I didn’t read quite as many books this year as last, but I did find some gems all the same. Here are my ten favourite reads from the past year (in no particular order).
Dear Mummy, Welcome – Bethany Hallett
– A memoir about the author’s adoption of a 4-year-old girl. Fascinating, and touching.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Jenny Lawson
– Let’s just say it’s been a while since a book made me laugh out loud quite so much.
Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now – as Told by Those Who Love it, Hate it, Live it, Left it and Long for it – Craig Taylor
– A fascinating set of (true) stories from a really diverse collection of voices. Reads as though the interviewer/author has just transcribed their speech word for word, which I guess is the most faithful way of representing them, and makes it feel like each storyteller is right there in front of you.
Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
– I found this pretty harrowing, but it is a truly excellent and engrossing work of fiction, set around the Nigerian civil war. She uses the story to make some profound points that leave you thinking.
Unaccustomed Earth – Jhumpa Lahiri
– A collection of beautiful short stories themed around Bengali American life in New England.
Economyths: How the Science of Complex Systems is Transforming Economic Thought – David Orrell
– Great introduction to economics and its problems.
The Female Eunuch – Germaine Greer
– I enjoyed this classic text of second-wave feminism. I can’t say I agreed with every word, but it certainly got me thinking about some things in a profoundly different way.
Killing Rage – bell hooks
– An amazing book that I think everyone should read. It’s about anti-black racism in the USA, but the insights into how privilege and oppression work are very generalisable.
Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us – Christine Gross-Loh
– So many interesting observations about different cultures; so many “aha!” moments about things parents do in my own culture that perhaps don’t work for the best.
All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood – Jennifer Senior
– Very America-centric, but a lot of it is relevant to UK culture too. Incredibly well-written and thought-provoking examination of what having children is like, with a bit of a focus on the challenges for gender equality.