2020, favorite reads, recommendations, Wrap-Up

Favorite Fiction Reads of 2020

In my last post, I talked about the books I gave 5 stars in 2020, but those were 8 out of the 100 books I read, so I wanted to talk about some other great books that I read last year. Below are ten fiction books I read in 2020 that I would definitely recommend.

The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R.F. Kuang

The Poppy War is the first in a fantasy series based on real events in Chinese history. Rin is an underdog who gets into an elite military academy where she has to prove to the others students and teachers that she deserves her spot there. While at the school, she discovers shamanistic powers that will turn her into a dangerous weapon when the country becomes embroiled in war. Rin was not my favorite character but I enjoyed the other side characters and I thought the world-building was well done. I also read the second book in the series, The Dragon Republic, in 2020 and it is an excellent sequel. Trigger warnings for all of the things.

The Last Human by Zack Jordan

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this to review for Booklist, and I really enjoyed it! This is a sci-fi debut about Sarya, who is the last human in the universe. When her home is destroyed, Sarya sets off on a journey in a stolen spaceship with a ragtag group that includes a rebellious spacesuit and a super genius ball of fluff. Pursuing Sarya are two omniscient beings: one who wants to resurrect the human species and one who wants to extinguish it. I found this to be witty and humorous while contemplating on themes such as classism, lack of freedom and the meaning of destiny.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

Kitchens of the Great Midwest is a contemporary novel about a girl named Eva who is a culinary prodigy that grows up to be a renowned chef. The story is told in vignettes from various people who come into contact with Eva and how she touches their lives, either on purpose or inadvertently. Eva is a little bit of a Mary Sue, but the writing gave me Fredrik Backman vibes and he is one of my favorite authors. I will definitely be trying Stradal’s other novel, The Lager Queen of Minnesota.

Brunch and Other Obligations by Suzanne Nugent

This was another ARC I received for review for Booklist, and I also enjoyed this one! This is about a group of friends: Molly, Leanne, Christina, & Nora. The latter 3 women are really only friends because of Molly. When Molly dies, she leaves a request for the 3 women to meet up for brunch once a month for a year. Over the year the women grieve the loss of their friend together and learn they have so much more in common than they thought. It was witty and charming and a great debut.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium #1) by Stieg Larsson

This one was a reread for me, and I’m sure a lot of you have already heard of it and/or read it. I think it still holds up; Lisbeth Salander is still a kickass character and the mystery is still compelling. My one complaint is that Larsson focused a lot on Lisbeth’s looks which was just sort of uncomfortable and gross. But the action and characters made up for that and I would definitely recommend the first 3 of the series.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

One thing I love about reading historical fiction is learning about pieces of forgotten history. Granted, The Nickel Boys is based on the tragic history of the Dozier School for Boys. The Nickel Boys follows Elwood Curtis, a young man growing up in the 1960s who is sent to a reform school called “The Nickel Academy” after being unfairly sentenced. Once he’s there, it’s clear that there is no reform, only horror. When he becomes friends with Turner, Elwood begins thinking about escaping Nickel. Once a plan is put in action, there is no escaping the consequences. I listened to this on audiobook and thought J.D. Jackson did a great job. I just wish the book was a little longer so that there would be more time to connect to the characters. The fact that Whitehead could convey such heartbreak and horror (again, this is based off of A REAL SCHOOL) in so short a novel though is a testament to his writing skill.

Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Dominicana is what I call a “quiet” story, in that not a lot happens plot-wise; the plot is essentially a character study where you’re just reading about the character’s development (or lack thereof). In this case, we’re watching a young teen named Ana get married off by her parents to a man twice her age, and after the wedding he takes her to New York City circa 1965. Over time, we watch Ana grow into her own person and become more empowered, all while getting accustomed to the new country she now calls home. I just really liked the writing style and was always hoping things would work out for Ana. If you like character-study-type storytelling, you may enjoy this one.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

This is another one you might have already heard of because it was really popular a few years ago. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is about A.J. Fikry (duh), a curmudgeonly bookstore owner who has recently lost his wife and is slowly isolating himself from his community. When a baby is left at the bookstore, A.J. embarks on the adventure of living and connecting with humans again. I thought this novel was sweet and charming and essentially a love letter to books. Scott Brick reads the audiobook, which I definitely recommend.

