Which books are your absolute must reads before the year ends? There’s only a few short weeks before 2020 is a wrap, and here’s a look at the state of my “to be read” list.
+ TANYA PATRICE +
Since it’s #DiverseDecember – a month of reading and recommending books by Black, Brown and Indigenous writers – all the books I read this month will reflect #ownvoices. Here’s my general plans using The End of Year Book Tag questions (seen at Green Tea & Paperbacks).
Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?
Deacon King Kong, James McBride – I started this already but was underwhelmed. Then it made the NY Times 10 Best Books of 2020, so it must get better … right?! In September 1969, a fumbling, cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .38 from his pocket, and in front of everybody shoots the project’s drug dealer at point-blank range. As the story deepens, it becomes clear that the lives of the characters overlap in unexpected ways.
Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?
The Death of Vivek Oji, Akwaeke Emezi – because the other book I read by Emezi, Pet, was so beautiful (we recommended it in (Q)uick Reads You’ll Fly Through). Also it has a 4+ rating on Goodreads and everyone has said it’s amaaaze! One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious.
What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?
I mentioned 2 above already, so to add a 3rd – These Ghosts are Family, Maisy Card. I need more books bu Caribbean authors in my life (#ReadCaribbean). Stanford Solomon has a shocking, thirty-year-old secret. He is actually Abel Paisley, a man who faked his own death and stole the identity of his best friend. And now, 30 years later, Abel is going to confess to his family. These Ghosts Are Family revolves around the consequences of Abel’s decision and tells the story of the Paisley family from colonial Jamaica to present day Harlem.
Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?
Yes – The Death of Vivek Oji. Please oh please let the hype be real!
Have you already started making reading plans for 2021?
Yes – thanks to a few advanced reader copies. The one I’ve already started is Black Buck, Mateo Askaripour. OK – I don’t love the title or the cover, but the synopsis is interesting – After enduring a “hell week” of training, Darren, the only Black person in the company, reimagines himself as “Buck,” a ruthless salesman unrecognizable to his friends and family. But when things turn tragic at home and Buck feels he’s hit rock bottom, he begins to hatch a plan to help young people of color infiltrate America’s sales force, setting off a chain of events that forever changes the game.
Those are my must-reads for the month – but I’m hoping to get a few more in – what about you. Which book is your “must read” for the month?