This month hasn’t been great for reading. I’ve finished a few things, but absolutely nothing that I can recommend without serious asterisks. It’s unfortunate, but it happens. So instead, let’s talk about great things I read during the first half of 2016, all of which I feel really great recommending.
The better-than-anything-I-read-in-November Short Stack:
1. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
I was in love with this book from the moment I heard Lindy speak at BookPeople back in May. If you get a chance, go see her read or talk or whatever she’s doing because she is funny and smart and will totally show you her tube of lipstick if you say you like it. Shrill is a collection of essays on highly relevant subjects like abortion, rape jokes, and weight. While none of those sound like they could be funny, her smart lines will make you laugh anyway.
2. March: Book One, Two and Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
I haven’t been able to read book three yet, but the first two are good enough that I recommend you just buy the trilogy. John Lewis’ personal involvement with the Civil Rights Movement is what makes this series work so well. By telling his story, it’s also the story of the movement because he was part of the sit-ins and the Freedom Rides and met Martin Luther King, Jr. I learned more from reading these graphic novels than I think I did in any of my history classes.
3. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
I listened to this audiobook because Aziz Ansari narrates it, which is worth it. Modern Romance is a fascinating look at dating. Between talking to previous generations about how they found love, analyzing text messages that equate to today’s courtship and interviewing people from Japan and Argentina, Ansari presents a great picture of why we really shouldn’t compare ourselves to our grandparents or even people our own age in other countries.
4. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Just read this. Feminism is important for women, but it’s also important for men. It’s short and it’s wonderful. Buy it for yourself and buy a few for your friends.
I didn’t realize when I started this list that I would suggest only nonfiction, but I’m not mad about it. Maybe today we need some nonfiction.