One of my New Year’s resolutions was to read a book a week this year. There was a point when I was so behind on this goal that I almost gave up. But I clawed my way back and last night finished my 51st book, giving me a luxurious half a month to finish my last book of the year.

I had to keep a list to make sure I really read enough books, and it’s pretty amazing to look back on a year’s reading. I read a ton of novels, nonfiction, some business books, poetry, short stories and collections of essays. I read and listened to books. (Don’t give me that face…The New York Times wrote how neither reading or listening is cognitively superior…)

The vast majority were written by women, LGBTQ authors, or women of color.

I’ve written about a few of my favorites in these newsletters—Circe was hands down my favorite novel. The feminist re-evaluating of rape and the role of women in Greek mythology was fascinating and the maternal story in Circe was heart wrenching. I’ve also written about Pachinko—a sweeping epic of multiple generations of Koreans, as Korea itself was grappling with its national existence, independence, and identity.

I thought I’d spend this week telling you about some of the other amazing books I read, in case you are looking for last minute gifts or holiday reads. Today I want to write about Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I mean, it was a number-one New York Times Bestseller, so I’m hardly letting you in on a massive secret. But I absolutely loved this book. It was a rare book about the South that feels authentic but doesn’t delve into the world of embarrassingly cartoonish. It has a satisfying ending that’s also plausible and didn’t go the road of rape-porn that I feared throughout the first half of the book. And the protagonist is a self-sufficient female badass.

I would not recommend listening to this one on tape. I did not care for the narrator. It was a real testament to the power of the story that I stuck with it. I wish I’d read it and imagined the voices instead.

Elsewhere on my reading list, it was refreshing to read poetry again. I don’t think I’ve read poetry since college. My favorite book of poetry was the amazingly named There Are Things More Beautiful than Beyonce.

Lastly, on the nonfiction front I read several books about raising transgender children. The most helpful, most readable, most comprehensive, and most well-researched was Raising the Transgender Child. Even if you don’t have a transgender child in your life, this is an amazing guide to the transgender and gender-fluid world. It will answer so many questions you want to ask but don’t know if it’s OK to ask.

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