In 2019, I set a reading goal of 60 books, which I surpassed as I read a total of 72 books over the last 52 weeks. In general, my genre's ranged from fantasy and fiction, to biographies, to poetry and even play and movie scripts. Of these publications, here are my top 5 reads (in no particular order) of 2019.
1. Get Out by Jordan Peele
Based on the Academy Award winning mind of Jordan Peele, this book is the script of the movie, with added in directors notes as annotations, along with deleted scenes. I've seen the movie, but it's been a couple of years, so revisiting the script was awesome way to learn more about this historically original film.
1. Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness
This highly awaited debut autobiography from Jonathan Van Ness was almost impossible to put down! I finished the book in under a week and it is a powerful, emotional rollercoaster through the entire journey. They are brutally honest about the struggles he had to endure during their career in order to bring him to where they is today. Queer Eye was only mentioned towards the end, as this is more about their adolescence and young adulthood. With this book though, does come very heavy subject matter, including but not limited to abuse, drug use, addiction, and assault. Proceed with caution, but do consider reading this book!
Naturally Tan by Tan France
Two Queer Eye authors on the same list?! I may be biased. After seeing Antoni live at a press event for his cook book launch, I was inspired to pick up these two books together (I still need to read Karamo's). While this book feels like Tan's upbeat voice does come out in the pages of this book, the unrefined emotional journey is not quite the same as JVN's, and took me a bit longer to read. That being said, a huge motif of Tan's book is queer POC representation, and that message comes across in such a way that it would be counterintuitive to not have this book on my top 5. This book is half memoir/autobiography, but also half pro tips involving dating and of course, fashion.
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
This classic novel tells the story of Siddhartha, a wealthy Indian Brahmin who endures a journey of spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment. However, this is explained in a simple manner. Even though the cultural aspects of Siddhartha's journey are so unique, the experiences he goes through are common and considered relatable by the layman. No matter what stage of life one is in, something new can be learned each time this book is read
1. A Beautiful Composition of Broken by RH Sin
I've done prior reviews on Rh Sin's poetry in the past. This year, I picked up this massive 480 page book....and read it all in one sitting. This contemporary poetry talks about life and love, particularly heartbreak. The contemporary poetry may lack high word count, but adds value and comfort to help encourage readers with self-help, relationship troubles, and self-love.