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

After reading Pet by Akwaeke Emezi, I knew I had to check out their other work. And Freshwater did not disappoint! Emezi is skilled in writing short novels with engaging prose and packed with multiple themes. Freshwater is a semi-autobiographical contemporary that follows Ada who was born “with one foot on the other side”. When Ada experiences a traumatic event, the selves inside of her take control. I listened to this on audiobook which really adds to the reading experience because it is narrated by Emezi.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Finally, we have this short novel about a sister who may well be a serial killer. Korede is the older sister of Ayoola, who is beautiful and used to getting what she wants. Korede is used to helping Ayoola get out of ugly situations–even those that result in murder. Ayoola has claimed self-defense every time, but this is the 3rd boyfriend Korede is helping to dispose of. Korede has loved her sister too much to turn her in, but when Ayoola catches the eye of Korede’s crush, Korede begins to wonder if she should at last tell the truth. For a novel about a serial killer, this one was actually kind of fun because of the deadpan writing style. I would definitely check out anything else Braithwaite publishes.

So those are some of my favorite fiction reads from last year! Have you read any of these? Let me know what your favorite fiction reads of 2020 were in the comments below.

Until next time,

recommendations

My 5 Star Reads of 2020

So in 2020, I read 100 books. My average rating was 3.5, which means I am a picky bitch. What does it take to be a 5 star for me?

If it’s fiction, it needs to have compelling writing, interesting characters, a believable plot and detailed world-building and/or scene setting. Bonus points if it can make me have a physical reaction (ie. tears…and one of these did!).

If it’s nonfiction, it again needs to have compelling writing but it also needs to keep my interest, have legitimate citation (if it’s one of those types of nonfiction), and it needs to teach me or inspire me.

And sometimes, a book just has that je ne sais quoi and I just love it because I love it! Below are the 8 books I absolutely loved in 2020.

I read this as part of my work for a committee I was on, and I am so glad I did. We Can’t Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies, and the Art of Survival by Jabari Asim is a must read in the catalog of books written about the Black experience in America. A short, poignant collection of essays that fans of Ta-Nehisi Coats’s Between the World and Me may enjoy.

This was my first from author Akwaeke Emezi, and it dit not disappoint. Pet is a short young adult novel about a young girl named Jam who lives in a world where monsters no longer exist. Until one day a horned, clawed creature emerges from her mother’s painting and tells Jam they are there to hunt a monster. And the monster lives in Jam’s best friend’s house…

One thing I liked about this book is how stunning the writing is in that Emezi can convey deep meaning with simple writing. A quote I liked was “There is the unseen, waiting to be seen, existing only in the spaces we admit we do not see yet”. This is an excellent read AND listen, as Christopher Myers does a great job narrating the audiobook.

Ooh boy this one made me emotional. The Midnight Library is the story of Nora Seed, a woman who feels she has only ever made wrong choices. When one of her choices lands her in The Midnight Library, Nora discovers the different directions her life could have gone based on different choices she could have made. Such a compelling read that explores depression and the choices that make up our lives.

Witchcraft and suffragettes. Like need I say more? The Once and Future Witches follows a trio of sisters with magical capabilities who get entangled with the suffragette movement of 1893 New Salem and end up fighting an old enemy who is determined to keep witches from regaining their power.

Ok so this is the one that made me cry!! The Last Train to London follows multiple characters who are connected to the Kindertransport, which was an effort to get as many Jewish children out of Nazi-occupied countries after the events of Kristallnacht. One of the main characters is Tante Truus, who was a real woman who helped with getting children out of Vienna. I think I cried because it’s horrendous to know that this is based off of a true story, but I think it’s testament to Meg Waite Clayton’s skill in being able to write that urgency into the story. And I definitely recommend this on audiobook, as John Lee does a great job.

