The Best Books of 2017 are about Connection

I can’t sleep. I’ve been reading again, restless and thinking about books again, why they matter, why now, how. We’ve already passed into the new year, yet my best books of 2017 haven’t left my mind. But it’s January, and I need to release this and move on to 2018. This time, though, I don’t want to go through the list point by point like last year, as I’ve been somewhat preoccupied about larger trends in the books that mattered most to me here and now, a flashpoint in history, just 365-odd days on this planet. How books came back to me, how I found them in my blood, my past, my future. These are the books that stayed with me, not necessarily the “best” objectively, but more than that, ones housed on the shelves of my ribcage, floating into my mind while waiting vacantly in the checkout, stopped in traffic. These books are why I read. That’s no small praise. After the high of achieving my goal to read 52 books in 2014, as well as other bookish beginnings like starting my library science graduate program, the years 2015 – 2016 were a bit of a reading low for...

10 Books to Read If You Love “Mindhunter”

Even though we are supposedly living in the era of “Peak TV,” it is amazing that few shows really rise above the background noise and stand out. Netflix’s drama Mindhunter was one of these shows. I had looked forward to Mindhunter‘s premiere as far back as last year. I’m a huge David Fincher fan. Some of his films, like Zodiac and The Social Network are among my favorite movies ever. And I’ve also enjoyed House of Cards, which Fincher helped launch. From that first chilling first trailer, Mindhunter announced itself as a tense psychological thriller about the rise of criminal profiling in the FBI in the years after J. Edgar Hoover. The first season surpassed my expectations. Mindhunter also felt literary, and indeed many of the crimes were based off historical cases, in some cases the dialogue the original team collected from interviews was used in Fincher’s drama, too. Ten episodes was definitely not enough, and I was left yearning to learn more about this era and the themes the show explores. Thus the birth of this list of 10 books to read if you love Mindhunter. The titles featured here are divided into five nonfiction and five fiction books I recommend for fans of Mindhunter. Each of these...

20 Books to Understand “What Happened” to America

“What happened?” is not just the title of a recent memoir by Hillary Clinton. It’s also a question I think many of us grapple with on a daily basis. How did “this” happen? “This” being a euphemism for many things: the election of Trump, sure, but also attacks on healthcare, efforts to dismantle or cut social services, a disturbing rise in political rage and intolerance, and so on. “This” is 2017, or whatever year you are reading this blog post in. “This” is modern America, and “This” looks different to all voters. But to own and change “This,” we have to be well informed. We can’t shy away from the darker corners in our country. We have to step into the shadows with the people trapped there and bring a candle so we can see each other. We will beat the dark down with light. Reading brings you to directly to confrontation, and change. Information is a weapon. And I have designed this list of books about social justice, current events, and political issues to arm you with knowledge and compassion to disarm hatred and inequality. There are many excellent writers conducting some truly groundbreaking research and combining that with a...

The 10 Best Books I Read as Required Reading

Ever since I was a teen, I’ve been fiercely against mandatory reading. I was opposed about summer reading for high school since I knew the choices were often political rather than based on literary merit. The summer before senior year, I just refused to read the assigned books entirely. I believe in the beautiful freedom to read whatever I want rather than whatever someone else wants. Over the years, though, I’ve been introduced to some amazing books that I wouldn’t have read if they weren’t compulsory to read. And thus, for my first Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly book blog meme started by the Broke and the Bookish blog (no relation to Broke by Books!), here is my answer to the September 12, 2017 prompt: Throwback Freebie: Ten Books I Loved During The First Year I Started My Blog, Favorite Books Published 5 or 10 or 15 Years Ago, Ten Older Books I Forgot How Much I Loved, etc. etc. Tweak however you want! I’m also adding a back to school bookish element to it. This list is unranked and in no particular order. Enjoy! PS: Some of the covers I selected do not match up with the links to...

Take Another Piece of My Heart | Book Review of “Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home” by Nicole J. Georges

So many people I know who love graphic novels describe being able to finish them in one sitting as part of their appeal. I like that feature, too, which is why I regularly recommend graphic novels and comics as good choices for readathons, quickly adding some “Read” books to your Goodreads Challenge, and overcoming a reading slump. Certainly it’s true for some graphic novels, but not all. Some should be savored, like Nicole J. Georges’ Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home (2017).You know what is going to happen to Beija, the idiosyncratic and high maintenance but absolutely loyal canine companion of Nicole J. Georges, a cartoonist (Calling Dr. Laura) and professor. You know she will have passed on to pet heaven by the end of the memoir. To read Georges’ graphic memoir is to commit to confronting devastating loss. But it is also a celebration of how pets help us find a purpose to live anyway, to stare down the existential crisis where the one certainty is an ending—because first, you get a beginning, with an animal companion, a furry familiar. This book review of “Fetch” will explore Georges’ relationship with Beija through the lens of my experiences as...

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Welcome to Broke By Books, a blog by Sarah S. Davis, where the guiding mission is to spread a contagious love for reading through helpful, thought provoking, and enjoyable writing about books. Please join me in growing an inspired, engaged, and fearless reading life.

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