Favorite Non-Book Things | 2020

I always try to make one end of the year wrap up post about things that brought me a lot of new joy that year! This year, I did seem to find a lot of love and comfort in already established happiness, but I still thought it would be fun to make a list of just a few things that helped make 2020 a little brighter (even if #10 is truly the most cursed timeline and I have no idea so I got here but…)! 💗

➽ 01.) Dr. Jart+ Cicapair™ Tiger Grass Cream

Dr. Jart+ - Cicapair™ Tiger Grass Cream 1.69 oz/ 50 mL

2020 was truly a year of me trying to find a good night time moisturizer after Drunk Elephant Lala Retro reformulated. (I still love CLINIQUE Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator and/or Tatcha The Water Cream for in the mornings!) But basically, I truly would buy a new moisturizer every two months in hopes of finding a new love, and then I finally found (my number two non-bookish 2020 happiness on this list, which lead to me finding…) Dr. Jart+ Cicapair™ Tiger Grass Cream and fell so in love! But also, honorable mention to PURITO DEEP SEA PURE WATER CREAM, which my family gifted to me for Christmas, and I very much am loving it and it has a much better price tag! And I imagine the PURITO Centella Green Level Recovery Cream is similar to the Dr. Jart one, and might be better for the colder seasons!

➽ 02.) Beauty Within

BeautyWithin | sundays

Truly, my new favorite youtube channel of 2020 is easily, hands down, Beauty Within! Felicia & Rowena are two Asian women with two very different skin types, and they use, review, and give the best recommendations for all price ranges! They have helped me so much with my skincare journey and they are truly just the sweetest in general, on top of being the most helpful and inclusive that I’ve ever found! Rowena has also very much helped me in 2020 to stay organized, to be more productive, and even help sparked my love for Notion!

➽ 03.) Notion

How I'm Using Notion to Track my Life in 2020

This summer, May posted some of their Notion pages on twitter and I was instantly intrigued! I love any and all kinds of different mediums for organization, and I quickly fell completely down the rabbit hole with the rest of the book community! I won’t lie, I have fell off a little bit in December keeping up with things, but I blame that on setting up a lot of my 2021 physical organization methods! Hopefully lots of new 2021 pages soon!

➽ 04.) My Cat

The light of my days, always. She deserves her own spot on this list for her cuddles alone!

➽ 05.) Writing Letters

There are many, many reasons for this, but writing letters has been something that I have really adored doing all 2020. To my family, to my friends, to different trades in the kpop community, I just really love writing letters! And I forever want to let me loved ones know I love them in every medium. Also, save the USPS!

➽ 06.) Going Outside

I will never take just being outside for granted again, ever. I feel like I am still very bad at reminding myself to go outside, which doesn’t make sense because I always feel 100 times better on the days that I do. But a lot of times, when I am finally free to go outside, it is too dark. But that special time, right before it gets dark, and I can just breath in all the crisp air right now, while looking at the mountains, and hearing the river (with no boats on it, please god, I am begging), it feels rather magical and extra healing, and a lot of those afternoons have been my favorite of all 2020.

➽ 07.) World of Warcraft

It is so wild, because 2020 is the year I should have the most free time (from not being able to commute alone), but it is the year I played less videogames and I read less books than any other. It is very strange to think about, but I think most people were just kind of focused on surviving and learning how to live in this very different world, and valid. But I still plated a lot of vanilla wow, and my guild is still going hard in Naxx. I also play a little retail wow with the new expansion, Shadowlands, but I still don’t love it as much as classic wow.

➽ 08.) Jocie B ASMR

Jocie B ASMR - YouTube

Would this be a meltotheany favorites list without incorporating at least one ASMR artist? So, I started watching Jocie in 2019, but I fell extra hard in love with her in 2020, and her ASMR really got me through some shit™! She has such a range of ASMR styles, and is never afraid to try new things. I also think she is very inclusive with the items she uses, and I think she is just amazing. Also, she does do fairy ASMR, and it really works for her and I love it so much!