I listened to this one on audiobook because Bahni Turpin narrates it (and she is my fave audiobook narrator). This is a must read for everyone but especially white people. Racism is real and it has consequences. White privilege is real and it has consequences. White supremacy is real and it has consequences. Oluo is frank and direct in what white people need to learn and do to help eradicate racism. This is definitely one I’ll need to reread the physical copy so that I can highlight and take notes.

N.K. Jemisin is queen. The first in a trilogy, The Fifth Season is about a woman who discovers that her son has been murdered and her husband may be the killer. But he’s kidnapped their daughter and is on the run. Essun must traverse a ruined land to find them before the world enters another Fifth Season. Jemisin’s writing is compelling and the world-building complex. At times I felt I was too dumb to get it but I didn’t care. The whole series is *chef’s kiss*.

This is another important read for everyone, but especially white Americans. As it covers the entire history or racist ideas in America, it is dense. Kendi has done the work and the research to craft a well written text on racism in America. There is a youth version that I hope will be added to the curriculum for American high school history classrooms in the future.

So those were my 5 star reads of 2020! I will follow up soon with my favorite fiction and nonfiction of 2020, because I did read other great books! They just didn’t have that *thing* that makes a book a 5 star read for me. Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned? What were your 5 star reads of 2020? Comment below!

Until next time,

Uncategorized

2021 Reading Plans

New year, new reading goals/plans! After reviewing my stats from my 2020 reading and revisiting my 2020 reading goals, the following is what I have planned for my reading in 2020.

Read more LGBTQIA+ books

I read a really sad amount of LGBTQIA+ books last year, and I am so mad at myself because one of my goals for the year was to read more! But I was not intentional enough to choose books that featured or were written by LGBTQIA+ individuals. This year I am going to make sure I am intentionally choosing LGBTQIA+ titles every month. I have very good friends that are in that community and I want to read books that they feel represented by.

Continue reading more books by BIPOC authors

I did better with this in 2020 but I still didn’t hit my 50/50 goal. So I am going to work this year to do that. I also want to diversify the BIPOC authors that I am reading. The majority of the BIPOC authors that I read in 2020 were Black, so I want to make sure I include authors that are of other ethnicities. Books are mirrors and windows, and we shouldn’t always be looking in the mirror.

Read more neuorodiverse and disability rep books

This is another goal that I failed at in 2020. I was not intentional with finding books so I need to do better this year. If you have any recommendations, please let me know!

Read more graphic novels

I did not read nearly enough graphic novels last year and that is a damn shame. 2018 or 2019 was like THE YEAR of graphic novels for me and I definitely missed them in 2020.

Increase my average rating

My average rating last year was 3.5 which means the majority of the books I read were good but nothing I was writing home about, you know? Your girl is a picky bitch. This is nothing agains the books, it’s just what I prefer with my reading. So this year I just need to make sure I am picking amazing books to read each month!

Participate in Buzzwordathon

This is a readathon that originated on #Booktube via Kala @ Booksandlala.

Kala has made the readathon more of a group thing that you can participate in on Goodreads. I chose this one because I know I have a lot of owned books that have “buzzwords” in them and I thought this would help me read more of my owned books.

Read A to Z

This is a carryover from last year, but again I am going to try to read titles that start with each letter of the alphabet (not including The, A, And, or An). I will record those on the Reading A-Z page.

Read my unread shelf

I’m not really participating in The Unread Shelf Project this year (although I might do a few of the prompts here and there) but we’re at 141 unread books that I own so I need to make these a priority.

So those are my reading plans for this year! What about you? Do you have any reading goals/plans you’re excited to tackle? Let me know!

Until next time,

TBR

January 2021 TBR

Here’s what I plan on reading in January. Of course this list could be changed at any time!

