I guess I’m sometimes into memes, but I also dropped the ball (no, not really) because I was too busy enjoying my actual real vacation that lasted more than three days, so I’m not putting this out until January, instead of all the other folks who do this at the end of the year. Anyway, I am not a wealthy person, nor am I generally speaking a person who does gifts for the holidays. But I do like gifting things to people I love when I think it’s something they will love, so this is my virtual basket of gifts for my favorite people.
So: The Best Stuff of Last Year for You to Try This Year: Mind Edition.
I read a lot of books last year and they were pretty firmly divided into AMAZEBALLS and mehwasteoftime, with very little in between. Here’s the good shit that I want to give you all. Some of it is obvious, so I’m going to seem like some basic bitch who just reads the trendy stuff, but you all should know by now that that’s not true. Mostly. Sometimes the correct stuff is popular, as is the case with a few of my picks.
- Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (IndieBound): This collection is amazing. Roxane Gay knows her way around some media criticism and some critical race theory. Everyone needs to read this, regardless of gender or race. But especially my fellow ladies and women of color.
- The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton (IndieBound): It was really fucking beautiful and next to perfect, barring some problematic things, okay? The end. I already wrote about it in this post. And I may be interviewing Walton for YALSA’s The Hub in the future, so stay tuned.
- Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero (IndieBound): Another book I already wrote a post about. I want to give this book to everyone because it is a fantastic entry into the future classics of YA realism, and that’s not just because it’s well written. It’s also because it’s body-positive, feminist, and diverse in its depictions of class, race, and ethnicity.
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (IndieBound): Beyond just well written, popular, and diverse, this book is also a great gift for my fellow Millennial ladies because it’s so good at internet and social commentary, which is something we are really great at. If you like getting meta with your books and having blogs in them, you should read this one.
- Dirty Wings by Sarah McCarry (IndieBound): This is another gift for you all that’s really just about enjoying yourself. In some ways, this book is the literary equivalent of a spa day – you get to indulge in beautiful writing. But it’s also amazingly progressive in that it’s a female road trip narrative, and the feminisms in it are fantastic, because these girls do whatever the fuck they want and they don’t apologize.
- Princeless by Jeremy Whitley: What do we need? Princesses of color. Superheroines of color. This book hits both of those out of the water in the way we always wanted it to – by putting it firmly into the Americanized version of these narratives we’re used to seeing with white characters.
- Never Have I Ever by Katie Heaney (IndieBound): Oh, another book I already wrote a long post about because I loved it so much! Funny how that happens. Anyway, this is a gift to the girls just like me. It’s also for the bitches with boyfriends who tell us it will happen, who tell us we’re lucky to be single, or who tell us we’re too picky, because all of that is bullshit and patronizing. Be strong. Katie is. But vulnerable, too.
- How to Be a Heroine, or, What I’ve Learned From Reading Too Much (IndieBound) by Samantha Ellis: Technically I finished this a few hours into 2015, but no matter. This is a love letter to a literature and a love letter to girls who love literature, and that’s why I want to give it to everyone. Also, points for liking all types of books, not being yet another person who claims that Jane Austen is their favorite author.