Everything I Read In Fall 2020
December 3, 2020 / Books
This Book Is Anti-Racist
I picked up this book as part of a community event hosted by my local library, and while it is written as a Juvenile/Young Adult read, I learned a lot. This book is written to help young people talk about racism with the adults in their lives and presents the complex subject in bite-sized chunks throughout the 20 chapters.
This book will help you learn more about identities, true histories, and anti-racism work. It also will help give you the language and ability to understand racism and a drive to undo it. At 160 pages it is a quick read that is easy to understand, yet very informative. If you have a child in your life (or are looking to learn more yourself) this is a great starting point!
Final Score: 3/5 or B
Fiction / Historical Fiction
This book has been on my TBR pile for quite a while, and I kept choosing another title for one reason or another, but now that I’ve read it, I can’t believe I put it off for so long. This is an absolutely heartbreaking book about two sisters, that takes place during WWII.
“The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France—a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women.”
Of all the books I read this year, this is a must-read, in my opinion. It is absolutely stunning and will leave you reeling for days. Highly recommend!
Final Score: 5/5 or A
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
Written in response to the 2016 election, this short (126 page) guide offers readers lessons in surviving and resisting authoritarianism, from the perspective of historical events. Written by historical Timothy Snyder, this book chronicles the dark history of the twentieth century, to provide hope for the twenty-first.
“Twenty Lessons is a call to arms and a guide to resistance, with invaluable ideas for how we can preserve our freedoms in the uncertain years to come.”
I found this little guide to be an interesting look at our past, shared history, and a unique look at how we can collectively embrace our future. Insightful, educational, and worth picking up from your local library, if you have an interest in global history and how it often repeats itself.
Final Score: 3/5 or B-
Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
Non-Fiction / Memoir
Born a Crime is an excellent celebrity memoir that is equal parts hilarious and informative. Written by comedian Trevor Noah, this book takes a look at his childhood, growing up during the apartheid in South Africa. This was my first introduction to apartheid and I found it to be very educational.
Noah has an excellent writing style, with his trademark comedy sprinkled in. The stories in this book highlight both the racism he experienced and “it is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.”
There are many standout stories in this memoir and so many lessons, that you might miss if you are not paying attention. One of the better celebrity memoirs I have read! Definitely pick up the audiobook, narrated by Noah himself.
Final Score: 4/5 or A-
Fiction / Science Fiction
Authority is the second installment of the Southern Reach trilogy (the first being Annihilation, which later became a movie starring Natalie Portman). This novel picks up where the first one left off, however, it follows a new character and has a completely different point of view. The first book read like a survivalist novel, and this one is more like a spy/CIA novel.
To be honest, I was not blown away by this second book. While Annihilation was a novel concept, Authority really falls short of that standard. I kept wondering what I was supposed to get from this book but continued reading in hopes that I would find out (spoiler: I did not). I will likely read the third and final book (I am a completionist) but Authority did not leave me wanting more.
Final Score: 2/5 or C-
Behold The Dreamers
As an Oprah Book Club pick, I had high hopes for this highly reviewed novel about immigration and the “American Dream”. This novel takes place during the financial crisis and revolves around an immigrant and his wife, struggling to make ends meet and stay in America. When one gets a job working for a Lehman Brothers exec, they are introduced to the world of privilege, power, and secrets.
While I thought this book was really well written and has an important message (i.e. The American Dream), I found it difficult to get through. The story progressed slowly and in most ways, I anticipated how the plot would play out. It is an intriguing story, and worth a read, but it doesn’t top my list of faves.
Final Score: 3/5 or B+