Today is Thanksgiving in the US, and, as I did last year, I wanted to share the books I’ve read so far this year that I am the most thankful for. These are books that impacted me in a profound way, books that changed my perspective or opened me up to something new. I’ve read a lot of amazing books this year – both fiction and nonfiction – but these are the ones I’m still thinking about:
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. This is definitely one of my favorite novels the year (expect it on a lot of end-of-the-year lists next month). It is one of those stories that is just so lovely and relatable and heartbreaking that you can’t help but love it. And I honestly think it helped me view literature differently and set the tone for much of what I read this year.
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. Up until this year, I had only read excerpts of Virginia Woolf’s work. While To the Lighthouse is probably at the top of my list, I’m really glad I jumped into this one first. It is definitely up there with Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in my list of important feminist literature, and I think it added to my knowledge of feminism and feminist literature.
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. Oh how I wish I’d had this book as a teenager. I may not have been kicked out of a magical world, but I definitely felt like an outsider growing up. This book is really unlike anything else I’ve ever read, and I do think it had an impact on my world view. If you’re not into nonfiction, but still want to read books that will open your eyes to the experiences of others, this should definitely be on your reading list.
Hunger by Roxane Gay. Again, another feminist author I hadn’t read before this year. And I’m kind of upset about it, because this book was amazing. It really made an impact on me because I can relate to Gay’s story, and I think her insights into her own life helped me a lot. It’s an important and brave memoir with the potential to make a difference in a lot of lives.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I think this is such an important addition to YA, and I am so glad to see that so many people loved it as much as I did. But, for me, the impact of this book wasn’t just the story, it was the fact that this type of writing isn’t normally my cup of tea, yet I thought it was incredible. It reminded me to explore not just more genres, but more writing styles than I usually would.
An American Family by Khizr Khan. If I had to name the most inspiring book I’ve read so far this year, An American Family would be it. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but I got so much out of this book. Khan’s life is incredible, and reading about everything he went through made me want to work harder for my own goals in life. He’s also an immensely talented writer, and I truly loved reading this memoir.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. This book taught me a lot about a culture I didn’t know much about – South African – and reminded me that there is so much more I want to explore through reading. Like An American Family, this book also opened my eyes to just how much other people struggle, and how far hard work will get you.
I think I’ve read a lot of really great, impactful books this year, and I’m looking forward to reading more. What book(s) are you most thankful for this year? Have you read anything that’s changed your life for the better? Let me know in the comments!