This is the final installment in The Poppy War series, which is a must read fantasy series that is inspired by historical events.
This is a graphic novel memoir about the author’s experience being a first-generation American. I’ve been told to listen to the audiobook while I read this, which I am definitely planning on doing!
This is a beloved YA fantasy about a dude on trying to find a lost city. I think. Honestly, I have no idea what this is about but I am reading it as part of this month’s readalong for Buzzwordathon.
January’s word for Buzzwordathon is “dream”, so this a book I own that I am reading for the prompt. I grew up reading Laura Ingalls Wilder so I am interested in reading this biography.
This is another I don’t know a lot about but I am reading it for a book group. I do know it’s the first in a fantasy series!

So that’s what I currently plan on reading for this month! I may pick up a couple other books depending on how my reading goes. I’ve heard pretty good things about all of these so I’m excited to start my reading year strong!

How about you? What do you plan on reading in January? Let me know!

Until next time,

Wrap-Up

2020 Reading Statistics

Well would you look at that. We made it to 2021!

While 2020 wasn’t the best year ever, it’s still fun for most book nerds like myself to reflect on our reading year. Before I get into my faves of 2020 and my goals for 2020 (stay tuned!) I thought I would share my reading statistics from 2020.

How was your reading year? Read anything good? Comment below!

Until next time,

Uncategorized

October 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

In a move no one saw coming, especially me, I actually read 99% of the books on my October TBR??

There were also a couple of additional reads thrown in there, and here’s what I thought!

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

I said this in my Goodreads review, but I didn’t enjoy this as much as other seem to have. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoyed it. There are very important themes (allyship and racism) that are discussed throughout. But I thought the main characters were boring and therefore couldn’t really engage with the story. I would still recommend it and will be checking anything out Kiley Reid publishes.

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

Please don’t come for me but I was bored the whole time I was listening to the audiobook. But classics do that to me!!! It definitely does NOT denote the importance of this work in Black/LGBTQIA+/classic literature.

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

This one was fine, but the characters were underdeveloped and things happened prettily conveniently to keep the plot going. A good spooky book for those who don’t like spooky (me!) but not a standout.

Our Italian Summer by Jennifer Probst

This is an ARC I got to review for Booklist, so when that review is available I will post it here. This is about a three generations of women who visit Italy to try to reconnect.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

This is my second Colson Whitehead that I have read this year (having previously read The Nickel Boys) and he will definitely be an author that I continue to check out. Whitehead is very skilled at writing compelling prose and dialogue in such a succinct manner. The Underground Railroad follows Cora, an escaped slave, as she attempts to travel to safety on The Underground Railroad that turns out to be an actual railroad.

Chief Joy Officer: How Great Leaders Elevate Human Energy & Eliminate Fear by Richard Sheridan

This was my professional development read for the month. This was good but repetitive. Sheridan works in a different field than I do (software company vs. public library) so some of his suggestions are not super applicable to what I can do at this time. The main gist I got from this (which I get from a lot of leadership books) is essentially don’t be an asshole.

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones

This is a slim memoir on Jones’s experience as a Black gay man in the United States. It is heartbreaking and an excellent listen on audiobook.

The Deep by Rivers Solomon

Ok this one was kind of a disappointment! I listened to this on audiobook because David Diggs (from Hamilton for the uncultured) narrates it, but he just did alright?? Instead of truly narrating, it sounded more like a recitation, and I just didn’t vibe with it. The story is captivating, about a community of merpeople that are descendants of pregnant African women thrown overboard from slave ships. This community has a historian who must bear the memories of the entire population, and the most recent historian, Yetu, decides they would rather not. Yetu then leaves the community and must deal with the consequences. The themes are important but repetitive. I would check something else out by this author though!

The Stone Sky (Broken Earth #3) by N.K. Jemisin

I don’t want to say too much since this is the finale of a series but here are some thoughts:

1) The series as a whole is A+. There is a reason Jemisin won a Hugo for each one.

2) I will read anything N.K. Jemisin writes.

3) Some parts of this novel went over my head and therefore I felt a little disconnected from the story, but overall I enjoyed this finale.

