2016 Reading Challenge Recap

Despite 2016 being the 💩💩 year that it was…it was a good year for books! I reached and surpassed my goal of 25 books, closing the year with a total of 26 books and 1 in progress. I completed most of the reading challenge this year as well! Visit me on Goodreads to see all the books I’ve read and what I think of them!

Books Read: 26

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Books I Loved:

A Book Recommended by Someone You Just MetBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi CoatesSooo I kinda cheated on this one a little because Coates was recommended to me when I first met a local activist in New Orleans over a year ago. I finally got around to reading one of his books (I’ve previously read his articles) I decided it could still count! Between the World and Me is a beautiful collection of writings, fashioned as a letter to his son, in which Coates confronts the notion of race in America and how it has impacted American history, often at the cost of black bodies and lives. This is EXTREMELY poignant given the current the current racial climate and perfectly highlights the importance of the Black Lives Matter Movement. A MUST READ

A Book of Poetrymilk and honey by Rupi KaurSo I’m kind of obsessed with this book right now and I’ve read it three times in total in the course of a week. These poems are everything you don’t know you need and more. I related so much to the loving, the breaking and the healing. I have gone through similar emotions recently and there’s just something about knowing your feelings are valid that makes reading this book a real experience. Kaur writes “milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look”. 

A Book from the Library: God Help the Child by Toni Morrison. Toni Morrison is such a wonderful author so of course this book did not disappoint. In this novel, she explores the long term effects of childhood trauma and how it can alter the life course. Each character has been affected by some type of abuse in their childhood and we see how they are still dealing with that abuse as adults. It is not until they make the conscious decision to move on, be better and forgive that they begin to live their best lives. But when a child comes in to the picture, you have to wonder if the cycle will just continue all over again. LOVED IT! BTW, you can check out ebooks from the library and its the best technological innovation since the Kindle app.

An AutobiographyThe Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa RaeIt’s really special to see yourself reflected in the pages of a book. Every story and experience Issa Rae recounts is something I have been through, am currently going through or could really relate to. The ABG Guide for Connecting with Other Blacks needs to be published everywhere because it made my entire life. I had the recurrent feeling of “YAASSS GIRL YOU SO GET ME!” through the entire book. I appreciate her and her web series so much more. Shout out to all the Awkward Black Girls! I can’t wait for her upcoming HBO series. 

A Book That’s Guaranteed To Bring You Joy: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack ThorneI am a crazy Harry Potter fan and I’m just so happy that we have another Harry Potter story! And it was written so beautifully, the familiar characters we know mixed in with the new generation of witches and wizards that they are raising. ALL. THE. FEELS. Although I did miss the painstaking detail of the other books, I recognize this is a script and thanks to Buzzfeed coming in clutch with production pics I was not at all disappointed. I loved it. 

A Book That is Published in 2016We’re All Damaged by Matthew NormanI really enjoyed this book. Perhaps because I could really relate to the themes or maybe it was the overall message but it was an excellent and quick read no matter the reason. Read my full review here.  

A National Book Award WinnerBrown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline WoodsonI can tell why this book is so highly awarded. Such a beautiful collection of prose to tell the story of a black girl growing up in a time when the country was going through monumental changes and what it felt like to be a part of those changes. I was upset that  it ended to quickly. I would have loved to read about how she reunited with her father as she mentions in the author’s note and what all of her siblings ended up doing with their lives. Overall amazing read! 

A Book Set in EuropeAsking For It by Louise O’NeillI was a bit anxious to read a book about sexual assault not knowing how intense this author was going to be. But she wrote in a way that forces us to look past our own uncomfortable feelings and really attempt to understand what society’s lack of support for sexual violence can do to the victim. It was really interesting to note the similarities between Ireland and the U.S. when it comes to dealing with sexual violence. I literally couldn’t put it down. I wanted to know what was going to happen next, to see if Emma might make it. This quote from the afterword says it all:

“We need to talk about rape. We need to talk about consent. We need to talk about victim-blaming and slut-shaming and the double standards we place upon our young women and men. We need to talk and talk and talk until the Emmas of this world feel supported and understood. Until they feel like they are believed.” 

A YA Bestseller: Paper Towns by John GreenI was pleasantly surprised by this book! So much so that I had to write a full review. It does contain spoilers so proceed with caution!

A Book Written by a CelebrityWhat I Know for Sure by Oprah WinfreyThis was a great book to start the year off with. It was incredibly uplifting and I learned a lot about how to improve my way of life. The biggest take away for me was that living your best life means living for yourself which does not mean to be selfish but rather doing things that truly make you happy and resonate with your being. Definitely plan to read this one again in the future.