This has been a book-filled year for me. I wrote in August about reaching my first reading goal of 52 books for the year. Since then, I’ve read 30 more, for a total of 82. Most were good (above 3/5 stars) and I noticed I tended toward nonfiction. This year, Frank and I also worked on our reading challenge. We each read 5 of the 6 assigned books – I blame the move on the slow-down in December… (I did start the last book yesterday, so I’m counting it for the challenge, even though I’ll finish in January.) We both agreed that it was a good experiment, but 6 seemed too many. I think in the future, we’ll pick one book per year.
I don’t think I’ll do a numeric goal for next year. It was interesting to actually track what I read but I don’t know if it’s worth doing every year. I think next year, I’m going to try to read off our own shelves more. As I’ve been unpacking, I notice a lot of books that I haven’t read – usually because they belong to Frank, but there are a few I’ve bought over the years and just never got around to. I think I’d like to focus on those in the coming year.
Looking at my last 30 books, only 6 were rated 5-stars. They were all thought-provoking reads that I’d highly recommend. I thought I’d highlight the top three:
The Second Amendment: A Biography by Michael Waldman
Wherever you land on the gun control/gun rights spectrum, this is a fascinating read about how we interpret the Constitution. It’s actually more about the politics of the Supreme Court, and Waldman uses the Second Amendment as his starting point. It made me question my own biases and how I came by them.
The Teacher Wars by Dana Goldstein
Obviously as a former teacher, I have a higher interest level in this topic. However, Goldstein really delves into the stereotypes of teachers, why we are averse to increasing teacher salaries, and the role of unions and tenure throughout the history of the profession. Anyone who has any opinions about America’s education system should start here for some interesting background into how we have so politicized this profession.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
I had read An Untamed State by Gay earlier this year. The subject was highly uncomfortable but she wrote with such strength and courage I couldn’t put the book down. After finishing it, I looked into other works by her and have been on hold for Bad Feminist for a few months. It was worth the wait! Gay addresses feminism, racism, and privilege through the lens of the cultural norms and stereotypes that surround these issues. It is a very timely series of essays and Gay’s honesty is tempered with humor. I’m thinking of buying this one so I can reread it.
What about you? What were some of your favorite reads this year?