Stand Out Books For The Year So Far

Where is the year going?!!! I feel like I just did a post about my favourite books for 2018, how am I doing a wrap up for the first half of the year already?!! My bookish goal for this year is to read 120 books as opposed to the 200 I have read in 2019. I wanted to focus more on the quality of books I read than the quantity, so I am taking my time with the selection of books and how fast I get through them.

So far I have read 75 books and in putting together this list I wanted to talk about the ones that were absolute standouts. There are some books that after you close them they get shelved deep inside your soul, and there are others that get shelved on Goodreads, forever to be forgotten. I wanted to put together a list of  those that you absolutely cannot stop talking about, quoting and making references to. The kind of books that changed you. I have read 75 books since the start of 2019, here are the ones I cannot seem to shake here.

 

 

  1. Rising Strong by Brene Brown

I read Rising Strong in January and this is the perfect read to kick off the year. Brene Brown gets to the heart of recovering from a set back or a disappointment and shows you how to continue your path, living wholeheartedly. In Rising Strong you get some practical tips on how you can live a wholehearted life and that is what I loved most about this book. I will forever keep recommending this book- we all go through setbacks but Brene Brown shows us how we can rise strong.

 

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  1. Well-Read Black Girl: Find our Stories, Discovering ourselves by Glory Edim

What a brilliant collection of essays by black women. I love books about books, readers and writers and Well-Read Black Girl covered all three. I admire so many of the writers who contributed to this collection, it is no wonder I devoured this book because I wanted to know more about them and who influenced their writing. This book reminded my why I love reading and that makes me warm and fuzzy on the inside. As one writer said, “Being a reader is an incredible gift, providing me with a lens to interpret the world.”

This is the perfect collection for any Well Read Black Girl.

 

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  1. What we Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons is raw, profound, deeply moving and will in some instances leave you gutted. The book, explores mother-daughter relationship, grief, friendship, loss and racial tension in America and South Africa. There is so much going on in these few pages but Clemmons is able to address them in the most moving way.

I am generally not a fan of non-linear novels but because I read it in two sittings it wasn’t as jarring. Clemmons doesn’t use a lot of words to get her point across or move the plot along. The writing is arresting and I still cannot shake how profoundly moving this book is. I cannot wait to hear more from Clemmons.

 

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  1. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

If you’ve watched “When They See Us” then picking up Just Mercy should be your next step. Absolutely nothing could prepare for the range of emotions I went through reading this book. Bryan Stevenson writes about a system so broken it will literally bring you to tears of frustration- I sure cried reading his account. Not only was I sad, I was f*cking enraged. Reading some of the statistics put forward in the book is enough to make your blood boil. I consider this required reading, I read this in January and I am still shook by some of the information Stevenson shared, for example:

Florida had the largest population in the world of children condemned to die in prison for non-homicides.

Honestly, we cannot keep looking away. Please read.

 

 

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  1. The Same Earth by Kei Miller

This is my second book by Kei Miller and I was not disappointed. I think Miller’s style of writing is colorful, engaging and captures Jamaica and Jamaicans perfectly. In Same Earth Kei Miller really gives an in-depth look into what it is like to leave a small village and immigrate to a first world.  Kei Miller is the master of backstories and he weaves them together in an interesting way and that is what I loved most about this read. A great introduction to Caribbean literature if you are looking to start reading Caribbean.

 

 

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  1. Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Silent Patient did it for me, I am beyond impress with this book. I feel like there are so many books out there that are dubbed “psychological thriller” that is not thrilling in the least. Silent Patience however, lived up to ALL the hype and trust me, the hype was REAL.

Honestly, this book worked on so many levels. The premise from the get-go had me hooked, I just could not understand why the main character would not speak. Also, the narration from Faber’s perspective pulled me in from the very first line. There is something about a first person POV that does it for me. The last time I was blown away by a psychological thriller was when I read Gone Girl.  Alex Michaelides is either one excellent writer or he needs help.  Un-put-down-able. I HIGHLY recommend this book!

