During the past year, I set a goal to read a wider range of authors and explore some new genres. Some books that stood out were:
Just Girls by Rachel Gold – This novel, published by Bella Books in 2014, won the GCLS Young Adult award. It follows two college freshmen as they battle transphobia and homophobia on their college campus. The author also won awards for her book Being Emily, which tells the story of a transgender high schooler. Both books made me laugh and cry, while giving me better insights into the issues affecting transgender kids.
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow – This biography was the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. Reading Chernow’s book showed me just how much I either never learned or had forgotten about the founding of America. Chernow wrote with respect for our Founding Fathers, but he wasn’t afraid to point out just how flawed and human they were. I think 2016 will see me dig deeper into biographies about other men and women from that era.
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler – I’m not sure how this classic was never on my assigned reading lists in high school, college, or graduate school, but I’m glad I finally took the time to read it. Butler’s writing has a poetic beauty to it, and that drives home just how ugly the world she depicted was. I added the rest of her novels to my to-read list.
The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi – I grew up in southern Arizona, so this book hit me hard. It’s a terrifying look at just how ugly things could get if we don’t start taking better care of our planet and its resources.
Full Circle by Dillon Watson – I had read Ms. Watson’s previous titles from Bella Books, which were Keile’s Chance and Back to Blue. She writes terrific characters who feel like people you might know or want to know. As one might expect from a Bella Books romance, the characters get their happily ever after, but they have to earn it first. The lead in Full Circle, a character named Mikaela Small, is easily my favorite by Ms. Watson. I look forward to future books from this author.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – This book terrified me because I hadn’t realized that unethical behaviors in the past are a foundation for many modern research projects. It was eye-opening.
Storm Front by Jim Butcher – This is the first in the Dresden Files series, and it was a fun read. I’ve heard later books in the series aren’t quite as good, but I’m looking forward to finding that out for myself.
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert – Before reading this book, I trusted that scientists were right when they warned of the dangers caused by climate change. After reading this book’s examples of how and where we see evidence for these claims, I cannot fathom how anyone denies them. The world’s climate and weather are changing, and that doesn’t bode well for any living creature. Period. Full stop.