It is time for my very last reading list post of 2021. Basically, all of the books I really want to finish before the end of the year. Not that it’s even remotely possible for me to finish them all, but I chose a handful from the top of my list to include here. I will also be attempting to post every single day in the month of December. Which is a terrible idea, given that this month I will also be completing my most ambitious reading experiment yet. I don’t need to sleep, it’s fine.

But since I clearly need all the spare time I can get this month, let’s just get right to the books!

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

This year, I have been participating in the Buzzword Reading Challenge by booksandlala – check it out here – which involves reading a book for a specific word-related prompt each month. For December, the theme is day, month, or season. And I honestly had a bit of a hard time coming up with a book that I hadn’t already read, that wasn’t super ambitious (because I have enough intimidating books on my list this month), and fit the theme. So I was pretty excited when I came across this one.

It’s a book of short fiction (that is thankfully also under two-hundred pages) about the violence and injustice Black men and women are subjected to on a daily basis. Which just sounds like the perfect addition to my anti-racism reading this year. I honestly haven’t heard about this until I went searching for a book to fit this challenge, but now I’m pretty excited about it!

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

This is just one of the many books that was released last year that I still have not gotten around to reading. I have been putting this on my monthly reading lists all year in the hopes that I will FINALLY get to it, but time just keeps getting away from me. But I think I’m feeling more in the mood for it this month, so hopefully it happens. Also, it may or may not be a part of this month’s reading experiment (which I have been working on literally since January).

This is about twin sisters who grow up in the south. But as they get older their lives diverge drastically. One fully embraces her Black identity, while the other passes as white. One lives in the same southern town she grew up in, while the other strayed as far as California. This book just sounds so great, and I keep hearing wonderful things, and I am really excited to finally be getting to it.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Out of the ten books on my 2021 reading list, I still have two left to read, and this is one of them. This just feels like something I have to read (not really, because you never have to read anything). And it is something I want to read. I don’t really anticipate totally loving this, but I do think it might be an interesting read. And I am being very stubborn and

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

I did intend to get to this one in November – because reading a book about cancer does not sound like the most fun holiday read – but it took me longer than I anticipated to get through a 900-page biography of Frederick Douglass (it was very good, but very dense). But it is what it is. And because I refuse to at least try to finish my reading list this year, I do plan on reading it this month.

Despite the fact that I know this isn’t going to be the most fun read, I am kind of looking forward to it. I read Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Gene last year and enjoyed it. I learned a lot, and I am looking forward to reading a more science-y book this month. Clearly it has been too long if I’m using the word “science-y”.

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker

One subject that I have been sort of starting to delve into with my nonfiction reading is mental illness. As a person who has had her own struggles with mental health, it’s a topic that is really close for me, and something I do want to learn more about. And although I am very familiar with anxiety and depression (although I recognize those things can be different for different people), I am interested in gaining more understanding of mental illnesses I have not experienced. In this case: schizophrenia.

This book is about a family of twelve children, six of whom were diagnosed with the disease. And they kind of became a study to better understand schizophrenia. It sounds so interesting to me, and I love the idea of this being about both a breakthrough in mental health and about a family that was so affected by one illness.

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich

Full disclosure: I was not planning on reading this book in 2021. Or anytime soon, really. But I realized that if I get through all of the books I need to get through in December, I will be five books short of hitting my goal of reading 50% by authors of color this year. And I have come too close to not hit that. And since I have so many heavier books on my list, I went in search of some fun reads to finish out the year.

The second I read that this one is about a bookstore and the ghost of their most annoying customer, I knew it needed to be added to my list. This just sounds really fun, and I am honestly really excited to finally be done with my reading experiment and get back to picking up books that just sound entertaining to read.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi

This is just me adding another fun book by an author of color to my list because I am determined to meet my goal this year. I’ve sort of had this book on the back burner all year, because I have been seeing it everywhere and it looks like something I might enjoy. I mean, it has the words “feminist high fantasy” in the synopsis, so you all know I needed to pick this up.

I just never had time to get around to it, so I definitely want to try and get around to it this month. The bonus is that it’s very short, and if I enjoy it, there is a sequel I can pick up and just binge the series this month. Which I haven’t done in a while, but when the books are around a hundred pages each, it probably won’t be that difficult.

That’s it for this post! I will be reading a few other books this month that I am keeping a secret for now – like I said, I am finishing up a massive reading experiment post that will be up later this month. And I am so excited to finally be done!

I’d love to hear from you! What are you planing on reading in the month of December? And what end-of-the-year posts do you want to see from me this month?

I hope you all have a good month, and happy reading!

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