10 Favorite Books of 2017

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My life as a reader is classified into two eras - pre-Disappearing Acts and post-Disappearing Acts. As a relatively high-achieving student who knew how to “do school” well, reading this novel by Terry McMillan was a welcomed departure from cold, lifeless textbooks and traditional, colorless, “classic” American literature. It was the first time words on a page captured my imagination in a way that excited every one of my senses. Since then, I have struggled through more text books, learned that I have dyslexia, found audiobooks and given myself permission to enjoy and engage with stories and information in a way that I have never before.

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Thanks to rush hour traffic and the need to spend my weekends lost in someone else’s life, I have visually or auditorily read several books of fiction and non in 2017. Each book has been an exercise in exploration and discovery, and I offer a list of my 10 favorites to you below. Enjoy!

  1. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum - An insightful analysis of race in America that both angered and inspired me! A must read! 
  2. Kindred by Octavia E. Butler - This novel chronicles the experiences of Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly snatched from her modern-day life and resurfaces in the deep south during the heart of the slave era. Hooked! 

  3. This Is Just My Face Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe - I absolutely loved this book! Witty, courageous and funny!
  4. Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students by Zaretta L. Hammond - Another brilliantly written examination of race, culture and education in the US offering instructional practices grounded in brain science. Teacher must read!
  5. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates - Presented as a series of letters to his teenaged son, Coates offers an emotional and honest look at race, and the continued and systematic assault on "black bodies" in the US. Gripping!

  6. Abundance Now: Amplify Your Life & Achieve Prosperity Today by Lisa Nichols and Janet Switzer - When you just need to be inspired...

  7. The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian by W. Kamau Bell - A beautiful, funny and heartfelt example of just how complex Black men are and have to be in this society. 

  8. Who Asked You? and I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan - {Ok, I cheated. This is really two books.} The stories of regular people with regular lives shared so brilliantly. I am a Terry McMillan faithful!
  9. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy - Apparently, procrastination is a huge problem for some folks. My big take away... Do what you don't want to do first! I'm still working on it.

  10. The Syndicate Series by Brick and Storm - {Cheated again with three books.} This is a juicy, urban novel series with sex, drugs, violence... Hella entertaining!

Whether it's science fiction, personal development, mysteries, autobiographies or Black urban tales, I'm looking forward to another year of losing myself in books. What are your favorite reads? What's on your list for 2018?