogwarts when we are down. That's what the magical world is for me. And the illustrations are absolutely beautiful.
  4. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
    This dude Mark Manson would be easier to take seriously if his attitude wasn't dripping with white male privilege. The book offers some poignant moments, but they are hard to hold onto when the rest of the time my eyes are rolling into the back of my head.
  5. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
    This book is epic. Everything Junot Diaz writes is epic. The strong immigrant narrative is important especially during these awful moments in American history. Oscar Wao never felt like he belonged, and I think that's something we've all felt, too.
  6. The Historian
    This story and book were so fun to read. I enjoyed the suspense and kept wondering what was going to happen. I can't quite pick fact from fiction in this story, but I didn't much care. I liked the descriptions of the different places the two characters visit. That was probably my favorite part. I didn't care much for the plot twist at the end, but it didn't bother me that much.
  7. Becoming Abigail
    Chris Abani's book about a woman raised as a sex trafficker has been sitting on my book shelf for over 10 years now. I finally chose to read it this year. It's a dark and terrifying story of being unable to escape your circumstances. I recommend it.
  8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
    I'm ashamed to admit it took me 29 years to read a Maya Angelou book. Especially, this one. What a dark, yet unifying story her memoir has become over time. Her life is an inspiring fountain of wisdom that keeps giving past her death.
  9. Freeman
    It is nearly impossible to enjoy the story of Sam Freeman during Reconstruction because this is an unforgiving story of what it was like for a black men post-Civil War in America. The hatred bleeds through the pages and into your soul as you read. Leonard Pitts Jr. is magnificent, but his writing in this book left my life a little bleaker. But, still, it was an important, worthwhile read.
  10. Here is New York
    I bought E.B. White's essay For the sole purpose of reading it while on a trip to New York City. I read it on the Subway and the grass of Central Park and it gave me much fulfillment. I enjoyed this short book on the warmth the city brings to most of us who are lucky to experience it.
  11. Open City
    Prior to my New York trip I researched obsessively what would be the perfect book to read during my travels. This book by Teju Cole was always listed. I settled for E.B. White, but imagine my surprise when I came across this book at a used bookstore in the Upper Westside. And I loved it, except for the end. It left me wanting more. That's a sign of a good book.
  12. PS, I Love You
    This is a crap book filled with crap characters. It's, so far, the only book in my life that I've ever chosen to give to Good Will. It currently resides in a bag filled with old clothes. By Cecilia Ahern.
  13. Everything, Everything
    The movie trailer made me read this. And I enjoyed it a lot. The teen angst is sometimes a bit too much, but it was easy to ignore because the characters are so great. Nicola Yoon is an Emerson alumni so double cool.
  14. Flashbacks: On Returning to Vietnam
    I shouldn't judge our journalistic forbearers to harshly, but it's hard to get passed his treatment of women in this book. They are all girlish eye-candy for Safer. That said, the journalistic descriptions were excellent. It's a white man's world, we are all just trying to survive it, I suppose. 🙄
  15. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven
    I think this is my favorite book of the year so far. I really loved Sherman Alexie's writing. I can't wait to read more of his books. I can't describe how much this book means to me. I don't know why, but reading it was mesmerizing.
  16. Shots on the Bridge: Police Violence and Cover-Up in the Wake of Katrina
    I picked this book up for 5 bucks at IRE in Phoenix and I could not put it down. It made me so angry the extent to which these police officers went to save themselves. It's a sobering reminder of the world we live in.
  17. The Namesake
    This has been one my favorite books so far this year. Jhumpa Lahiri writes a very unique, yet relatable story of the immigrant experience in the United States. I recommend it to anyone who feels like an "other" in our home. Many of its pages made me extremely emotional and nostalgic for something I couldn't exactly pinpoint. I love it.
  18. Olive Kitteridge
    This book was given to me by a co-worker. It's different from any of the books I've read. I stay away from books about aging because I find the process to be so scary. The character development in great, but my gosh, reading about the aging process and the feelings it brings was so depressing. Still glad I read it, even if just to explore a different perspective.
  19. Persuasion
    Jane Austen does not disappoint with this book. While Anne Elliot is not as great a character as Elizabeth Bennet the story is enjoyable. Captain Wentworth is also super dreamy. Loved it.
  20. I'm Judging You
    I'm judging Luvvie Ajayi for writing such a god-awful book. I expected more humor instead of a lot of nagging. Ajayi isn't saying anything new, she's just complaining about problems we've known about for years. I love her writing online and having her address current events is great, but this book gave me nothing new.