➽ 09.) jtotheimin

I couldn’t really think of how to include this, because I am still a little scared to talk about my other channel to the book community, but the last half of 2020 had a lot of happiness brought into my life because of my BTS (and a few other kpop group) youtube channel, jtotheimin. Not to get too real, but it does feels strange to be in a different online space away from books, but I feel proud that I grew something without a Goodreads following and without feeling like I will never live up to the faith people have in me. (Or… just feeling like I’m letting people down by not being able to control my anxiety better and film a new booktube video.) A lot of bookish spaces in 2020 felt really unsafe to me, and I didn’t know what to do, or if I was just going to give up everything, but learning to have confidence in myself again, and getting to talk about being seen in a different way, was really healing to me, and I am so very thankful for this channel.

➽ 10.) Survivor

Survivor28logo.jpg

Listen, I really don’t know how I truly got here, but I have currently watched almost ten seasons of this damn show and I can only blame only leaving my house once in almost a year. Basically, two seasons dropped on Netflix and one of those seasons was set in the Philippines, in the north province of Luzon (Cagayan), and I was like “why not?” but it truly awoken something in me. Well, after I unexpected cried my eyes out because Cliff Robinson was on that first season I watched, and it truly was the heartbreak I didn’t see coming. But the TL;DR is that I am not emotionally, unstable, invested in Survivor, and I am currently using my parents Hulu membership to continue on with using my precious reading time to watch this show and get upset when they vote the wrong people out.

The way I am truly giggling after writing that last one. 2020 truly just threw all the curveballs, aye? But I hope you enjoyed this post, and maybe something on this list will interest you and make your 2021 a little more fun. Tell me something non-bookish that made you happy last year! And I’m sending you all so much love and light always. Happy reading (and watching questionable shows)! 💗

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Favorite Asian Books of 2020

Hello friends! I hope you enjoyed My 2020 Reading Year in Review, but I just wanted to give a little bit more love and celebration to a few books that mean the whole world to me! Growing up, I couldn’t even dream that I would be able to pick from so many books from Asian authors, featuring Asian main characters, with Asian families, and just celebrating Asian lives. I truly feel more and more blessed every year, because I feel like every year this list gets harder and harder to make because we are getting more and more ownvoices stories that are going to make it easier and easier for kids to see themselves completely whole, not just bits and pieces. (Obviously publishing has SO MUCH work to do, but I can’t help but smile when looking at this list and how much overflowing love I have for these stories!) But here are my five favorite books written by Asian authors in 2020. 💕

➽ 5.) Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch by Julie Abe 

“Sometimes all you need is a pinch of magic…”

Japanese influences + Kiki’s Delivery Service inspirations + the power of friendship and having people who will unconditionally love and support you = perfection. This was truly the perfect middle-grade for me, and one that will be in my heart forever. 

➽ 4.) The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire, #1) by Andrea Stewart

“A made thing could grow and change beyond its original purposes. I would show the Emperor: I’d grown beyond mine.”

Every pov, every storyline, every plot twist, every companion, perfection. I am still so blown away by the debut novel, the magic system, and how the last page left me feeling. I am absolutely begging for book two and more of this Asian inspired kingdom! (and more of my favorite crustaceans love story sapphics!)

➽ 3.) The Wolf of Oren-Yaro (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen #1) by K.S. Villoso

“They called me the Bitch Queen, the she-wolf, because I murdered a man and exiled my king the night before they crowned me.”

This so beautifully (and sometimes heartbreakingly) incorporated Filipino culture, I was completely immersed and utterly captivated on every page. I truly inhale read this in 48 hours and I could not be bothered to tear myself away for anything besides work. This book truly reminded me of that magical feeling that reading can give you, especially when you feel safe and seen and so in love. 

➽ 2.) The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar 

“What I want more than anything else in the world is to feel like being myself isn’t something that should be hidden and a secret.”

This book was everything and had so many perfect layers, from seeing this main character unapologetically talking about their diaspora experiences, from the real truth about fetishization, from cultural appropriation and how it is never okay, and how westerners treat Asians, but south Asians in particular. But also, this book had the perfect sapphic romance interlaced throughout, where real learning (and unlearning) happened so beautifully. 

➽ 1.) The Burning God (The Poppy War, #3) by R.F. Kuang 

“Rin had spent so long hating how she felt when she burned, hating her fire and her god. Not anymore.”

