Any book lover knows the true joy of losing yourself in a good book and enjoying every page until the very (bittersweet) end.
Here are twelve of my absolute favorites that I enjoyed wholeheartedly while reading sometime during the past two years. I hope you’ll love them as much as I did!
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
When her husband is arrested and sent to jail for twelve years, Celestial first finds solace in her art and then in her childhood best friend. It’s a story of love as much as a story of our broken criminal system. Best for discussing at your book club’s next meeting.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehesi Coates
Written in the form of a letter to his son, Coates gives a present day account of the plight of black people in a highly racial world. There’s no sugarcoating, which make it a true education. Best for all of us really (should be mandatory reading!).
Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Being a feminist can be hard but raising a feminist is harder. This book condenses important lessons about gender, sexuality, and race into 80 short pages. Best for any of your friends who are currently raising littles.
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
Told in her trademark emotionally raw and honest style, Gay comes back to fiction with a book of short stories that covers the lives of women from all different types of backgrounds. Best for any woman who has ever felt misunderstood.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Set in a fictional near-distant future, you’ll be on the edge of your seat as you follow Nadia and Saeed’s love story from the streets of their homeland ravaged by civil war to a new country that’s foreign in every way possible. Best for expats, immigrants, and children of immigrants.
Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
Follow the stories of two best friends who are ripped away from their village in rural India at a young age only to walk two equally-doomed paths. Rao’s eloquent, gripping prose will have you hooked until the end. Best for anyone missing their best friend.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
The quiet of idyllic suburbia gets disrupted when the lives of a single mom and her daughter intertwine with the seemingly perfect Richardson family. Expect drama and surprise told in Ng’s easy-reading style. Best for devouring during a long plane ride.
Not that Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture by Roxane Gay
After constant prodding, two co-workers finally convinced me to open up this book. “It’s a tough read but an important one,” they said and they were 100% correct. Best for all women everywhere and maybe some of the men in our lives too.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Though intimidatingly long, you’ll race through this book detailing the complex story of Sunja and her family of Korean immigrants living in Japan during the early 1900s. Best for anyone who’s endured pain that’s only made them stronger.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Whitehead reimagines the journey of a slave named Cora seeking freedom in the North via a literal underground railroad where every turn of the tracks proves unpredictable. Best for those who seeking hope.
White Tears by Hari Kunzru
The future of two New Yorkers seems bright as they open a recording studio but things take a turn for the worse when one records a musician in a park and the other releases it as a rare blues recording from the 20s. Best for the music-obsessed and murder mystery fans.
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
In this memoir, Alexie reveals the poetic intensity of growing up on an Indian reservation through 78 stories that strike both your funny bone and deep emotional chords. Best for anyone who has a complicated relationship with their mom.