 

 

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  1. The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

Sara Collins did an amazing job with this debut novel. This book covers so many different themes in a new and refreshing way and I think that is what I loved most about the book. I have read a lot of books that covers the plantation and slavery experience, but I have never read a book where the main enslaved character was an apprentice to the Master who is a scientist. I specifically loved how Collins addressed the boredom of white women and the impact it had on the lives of those around them.

I highly recommend this spectacular debut novel by Sara Collins. If you are looking for a book that will immerse you, leave you feeling “some type of way” and a character that will no shake, this is the book for you.

 

 

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  1. Dear Ijeawele: or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimanada Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie childhood friend who recently had a baby girl wrote to her asking for advice on how to raise her daughter to be a feminist. Dear Ijeawele; 0r a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions is what Adichie wrote in response and what a beautiful response it was. The advice contained in this manifesto is real, honest, practical, filled with love and a necessary read for all.

While reading this book I couldn’t help but think, EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK . So many things we take for granted were covered in this book. This is a book I will keep revisiting and it is a book I want every single young girl to read.

 

 

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  1. All the Rage: Mothers, Fathers, and the Myth of Equal Partnership by Darcy Lockman

“….women who work outside of the home shoulder 65 percent of child care responsibilities and their male partners 35 per cent. Those percentages have held steady since the year 2000. In the last twenty years, that figure has not budged… “

It is the year 2019 and women are still shouldering 65% child care responsibilities. On one hand I am not shocked because women tend to do a lot on the other hand it is sad that this is what is currently happening. I read this book in shock and awe. A lot of the women who were interviewed holds a lot of resentment towards their spouse because of their “inability” to help out around the house or with child care.

For some reason, reading this book enraged me. Most of the mothers said they got little help from the fathers even though they were doing a lot already. Something to note is that majority of these women held down full time jobs outside of the home. While some fathers held down the home and child care responsibilities, they were few and far between.

A must read, especially for couples who are considering having children. Forewarned is forearmed.

 

 

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  1. Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

“Tragedies don’t inoculate you against further tragedies, and misfortune doesn’t get sprinkled out in fair proportions; bad things get hurled at you in clumps and batches, unmanageable and messy.”

What a stunning debut by Angie Kim! If you have been living under a rock, I am here to tell you Miracle Creek is a must read for the year so far. Kim weaves a tangled web and I was here for every single one of it. If you are looking for mystery and complex characters, this is a book I highly recommend. If you have to read one book on this list, this is it!

 

 

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11. FINISH: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff 

“According to studies, 92 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. But though 100 percent start, only 8 percent finish. Statistically you’ve got the same shot at getting into Juilliard to become a ballerina as you do at finishing your goals. Their acceptance rate is about 8 percent, tiny dancer.” 

This entire book spoke to me on such a higher level. The title alone had me going Finish: Give Yourself The Gift of DONE , I mean, who doesn’t want to have the gift of done? I am a serial starter, I always ready to go begin something. I have had so many firsts/day ones…. but I can hardly remember the finish or getting to the end. This book is EXACTLY what I needed to read to get the second half of 2019 started.

While there might not be anything new explored in this book, especially if you read a lot of self-improvement books, what Jon Acuff does is get to the heart of WHY we don’t finish what we start. Why we don’t finish can be summed up in one word Perfection . According to Jon Acuff developing tolerance for imperfection is the key factor in turning chronic starters into consistent finishers. . This blew my mind, cause I have been letting perfection get in the way of me finishing goals. If I mess up, I decide I need to quit and start over… on a Monday of course….

If you have been having problems finishing, I HIGHLY recommend you give this book a read. It offers practical ways for you to get over those finish lines.

 

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There you have it, my stand out reads for the year so far! If you are looking for a place to start reading this year, this list is it.

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May-July 2019: Why Caribbean Women?

Kauai, Hawaii