Bluebird, Bluebird (Highway 59 #1) by Attica Locke

This is the first in a series about a Black Texas Ranger named Darren Matthews who is investigating a potential racially motivated double homicide in a small Texas town. It was a solid mystery and I am looking forward to following Matthews to his next case.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

This is a short novel about a woman who starts to find the deaths of her sister’s boyfriends suspicious. Her sister claims self defense, but when the third one shows up dead with knife wounds in the back, Korede starts to wonder what’s really going on. And when Ayoola gets caught up with a man Korede has feelings for, she wonders if it’s finally time to turn her sister in. This one packs a solid punch and was definitely a fun read. Weird to say about a serial killer novel, I know.

The Empress of Salt & Fortune (The Singing Hills Cycle #1) by Nghi Vo

A well written novella about a cleric who listens and records the story of a handmaiden who served an exiled empress. Short and interesting, but nothing that really stood out to me. I will be checking out the next one in the series though.

Call Me American: the Extraordinary True Story of a Young Somali Immigrant by Abdi Nor Often

This is a remarkable story about Abdi Nor Iftin, who dreams of going to the United States, but that dream seems out of reach when him and his family gets caught up in the Somali Civil War. Abdi gets to the Unite States eventually, but it isn’t necessarily the United States he had been dreaming of. An incredible look into an immigrant life. The writing was a little simplified, but the impact of the story still comes across.

So that’s what I read! Definitely the most I’ve read in a month this year and lots of good stuff read. Let me know what you read in the comments below!

Until next time,

Readathon, TBR

My Nonfiction November TBR, part 2!

In my last post I mentioned I had a long list of books I want to read for Nonfiction November, and I’m here with the rest of that list! As mentioned previously, the prompts for Nonfiction November this year are: time, movement, buzz and discovery, so in this post I’ll be talking about the books I have picked out for buzz and discovery!

Buzz

For this prompt I interpreted it as either the content is buzzy or these books created a lot of buzz when they came out.

Women doing it for themselves seems to cause a lot of buzz but we love to see it.
Both the content and the book have a lot of buzz around them.
This one was super hyped when it came out. Therapists need to talk too!
I enjoyed the documentary on Elizabeth Holmes (called The Inventor) so I wanted to check out the buzzy book it was based on.

Discovery

This one was harder to find books for but here are a couple!

Interesting subject? Check. Has the word discovery in the title? Check. Fulfills my “Read A-Z” challenge? Check.
Searching tends to lead to discovery so we’re going with it. But also warrior women!

So those are the books that I want to read for Nonfiction November! I do have other nonfiction titles on hold at the library, mostly nonfiction graphic novels that I’ve been meaning to get to. Will I read all of the books I mentioned in part 1 or 2? Probably not. But it will be fun to try!

Are you participating in Nonfiction November? What do you plan on reading? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Readathon, TBR

My Nonfiction November 2020 TBR, pt. 1

Ok friends, one of my FAVORITE reading months throughout the year, if not my ABSOLUTE favorite, is Nonfiction November. Now, do I read nonfiction throughout the year? Of course. The magic about Nonfiction November is that 1) I devote the whole month to nonfiction and 2) the prompts that Olive from A Book Olive devises.

Now the prompts are just to help guide your nonfiction selections, should you so choose. But you definitely can choose not to follow the prompts and just read whatever nonfiction you want. You can read a minimum of one nonfiction book, because the goal is just to read more nonfiction than you normally would! Hence my devoting a whole month to the genre because I don’t do that otherwise throughout the year.

So, the prompts fo this year’s Nonfiction November are: time, movement, buzz, and discovery. You can interpret these prompts however you want. I like to try to find books with the words in the title that are already on my radar. Most of the books I’ve chosen have followed that, but some of them are just loose interpretations of the prompts.

Because I don’t want this post to be obnoxiously long, I will talk about 2 of the prompts in this post and then the other 2 prompts in a follow up post. I definitely do not think I will get to all of the books I’ve picked out (and have put on hold at the library), but I wanted to have a variety! So here we go.

