This post is going up much later than planned because March has kind of been not the best for me, personally (and also kind of the whole world, so I am definitely not the exception here). But we’re working on things. I’m trying to get more organized with blogging. I am absolutely failing my blogging goals so far, but that’s okay, we have time to fix these things. So, even though it’s about three weeks later than planned, today I’m sharing my favorite books I read this past winter.
If you are new here – thank you for reading! – I post quarterly/seasonal favorites every three months. It’s just a way to look back on what I’ve been reading and loving recently. When I’m feeling slumpy (like I am now), it’s just a good reminder that good books like this are out there, waiting for me to read them. But for now, keep reading to see which five books I loved most this winter.
Click the links below for my monthly wrap ups if you want to see everything I read this winter:
Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker
I read this book late last year for my post where I read all of Obama’s 2020 favorites. That was a very long, but pretty fun post. I was introduced to a lot of great books I might not have otherwise picked up, including this one. To be fair, I had picked up a copy, but was not really motivated to read it on my own. Because this was not the easiest book to read. It’s about a family with twelve children, six of whom are diagnosed with schizophrenia.
This is a fascinating, but heartbreaking story of a real family’s suffering. While they were able to help scientists and psychologists better understand the disease, they still had to deal with a lot of hardship and uncertainty. From someone who has experienced both family trauma and mental health firsthand, I just really felt for the family members dealing with this disease and those who had to stand by helplessly and deal with the effects that tore their family apart. It was definitely a hard read, but one I’m still thinking about.
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
I always talk about how much I love Fredrik Backman, but I realized I had only actually read two of his books and really only actually loved one of them (I know everyone loves Beartown, but it just wasn’t for me). I’m happy to say that is no longer true! Because I have officially read my third Backman book and loved it! I don’t think this one quite beats A Man Called Ove, but it’s up there.
This book is a mystery about a failed bank robbery that turns into a hostage situation at an apartment viewing. But it’s really about all the characters themselves. And it’s truly lovely. It’s a slower mystery, but I was so invested in these characters that I couldn’t put this down. It’s just so dimensional and interesting that it’s hard to stop thinking about it. And the ending was just so good. I don’t want to spoil anything, but this book definitely made me smile. If you haven’t read Anxious People yet and are looking for a funny, quirky, feel-good book, definitely pick this one up.
Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire
This is the seventh book in the Wayward Children series. Which is kind of crazy, because I can’t remember the last time I stuck with a series through this many books. Maybe A Series of Unfortunate Events when I was in high school? The Six Tudor Queens series by Alison Weir comes close, but that’s only six books (obviously). Nowadays, I start to lose interest around book three and tend not to pick up longer series. This is the only exception.
I just love all the books in this series and had so much fun reading this one. The series is about children who travel to different worlds through their doorways and for whatever reason end up back in our world. They go to a special school with others like them and sometimes go on adventures. This one was a bit different in that it took place at another, darker school for these children (and not in a fantasy world). Which was really interesting and fun. We also met a lot of familiar characters, and it was just a solid addition to the series as a whole. I cannot wait for the next one!
White Tears/Brown Scars by Ruby Hamad
Last year, I read Hood Feminism by Mike Kendall, which definitely had me reevaluating some things. I would say that I am absolutely a feminist, and I like to think of myself as a good feminist. But reading that book kind of shone a light on the areas I definitely need to do better in. I really loved that book, and wanted to explore more, so I was very excited when I came across this one.
While Hood Feminism is pretty much exclusively about how Black women are affected by White feminism, this book addresses all people of color. Which I think is a very necessary addition to the conversation. I can’t recommend either of these books enough. I learned so much, and they’ve been an invaluable resource for me to learn and grow and become both a better feminist and a better person.
I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya
Last, but certainly not least, we have I’m Afraid of Men. I picked this up last month because one of my goals for this year is to read more books by trans authors. What better way to start than with a memoir? This is very short (just under 100 pages), but so impactful. I read it in a single sitting and was so impressed and engrossed. I also completely fell in love with Shraya’s writing and immediately purchased two more of her books. I am very tempted to complete my goal of reading six books by trans authors with just Vivek Shraya books (but I’ve decided to only count one of them even if I read more, just to keep it more diverse).
Seriously, though, this book is amazing. It’s about Shraya’s experience basically being afraid of men. Both as a young boy facing cruelty and aggression for being too feminine and then as an adult trans woman. It feels like such an important part of looking at how trans people are treated due to misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia. The reason I wanted to set a goal to read more books by trans authors is because their experience differs a lot from my own and I want to gain more understanding and be a better ally. I am so very glad I started with this book in 2022, and I hope to continue to read some great trans books over the rest of the year (let me know if you have any recommendations!)
That’s it for my winter favorites! I hope you enjoyed this post. I had a lot of fun looking back on some of the books I loved recently. Let me know that your winter read was in the comments below. And check out my spring reading list if you missed it! (Bonus: if you’re curious about my least favorite book, I blogged about it, and you can read all about it here.)
And check out my bookshop, where you can buy books and also shop my curated collections of my personal favorites AND all of the books I’ve read for my reading experiments. Or you can just buy whatever books you want to. I get a small commission at no extra cost to you, and you get to support your choice of indie bookstores – it’s a win all around!