Top 5 Tuesday: Books I’m Glad I Read in 2020

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly book discussion with a new topic every Tuesday hosted by Meeghan of Meeghan Reads. It’s each blogger’s job to pick five book-related things (though you’re welcome to pick things from other media, if necessary) that fit the topic.

Today’s topic is books you’re glad you read. These can be books you read in 2020 or books you’ve read in past years. I’m going to focus on books I read in 2020 because we could really use some positivity this year. Some of these books educated me, while others introduced me to new favorite authors. Others still gave me a sense of accomplishment in reading them. Whatever the reason, I’m really glad I read these five books this year. And yes, this is a day late. Just roll with it.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

I’ve read several N.K. Jemisin books this year, but this was the first. It introduced me to my new favorite author, so obviously I’m glad I read it! In past years, I’ve had a specific book that I recommended to everyone all year long. This year I had an author. Everything Jemisin writes is absolute genius. She’s a 3-time Hugo-award winning author for a reason, guys! 3 years in a row! For an entire series! No one else has done that! It’s historic! If you haven’t read anything by N.K. Jemisin yet, I highly, highly recommend you do.

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

As awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement rose to unprecedented and wonderful heights this summer, I took the opportunity to begin educating myself on the oppression Black people face and how to help make a difference. This book has been a huge part of that education. Kendi explains how for true racial equality, we must have equity. He also explores how racism affects and intersects with other identities, such as gender, class, & sexual orientation. Kendi clearly shows why it’s not enough to simply not be racist— we must be antiracist. I’m so glad I read this book and am eager to continue my education.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Honestly, I found this book to be just okay. It has the distinct vibe that the writer wants to make you cry, so she gives the central character the worst life imaginable. So why am I glad I read it? Because it’s long and dense and intimidating, but I finished it. That proves to me that I can tackle other books that I’ve been scared to dive into (looking at you, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell). If I can read this, I can read anything!

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Confession: I originally started this book in early 2017. I remember it clearly because it was shortly after I first started my Goodreads account and a few months before I started this blog. I put it on pause to read other things and then… never went back. But I always meant to. This year, I finally did! I’m glad I read it for 2 reasons: 1.) I enjoyed it and 2.) I finally finished a book I’d been meaning to finish for three years. I plan on continuing the series. Here’s hoping this time it doesn’t take me years to do it!

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

Not only am I glad to have read this because it’s the best memoir I’ve read yet, but because it hit me in a personal way. As a lesbian, it was important for me to read Machado’s story about being in an abusive relationship with another woman. Domestic abuse is often an unspoken aspect of queer relationships; it’s not exclusive to heterosexual relationships, no matter what we pretend. I appreciated the reminder of signs to look out for, as well as the vulnerability Machado showed in sharing her story. As I dive headfirst into the dating scene, it’s important I keep this in mind. Hopefully though, any future relationship I have is nothing but domestic bliss.

What are some books you’re glad you read this year? Tell me about them in the comments!

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