New Year, New Reads

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Raise your hand if like me, you claimed that 2018 will be the year of multiple changes within [I see you nodding your head in agreeance at the screen!]. You see, I find nothing wrong with the infamous yearly declaration of “new year, new me”, because why shouldn’t we celebrate those wishing to better themselves, no matter which day of the year they decide to start? It’s all about starting somewhere.

Speaking of starting somewhere, last year at this time I didn’t necessarily set resolutions for myself per say, but rather mini goals. Things I knew where attainable, realistic, and most importantly, would fuel both me and my happiness. For me, this included a goal surrounding my reading habits (which at the time was a tremendous lack thereof). I’ve always had a love of reading, but somehow between my transition to and through college, and being a “real life adult” I had lost my desire to read as frequently as I had once used to. So in 2017 I made the ambitious goal of wanting to read 50 books before the year was over (I know what you’re thinking, “Way to start 'small', Gab!”). With the help of a book club, a never ending unread library, and Goodreads serving as my accountability partner, I was able to not only meet, but exceed this goal. In fact, my desire to share with others what I was reading on social media is what motivated me to begin this blog. I say all of that to say, you never know where a goal, whether big or small, will lead you.

This year is all about some new reads, and below I’m dishing the top titles I can’t wait to devour throughout this year:

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1.     Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

This book tells the story of Yejide and Akin, a Nigerian couple who will do just about anything to have a child – including trying to seek love with others. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, both he and Yejide have always agreed that polygamy isn’t for them. However, nearly four years into their marriage, after consulting with various fertility doctors, and testing an array of unlikely cures, Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she has time, until her family arrives at her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. ‘Stay With Me’ is a novel of commitment, culture, and the struggle to conceive.

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2.     Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

Far From the Tree is a compelling, contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right time. Placing her daughter up for adoption left a hole in middle child, Grace’s heart, a void her adoptive parent can’t fill. Her birth mother is unreachable – then Grace learns that she has siblings, Maya and Joaquin. Apparently this read gives off complete “This Is Us” vibes (which I’m completely here for!), telling the story of three entirely different teenagers connected by blood. ‘Far From the Tree’ explores the true meaning of family in all its forms – how to find it, how to keep it, and how to love it.

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3.     Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

In a quiet Ohio town, who started the fire, and why? Enter Pleasantville, only this time the story takes place in Shaker Heights. In Shaker Heights, a progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything it planned – from the color of its houses, to the successful lives of its residents. Enter Mia Warren, both an artist and single mother, she arrives to Shaker Heights with her teenage daughter Pearl. But Mia brings with her a mysterious past that is sure to disrupt this perfect community. ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ explores the heavy weight and burden of family secrets, and the responsibility of motherhood.

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4.     Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko follows one Korean family through four generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the daughter of a poor, yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. However, Sunja is rescued when a young minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan. Pachinko is the story a proud family in exile from their homeland, and how together they embark into the fraught unknown.

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5.     Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

[Note: I’ve heard SO MANY raving reviews about this read, I’m so excited to currently be reading it along a group of girlfriends] This novel is essentially build around a haunting road trip, where a black woman and her two children drive to a prison to pick up their white father in the fictional rural Mississippi town of Bois Savage. As soon as the family leave the relative safety of their backwoods farm, the temptations and snares of the outside world threaten to derail their trip and cast them into a fresh ordeal.

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6.     The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

If you haven’t seen ‘Girls Trip’ yet, are you truly living? No but really, I need for you to get on it, and get with my new BFF in my head, Tiffany Haddish. From stand-up comedian, actress, and breakout star of Girls Trip, Tiffany Haddish transforms into The Last Black Unicorn. Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany says she learned to survive by making people laugh.  I for one am excited to both laugh hysterically and pull out a box of Kleenex for the occasional tears as I read a collection of personal essays as fearless as Tiffany herself.

Interested in joining me as I read the titles above throughout the year? Or do you have additional titles you're personally excited about reading this year? Drop a comment below and share!

Stay lit(erature),

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