The Poppy War trilogy is truly once in a lifetime and this conclusion was honestly a work of art all itself. This series is a military epic fantasy that is ownvoices and inspired from the authors family history and the stories she learned from them. Heavy themes of war, colonization, racism, colorism, genocide, cycles of abuse, and so many different types of trauma are never shied away from. I’ve read and reviewed many books these last six years of my life, and I’m not sure a series has impacted me more than this one. Every sentence has meaning, every chapter is so well planned, every event conveys layers and layers of thoughts and feelings. History is truly created by the victors mostly with the most blood on their hands, and the stories that get told are mostly through a white and colonized lens. R.F. Kuang has done so much with these three books and they mean so much to so many Asian readers. 

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My 2020 Reading Year in Review

2020 is finally over, and somehow the year felt like it lasted a decade and a month at the very same time. I just want to wish you all (and all your families) the best in 2021, and I hope it is filled with love and happiness and good health and opportunities. I know 2020 was not only a hard year, but maybe the hardest year for a lot of us, and I will keep telling you that I love you, and that I see you, and that I’m proud of you. I promise, better days will come. But in the meantime, we can escape into some books, and blog posts, and reading statistics! 


Thanks to the amazing Brock at Let’s Read, here are some 2020 reading statistics that I was able to gather from his amazing spreadsheet that I use every single year:

━━━★ in 2019 contemporary was catching up, but 2020 fully said “never again”
━━━★ this chart truly looks close to this every year lol
━━━★ i have NEVER read this many audiobooks in my entire life
━━━★ i had a hard time with anthologies this year, sadly
━━━★ i feel like if you read mostly SFF, this chart will just automatically look like this too
━━━★ 1.) i didn’t leave my house 2.) audiobooks
━━━★ i forever will be very aware of the privilege that comes from being a US book reviewer
━━━★ that 27% purchase is mostly audiobooks !! and very thankful for my loved ones, edelweiss, & comfort rereads
━━━★ again, edelweiss & those comfort rereads (and cursed audible)
━━━★ hachette & penguin are the pub houses that were kindest to me this year, so i am very surprised by this graph. but i think in 2021 i’m going to focus on the publishing houses that want to work with me, instead of me begging for earcs that non-ownvoices booktubers get and don’t even read (fully looking at harper and macmillan lol). not being paid is fine, but not being appreciated or seen? i’m over it in 2021 fully and completely.
━━━★ why does this make me laugh? i truly couldn’t be bothered to read one classic this year? okay
━━━★ i truly found a sweet spot, i guess
━━━★ may was the 2nd worst month of my life and december was the busiest month of 2020 for me so math checks out, but can we bring july melanie back for all of 2021 please? i am begging

My Top Ten Favorite 2019 Publications:
➽ 10.) How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black
➽ 9.) The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
➽ 8.) Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch (Eva Evergreen #1) by Julie Abe
➽ 7.) The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
➽ 6.) Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare
➽ 5.) The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
➽ 4.) Rhythm of War (The Stormlight Archive #4) by Brandon Sanderson
➽ 3.) You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
➽ 2.) Night Shine (Night Shine #1) by Tessa Gratton
➽ 1.) The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang


God, 2020 was such a weird year for my reading (and for falling in love with the publications from that year), but I am very thankful for this list, and these ten books, and the love and healing they made me feel for very different reasons at very different times throughout this year. I hope in 2021 I can be more confident and more unapologetic (with the book community and with other aspectS of my life) and I hope that I have an overflowing list of new favorite stories to pick from while I’m compiling that Year in Review blog post. What was your favorite read of the year? I feel like I switched between #1 and #2 many times before finally going with what felt more right. Okay friends, I’m sending each and everyone of you my whole heart and I hope 2021 feels lighter and brighter for you. I love you.

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➽ My 2019 Reading Challenge
➽ My 2018 Reading Challenge
➽ My 2017 Reading Challenge
➽ My 2016 Reading Challenge
➽ My 2015 Reading Challenge

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories (The Folk of the Air #3.5) by Holly Black

Goodreads | Amazon US | Book Depository | B&N | IndieBound | Bookshop

1.) The Cruel Prince ★★★★★
1.5) The Lost Sisters ★★★★★
2.) The Wicked King ★★★★★
3.) The Queen of Nothing ★★★★★

“Hate that was so bright and hot that it was the first thing that truly warmed him.”

