Well you had to know it was coming. How could I post my top 10 fiction picks without doing the same for my top 10 nonfiction picks for the year?
Ever since I started reading multiple books at once (I'll credit parenthood with this behavior, but I think I might have started before that by reading self-help and business-specific books alongside/simultaneously with my "fun" reads), I've made a habit of keeping at least one nonfiction book on my nightstand or queued up in my audible library. To be honest, I used to treat a lot of my nonfiction reading like required homework, or eating my vegetables. I'd only let myself start a new "fun" book when I finished my "homework" book. Sometimes, the homework would be a challenging genre for a book club or a fitness journal or nutrition book that I was reading for supplementation of my Personal Training certification.
The last year was definitely a change for me. Between the state of the world (read: global pandemic, mass political division, a disturbing international trend toward Nationalism, and most specifically, the outcry in the US for righting of generations of racial wrongs), coupled with the state of my brain (see previous aside)...2020 was a year I spent going back and forth between digging deeply inside myself to find my inner truth and guiding tenets, and seeking facts, history and perspectives that I have not been exposed to in any real fashion. I found myself choosing more and more books that allowed me to dive deeper into these questions and you will doubtless see a trend. While my book recommendations are not intended to be political, it would be dishonest to pretend that my worldview doesn't inform how I engage with books and how I interpret what I am reading. If you are a friend and fellow booklover that does not share my political leanings, I encourage you to pick one of these books and open-mindedly dig into your own feelings and experiences. I welcome all respectful discourse. Feminism, racial inequity, and white fragility feature heavily in my recommendations. This is deep stuff. And it is IMPORTANT.
You will definitely be seeing more on this theme going forward.
Below you will find my Top 10 Nonfiction Reads of 2020, in order of completion. To read my original Goodreads Review, click on the photo. Please bear in mind that when I wrote many of these reviews I was not imagining anybody would ever read them. Excuse my brevity in many cases. I stand by all 5 star ratings.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
read January 2020
Know My Name: a Memoir by Chanel Miller
read by Chanel Miller
read February 2020
Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
read by Trevor Noah
read February 2020
Braving the Wilderness: the Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown
read by Brené Brown
read March 2020
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
read by Glennon Doyle
read April 2020
How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi read by Ibram X. Kendi
read June 2020
I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown read by Austin Channing Brown
read July 2020
White Fragility: Why it's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
by Robin DiAngelo
read by Amy Landon
read July 2020
Empty: A Memoir by Susan Burton
read by Susan Burton
read August 2020
Caste: The Lies that Divide Us
by Isabel Wilkerson
read by Robin Miles
read October 2020
background art borrowed from foreignpolicy.com