Friends, welcome to my top ten books out of the 103 I read this year! Because I stopped posting the book reviews I write on this blog, I included a link to each book’s full review on Goodreads
to force you to get an account yourself. You will see lots of books about mental health as well as feminism, and I have to say, choosing between the top ~15 stellar works of nonfiction I read almost slayed me to bits. Now, without further ado:
Top 5: Fiction
5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. A chilling dystopian story in which women known as handmaids exist for the sole purpose of giving birth. With her signature deft prose, Atwood tackles themes of feminism, the power of language, reproductive justice, trauma, and more. For better or worse, a still-relevant classic. Full review here.
4. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. A dark and twisty young-adult novel about sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto, who wants to forget his past to find happiness. Adam Silvera addresses sexuality, race, mental health, and SES in this fantastic debut, wrapped up with a touch of science-fiction and a lot of heart. A depressing, redeeming book. Full review here.
3. Paperweight by Meg Haston. Gritty and unforgiving, Paperweight centers on seventeen-year-old Stevie, a young woman who finds herself trapped in an eating disorder treatment center in New Mexico. Meg Haston delivers several harsh truths in her raw debut, all pertaining to mental illness, family dynamics, and battle to recovery. Full review here.
2. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. Celeste Ng’s debut revolves around the Asian-American, mixed-race Lee family, whose eldest daughter Lydia dies at the book’s onset. Ng examines the brutal weight of familial expectations, the inter-generational effects of race and prejudice, and what it means to love after a horrifying loss. Full review here.
1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I slept with this book after I read it because I could not let its characters go. An exhilarating and exhausting exploration of the human mind and body after unspeakable abuse, and a true mediation on the merits of friendship. Compassionate, maddening, and hopeful, A Little Life slayed me. Full review here.
Top 5: Nonfiction
5. Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. A book that will change your relationship with food forever, Intuitive Eating focuses on eliminating dieting to get you back in touch with your body’s natural needs. I would recommend this well-researched, thoughtful book to anyone who has ever dieted or felt dissatisfied with their body. Full review here.
4. Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff. What does it mean to treat yourself with compassion? Kristin Neff answers this challenging question through the tenets of self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. Rife with research, insight, and relevant anecdotes, Self-Compassion will alter the way you act toward yourself, for the better. Full review here.
3. The Merry Recluse: A Life in Essays by Caroline Knapp. With great intellect and vulnerability, Caroline Knapp writes about a gamut of topics in this collection: her struggles with anorexia and alcoholism, her deep relationship with her dog, and her journey to find contentment in solitude. My favorite writer and my inspiration. Full review here.
2. Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Redfield Jamison. A renowned clinical psychologist and expert on bipolar disorder, Kay Redfield Jamison provides a thorough scientific and historical perspective on suicide. She writes with great urgency and understanding, and with courage she discusses her own attempt at the age of 28. Full review here.
1. The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison. A provocative essay collection about empathy, its strengths and its limits. With a clear and unique voice, Leslie Jamison analyzes a range of experiences, from dealing with phantom diseases to great personal loss, and she shares how we can become more kind, graceful, and humble humans. Full review here.
My honorable mentions in nonfiction go to Willow Weep For Me: a Black Woman’s Journey Through Depression by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah, Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship by Gail Caldwell, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog by Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz, and Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt.
Any books you recognize, agree or disagree with? What books did you enjoy the most this year, and which do you want to read in 2016? Hope everyone has a fabulous transition in 2016 and look forward to another post by the end of the week (a personal one, that will have to do with the in-construction resources page you see above)!
*also, all covers came from Goodreads, the best website ever, in my objective and unbiased opinion