Time

For this prompt I tried to find titles with the word “time” in them. Here’s what I found!

Goodreads describes this as a collection of essays about a Cuban refugee growing up in Miami. I want to raise my awareness of immigrant stories and this one has a pretty high rating.
Stacey Abrams spoke at the Public Library Association conference I attended before the world stopped so this one is definitely imprinted on my mind. But also it’s Stacey Abrams so of course I should read it.
I have not read nearly enough graphic novels this year so trying to rectify that with this nonfiction graphic novel about the historic Apollo Theater.

Movement

For this one I again tried to find titles that had the word “movement” in them. Subtitles count!

I don’t know anything about art but it’s about women and it had “movement” in the title so I’m here for it.
It’s about the #MeToo movement so enough said.
Gun violence is still very much relevant, although I probably should have read this when it initially came out.
This one is very much priority because 1) it’s a *spoiler* carry over from my October TBR (my hold hasn’t come in yet but I’m next in line!) and 2) Black feminism.

So those are the titles I’ve got on hold from the library for time and movement. I’ve also got some nonfiction on my physical TBR shelf that I may use. Like I said, I know I definitely won’t get to all of them but it’s nice to have options!

Are you participating in Nonfiction November? Are you a big nonfiction reader? Let me know any nonfiction you would recommend in the comments. And stay tuned for my buzz and discovery potential reads!

Until next time!

Wrap-Up

September 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

In September I read 11 books, which ties with July for the most books read in a month so far in 2020. I did have a week off work in September so I’m sure that helped. Here are the books I read!

A Girl’s Guide to Missiles: Growing Up In America’s Secret Desert by Karen Piper

I read this one for a committee I’m on at work. This is a memoir about the author’s childhood spent on the China Lake missile range where both of her parents worked on missiles. It was interesting because it’s not every day you grow up on a missile range, but the narrative dragged at times and was also disorganized.

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

A Bookstagrammer (@Iansreads) I follow was hosting a readalong for this one, and I had an old ARC (advanced review copy) of it so I figured the readalong was a perfect time to read it. This follows an Indian family who has immigrated to the US in like the late 80s/early 90s and is mostly told from the point of view of Hadia and her younger brother Amar. Themes include immigration, family dynamics and finding your individuality and your own voice. I listened to it on audiobook for the most part and liked it, but I thought it moved too slowly for my taste.

Lies In White Dresses by Sofia Grant

This is another book I had to read for the committee I’m on at work. It’s a historical fiction about “the Reno cure”, which was when women in the 1940s & 1950s would go to Reno, Nevada to get a fast divorce. You follow two characters who are on their way to Reno to get a divorce. It was an easy read but pretty forgettable.

Freshwater by Awaeke Emezi

This was my second book by Akwaeke Emezi. I read their young adult novel Pet earlier this year and loved it so I knew I wanted to check out their debut novel. Freshwater is about Ada, a Nigerian woman who experiences having a fractured self. You’ll have to read the novel to find out the why, but trigger warning for rape, self-harm, and eating disorders. I really enjoyed this one as well and am so impressed with the power Emezi can wield with their prose in such few pages.

The Dark Library by Cyrille Martinez

This is an eARC I received for review for Booklist, so when that review is available I will post it here. This is a very short novel (less than 200 pages) about readers and libraries that features anthropomorphic books. The book is due to be published on October 20th.

Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes

This is a book I picked up for 2 reasons: it fit the prompt (read a young adult book by a female author) for the September meeting of one of the book groups I’m in, and it was featured as a title for the YALSA Hub Challenge. This is Nikki’s memoir of her childhood and teen years written in poetry. I appreciate the vulnerability Nikki shared and I liked the audiobook because Nikki reads it. But I’m finding the more I read it that I just do not vibe with poetry (unless it’s Elizabeth Acevedo) so I didn’t love this one.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The same Bookstagrammer who hosted a readalong for A Place For Us also hosted one for Americanah, so I thought that was the perfect time to pick this one up. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a lauded author and this is probably her best known novel. It follows Nigerian students Ifemelu and Obinze who meet in primary school and fall in love but then go their separate ways for college. You then follow the paths they take for like the next decade. I really liked this one but thought it was too long. I will say that a lot of commentary made about being Black in America in 2013 (when the book was published) is still very much relevant today.

