Hi gals and pals, I hope all is well! Last year, I wrote mini reviews for all the books I read to push myself to review all the books I read. I then posted those reviews every four months in a bit of a wrap-up. So that’s what we’re doing today!
The first couple months of the year were great reading months for me, so I decided to split these posts into nonfiction and fiction, so they aren’t too long. So here are the nonfiction books I read in the first few months of this year!
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado: 5 stars
I don’t have much to say about this book that hasn’t already been said. It was so well-written and so interesting. It was heartbreaking yet hopeful. Telling Machado’s story through literary tropes and devices was so good, and it worked so well. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Y. Davis: 4 stars
I really, really enjoyed this book. It discusses how the conflict in Palestine and the BLM protests are fighting the same fight: prison abolition. It was super informative, and put things in a new light for me. Dr. Davis narrates the audiobook, which was great as well. My biggest complaint was that it got repetitive; it’s a compilation of her talks on this topic, and the talks are only so different. But, I definitely think this is worth a read/listen.
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho: 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book! It’s definitely a book about Black people written for white people, and Acho does a really great job breaking down a bunch of different topics. Acho does a great job going through the historical contexts of the topics he discusses and how they have a lasting impact. I’ve read a couple race-related books in the past year, and still managed to learn a ton from this book. So I’d definitely recommend it if you have a well-meaning but uneducated white person in your life, or if you want more knowledge on the topic.
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown: 5 stars
I watched Brené Brown’s Netflix special a couple of summers ago, and as cheesy as it is, it literally changed my life. So I had to read the book, and I’m glad I did. I’ll be honest though: if you watch the Netflix special, you’ll get the gist of everything in this book. The book goes into everything deeper, obviously, but the main points are the same. If you’re skeptical of self help (same), I’d highly recommend this one. I love Brown’s analysis, and this book is a good reminder to myself.
Night by Elie Wiesel: unrated
I’m not sure how to rate this, or what to say that hasn’t been said. It was really well-written and translated. It was hard to read, but important to remember. The version of the audiobook I listened to had a couple extras at the end, like Wiesel’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech and an explanation as to why it was re-translated, which I also enjoyed. I’m glad to have read it, but I likely won’t be rereading it.
We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates: 4 stars
Like all collections, I enjoyed some essays in this book more than others. The stronger ones are definitely the later ones, particularly years 6 and 7, and you can definitely see Coates’ writing develop and become stronger. His writing is really great, though, and he discusses a ton of important topics. My biggest complaint is the format of the book: it’s essentially a collection of essays, all prefaced with a blog post explaining the context of the essays. While I appreciated these blog posts and thought the context was important for most of the essays, I also found them often unnecessarily long. Overall, I’d definitely recommend the essays in this collection
(which can be found free online just saying).
They Said This Would be Fun by Eternity Martis: 4 stars
This is Martis’s recount of her time at Western University in London, Ontario, a very white university and city, as a Black woman. It was really interesting and well-written. The stories Martis tells highlight different microaggressions and sometimes all-out racism, as well as the struggles of people of colour on university campuses. I liked the exploration of her different relationships and friendships and the complexities of those relationships. My biggest issue with this book is that I don’t necessarily know what the intended point was, which sounds harsher than I mean. It’s not a book on theory, but I think it’s also not a book one could read without an already decent understanding of racism. I think that as at starting point for understanding racism, it would fail its readers. But at the same time, it was relatively basic for people who have read race theory, or have an understanding of racism. BUT I would still definitely recommend it. It’s well-written, entertaining, genuinely funny in some places, and I think highly relatable to a lot of people. I’m glad to have read it.
So there are my mini reviews on my first few nonfiction reads of the year! Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? What nonfiction have you read this year? Let me know!