I realize we’re now over a month into 2020, but I still wanted to take a few minutes and look back on some of my favorite reads in 2019. I didn’t read as many books in 2019 as in previous years, but honestly, I’m okay with that. It’s not about the quantity, it’s about the quality! The books I read last year really reflect the political climate of America today, and what I’ve made a priority in my life.
I can’t really pinpoint one specific book that I read last year as my “favorite,” but here are my top choices.
- Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister. Women are angry – and rightfully so. But this is nothing new! Traister’s book takes a look at how angry women have pushed for change throughout history, and make revolutionary movements happen because of their anger and frustration. If you’re not angry, you’re not alive.
- Becoming by Michelle Obama. I’m not usually a big one for autobiographies, but I heard so many great reviews and had to read this one. An interesting look at the life story of a prominent woman in recent American history, through her own words.
- Educated by Tara Westover. This was another one of those books that I’d heard so much about, I felt I just had to read it. Honestly… it made me really angry. Some of the moments described in this book seemed like straight-up child abuse and neglect to me, and it made me angry and frustrated. Brainwashing, gaslighting, emotional and physical abuse. Ugh!
- The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen. Dessen is one of my all-time favorite YA authors, so I knew I had to pick this one up. It’s light and easy enough of a read and I enjoyed it well enough.
- In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero. I picked this one up because I adore Guerrero’s character in Jane the Virgin, and this book sounded like something I’d be interested in. It was a haunting, honest, deep written account of Guerrero’s life as part of a family of undocumented immigrants. In today’s America, it is so important that we read these stories.
- We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults by Susan Kuklin. This book was quite heavy to read, if I’m being honest – but it’s important, and I recommend everyone give it a chance.
- The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates. I actually read part of this book, and listened to the rest. It’s a good, inspiring read about Gates’ work to help empower women throughout the world, partly through offering things like birth control (which may not be the first thing most people think of!) With that said, I do think it’s important to recognize that Gates comes from a place of privilege, but she seems to be working actively to help others and share her wealth and knowledge.
- The Selfie Generation: How Our Self-Images Are Changing Our Notions of Privacy, Sex, Consent, and Culture by Alicia Eler. There was a *lot* to this book, but the title caught my eye and I couldn’t put it down.
- Nevertheless, We Persisted: 48 Voices of Defiance, Strength, and Courage. This book is filled with essays from activists, politicians, etc. Again, it’s an important read, especially in America’s current political climate.
- The Vagina Bible: The Vulva and the Vagina—Separating the Myth from the Medicine by Jennifer Gunter. Was I a little embarrassed to request this book at my local library? Yes… but I think that perfectly reflects society’s embarrassment when it comes to talking about women’s bodies! I follow Gunter on Twitter and she is refreshingly honest and open and knowledgeable. Although much of this book doesn’t apply to me (topics covered include pregnancy, STDs and menopause), it’s also a great primer on a woman’s body and I honestly learned *so* much.