The Three Signs of a Miserable Job by Patrick Lencioni

This was the book for the September meeting of a small supervisor book group I’m in for work. This is my second Patrick Lencioni and I like how accessible his writing is. This book wasn’t mind blowing but it does give solid advice.

Waiting For the Night Song by Julie Carrick Dalton

This is another eARC sent to me by Booklist for review. It’s a debut novel about a woman who’s been running from her past, but gets called back home because of the discovery of a dead body. It is also features themes on immigration and environmentalism and is set to publish on January 12, 2021.

What If I Say the Wrong Thing? 25 Habits For Culturally Effective People by Verna A. Myers

I picked this up because I want to be a better ally. This is has a lot of good tips and advice, and while I think individuals can definitely read this (obviously I did), it did seem like it was written as more of a tool for organizations or groups to use.

The Obelisk Gate (Broken Earth #2) by N.K. Jemisin

I started reading The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin in August and am obsessed. I knew Jemisin was an amazing writer because I had read her short story collection How Long ’til Black Future Month and loved it so I was like give me more. And so far this trilogy does not disappoint! The writing is just *chef’s kiss*. I can’t say too much about The Obelisk Gate since it’s the second in a series but just know you should read it.

So how did your reading go in September? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Let me know! For my actual star ratings on these books or more information on them, make sure to follow me on Goodreads!

Until next time!

Readathon, TBR

My 2020 Black-Oween-Athon TBR

It’s almost October! We’re going to ignore the fact that I haven’t updated this blog in more than 6 months, right? Thank you.

So…it’s almost October! Time to get spooky and read spooky. Now, I’m not really a fan of spooky/horror reads, so I had no plans to read spooky. But I still wanted to participate in a readathon this month, and lucky for me there are tons to choose from! The one I am going to participate in for October is Black-Oween-Athon, which was created by Bre, aka Loc’D Booktician (check out her announcement video here).

The purpose of this readathon is to shine the light on Black authors who write speculative fiction as well as other genres, which is definitely something that I can get behind! Reading diversely has been a consistent goal of mine but I will never say no to adding a fun twist to that goal. Below is my currently planned TBR for this readathon. These may change depending on whether I can get ahold of a copy, but for now this is what I’m going with.

A fantasy novel by a Black author

I’m almost finished with the second book in this trilogy, so I might as well finish it out! Ps. This series is REALLY good.
A book by a Black trans, queer, or non-binary author
I have heard nothing but good things about this one.

A book that features Black mermaids/sirens

Again, I’ve heard nothing but good things. Also, it’s apparently inspired by a song? So that’s cool.

A mystery book by a Black author

Ok, so mystery/thrillers aren’t normally my jam, but this discusses race and justice & all of my Goodreads friends who have read it said it was good, so I’m feeling like I will like it too.

A historical fiction novel by a Black author

I read Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys earlier this year (which I definitely recommend) so I knew I had to add this to the list.

A thriller by a Black author

Again, this is one I’ve heard good things about. And what’s more thrilling than a serial killer?

A book that discusses intersectionality by a Black author

It’s a book that discusses feminism, so duh.

A book that includes a Black witch

I mean, that cover.

Read a book by an underrated Black author

I got an ARC of this at the Public Library Association conference back in February which is how this is on my radar but have not really heard anyone else talking about it.

Read Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

A classic.

So this is my current reading list for Black-Oween-Athon! Most of these books have been on my radar so I’m excited to finally get to them. Let’s hope they’re as good as I think they’re going to be!

Are you participating in any readathons in October? What are your reading plans? Let me know!

Happy reading!