The Best Books I Read Last Year
I've been putting off writing this blog post because it is SO hard to try and choose the BEST books I read in 2017. I've been scanning my bookshelves for a couple weeks now trying to decide, and let me tell you, it isn't easy! Ultimately, I found myself gravitating toward books that I thought were important and that really forced me to think critically. I also paid attention to what books I found myself recommending and talking about the most among my friends and family.
While I don't think it's really possible to ever settle permanently on my "favourite" or so-called "best" books, these are the three that are really standing out for me at the moment among everything I read last year.
Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
This book gives incredible, in-depth insight into the centuries-old history of race relations in the United States. It offers multi-faceted perspectives and a deeper understanding of significant moments in history. I learned so much from this book and it really helped to shape and inform my understanding of how we got to where we are today. I found myself referencing this book a lot in dinner-table political discussions and I think it's a must-read for anyone who wants to better understand the current political and social climate.
The Girl With Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's Story by Hyeonseo Lee with David John
With so much information swirling in the media at the moment about North Korea, it's hard to know what is true and what is potentially propaganda or exaggeration. This first-hand memoir of growing up in North Korea and the harrowing journey in search of asylum gives readers a true account of life under the dictatorship. The Girl With Seven Names also sheds light on the human rights violations that are being committed every day against North Korean refugees in neighbouring countries. This is another timely read for anyone looking for a better understanding of current issues.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
This title may seem like it's coming out of left field compared to the other two, but this book ended up having a bigger impact on my life last year than I thought it would. The Happiness Project is one part memoir and one part happiness manual designed to help you increase the joy in your every day life. Author Gretchen Rubin's system of tracking her happiness became really influential for me when I started bullet journalling shortly after reading it. Her system of simply training yourself to become more aware of your happiness potential has really helped me shape my life in the way I want (with the help of my trusty bullet journal trackers of course).
Whether we're talking politics, human rights, or happiness, these are the three books that have stuck with me the most over the past year. What books have you read lately that have stayed with you long after you finished reading them?