2017 was a tumultuous year for politics, and when we looked back to determine our favorite books of the year, we realized what we read truly reflected that. We read mostly books written by women, people of color, and transgender people, and we’re better for it. Below is the list of books that really stood out for us in a year where everything fell apart.
In this powerful collection of poetry, Lovelace explores herself and grief, power, love, loss, surviving, and everything in between. It’s about how it’s OK to not be OK and about how we all have times where we’re the damsel in distress. But when we are, it’s up to us to save ourselves. For a 30 minute read, this collection truly packs a punch.
If you haven’t read the Black Panther comic run written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, do yourself a favor and pick it up. This is a spin-off focusing on the Dora Milaje, the all-woman force that guards T’Challa, the Black Panther and ruler of Wakanda. A comic with a cast who are all people of color, majority women? Yes, please.
This book was huge when it came out in 2015, so we thought it was about time to read it. Reading Coates will help you understand the American black male experience so much more, and it gave insights into an experience wholly different from ours. We recommend reading it alongside Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail for a powerful punch in the gut.
This comic anthology honoring and benefiting the survivors of the Orlando Pulse shooting made us laugh, cry, and know that we aren’t alone. One page will rip your heart out, and the next will put you back together again. This collection will take you through the ringer, and in the end, give you hope.
We were lucky enough to be able to interview Angie Thomas on our podcast right before this book blew up, and she was absolutely amazing. The Hate U Give has spent 46 weeks on the New York Times best seller list, and for good reason. It gives a HUGE dose of Black life, teaches what it means to be an activist, and inspires hope that the next generation will do so much better.
This is another older book we read for the first time this year, and it is still extremely relevant. Henriquez examines immigrant life through the experiences of the people living in an apartment complex in the Northeast. This book gives a better understanding of what it might be like to struggle as an immigrant and what it truly means to be American.
This is the final book in the Broken Earth trilogy, which is one of our favorite series of all time. Jemisin is a master world builder, and the social justice overtones of this story are undeniable. The entire trilogy will keep you engaged and wanting to spend a lot more time in Jemisin’s world.
Reynolds writes this story in prose, which makes it a very quick read. The premise is what originally attracted us: the entire book takes place over 60 seconds in an elevator where a teenage boy is on his way to avenge his brother and is visited by ghosts of his past. This intriguing book will make you think and question your own decisions while giving you a big dose of reality.
Of course, we couldn’t get through this list without a Gaiman book 🙂 Norse Mythology is Grimm’s Fairy Tales for fans of Thor, Loki, and Odin. The short story format makes it an easy book to put down and pick right back up again, and the familiarity of the Norse gods in mainstream pop culture today makes it relatable. This is a fun romp with some of your favorite characters, while at the same time giving you a dose of culture.
We saved the best for last. All the Birds in the Sky is easily our favorite book we read last year. It weaves together the stories of two people who are friends as children and meet again as adults, one on the side of science and one on the side of magic. We pulled more life lessons and quotes from this book than from any other, and although it’s short, it’s one that packs so much of a punch that every so often, you’ll have to put it down to ponder life. If you read no other book on this list, you must read this one. And the most exciting part? It’s a debut novel. We hope to see so much more from Anders!