I know the words I choose to read and write matter. I’m not surprised about yesterday, but I am disgusted, pissed, and tired. And I know there is no way I am as exhausted as many others no matter how I felt this morning. In times of trauma and stress, I generally turn to reading. Last year, my goal was to find better understanding of the current world.
Below are a few of the titles that I read last year (there were over 200 due to the pandemic keeping me at home). I feel these books helped me to better understand, even if they could not adequately prepare me for (or help to prevent) yesterday. They are listed alphabetically by the author’s last name followed by, in parenthesis, when I read it.
Yes, you’ll see one title I finished this year, if I’d stayed up later last Thursday night, I may have completed it in December.
- Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America by Stacey Abrams (September 2020)
- American While Black: African Americans, Immigration, and the Limits of Citizenship by Niambi Michele Carter (June 2020)
- The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic That Shaped Our History by Molly Caldwell Crosby (April 2020)
- Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals by Saidiya Hartman (August 2020)
- Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design by Kat Holmes (June 2020)
- The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel A. van der Kolk (February 2020)
- Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot (September 2020)
- Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo (Dec 2020)
- The Torture Letters: Reckoning with Police Violence by Laurence Ralph (June 2020)
- Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad (February 2020)
- How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them by Jason Stanley (January 2021)
- The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout (April 2020)
- The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom by Helen Thorpe (January 2020)
- No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg (January 2020)
If you are looking for additional resources, the website/app Your Black Friends Are Busy has a range of books, videos, audio files, and more.
Last year, I also read fiction by diverse writers with a range of plots, settings, and characters. Below are a few of the books that I enjoyed and provided moments of mental escape. For the most part, I’ve not included the series with multiple volumes or anthologies nor those about an apocalypse or zombies. They will get their own post in time. Each made me think. Again, the list is alphabetical by the author’s last name with date I read it listed after in parenthesis.
- The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Oct 2020)
- The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde (Oct 2020)
- A Plague of Giants (Seven Kennings #1) & A Blight of Blackwings (Seven Kennings, #2) by Kevin Hearne (Jan 2020)
- The City We Became (Great Cities #1) by N.K. Jemisin (April 2020)
- Qualityland by Marc-Uwe Kling (Feb 2020)
- The Tiger Flu by Larissa Lai (May 2020)
- The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg (Dec 2020)
- Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli (October 2020)
- Waste Tide by Chen Qiufan, Ken Liu (Translator) (Feb 2020)
- Middlegame by Seanan McGuire (March 2020)
- Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi (September 2020)
- Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin (May 2020)
- Heavy Weather by Bruce Sterling (Dec 2020)
Yesterday was not normal and we cannot accept it as such. If that weren’t enough there is still an ongoing global pandemic and the virus is still spreading rapidly. Please, stay home as much as you can. Wear a mask and social distance when outside your home. As soon as you are able, get the vaccine. Stay safe!