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories is an illustrated novella following Cardan Greenbriar, during many different stages in his life, while we slowly see all the different things that shaped him cruelly. The sound that left me when I opened this book and realized we were going to get present day with Jude from Cardan’s POV… be still, my hopes and dreams and heart.

Rovina Cai’s art is truly so beautiful that it renders me speechless. I was already in love with her and her art because of her work with The Wayward Children series, but this entire book feels like am immersive work of art. From the perfect color palette, to the most perfect details, she executes the vibe of Cardan and his story in a way that I don’t think another artist could.

In this story, Cardan’s life is very much impacted by a troll named Aslong who was wronged by Cardan’s father. She tells a story about a boy with a heart of stone, who finds himself in a predicament with a monster girl who won’t scare him away, until his heart starts beating again. And then all throughout his life, she tells his alternate versions of this same story, each version with a new meaning for a new version of Cardan himself.

“She was the only real thing in a land of ghosts.”

We also get to see so much of Cardan’s perspective during The Cruel Prince, much like we did with Tarryn in The Lost Sisters, and it was everything. Nicasia and Locke have much wanted character development in this book, too, and I am literally on my knees begging for Holly to just give us the trilogy in Cardan’s complete point of view. But we see Nicasia being fostered on the land because her mother, Orlagh, Queen of the Undersea, wants to start putting pieces in motion. We get to see Locke, and his empty house and even emptier heart, teach Cardan the word “cruel” on every page. And these two, in addition to a prophecy looming over this young prince, are truly the first catalysts to this story and I was so in love seeing behind the scenes. And when Holly gives us Locke’s perspective one of these years…

“Playing the villain was the only thing he’d ever really excelled at.”

Each part, each mini story, we get to see Cardan questioning who he is and who he wants to be. Not to make this too deep, but Cardan very slowly realizes that he is not responsible for the terrible acts his family committed; both to him and to the people they ruled over. He struggles with his identity of a prince who should feel like he has everything, and a boy who feels like he has nothing. But seeing him finally understand that he deserves not only love but unconditional love? Him slowly appreciating that his heart can be warm and beat unapologetically? Truly some powerful stuff.

On a personal note, I think most of you know that Holly Black is an author who means a lot to me. Her fae stories are what first got me into YA when I was young, and it really changed me as a reader and probably a human as well. I know most of you know that 2020 has been a hard year for everyone and everything, very much including my reading, so being able to curl up and read about my emotional support fae, from my emotional support author, just meant a lot to me. I truly think reading this book a day before release (bless you Waterstones and my mail person) was the best reading experience I’ve had all year, and for that alone this book was probably the easiest five star I’ve given in a year of not a lot of five star reads.

“Feels as though she has to earn the crown on her head over and over again.”

Overall, this felt like the fairytale of my dreams. Cardan is my favorite character in The Cruel Prince series (or any of Holly’s books, I think) and this truly was such a magical, wonderous, unforgettable addition to this world. I am incredibly biased over this series because so much of my heart and nostalgia are wrapped up within this world, but I honestly think there is just so much to love on every page of this book. I feel blessed to read about each time Holly gives us a new book, and this will for sure be a favorite of mine for all of 2020. Lastly, I cannot believe we really got to read about Cardan going out for boba.

Content & Trigger Warnings: abandonment, bullying, abuse, mention of drug use, humiliation, talk of cheating, and a lot of drinking.

5

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BTS Graphic Lyrics Series Review

This summer, BTS and BigHit released five graphic lyric books that tie-in with the Bangtan Universe and it was pretty much the best combining of worlds for me! All five of these books are by different artists, all who took very different approach to enhance the power of these stories, and I think I fell in love with each one for a brand new reason! But I knew that before the end of the year, I wanted to do little mini reviews of them all, and what more perfect date than the birthday of our main character, Kim Seokjin! I hope you guys enjoy!

➽ You Never Walk Alone

BTS Perform You Never Walk Alone + Spring Day @ Melon Music Awards 2017

“Baby fly fly fly fly it like it like that”

This first installment in the BTS Graphic Lyric series is the start of it all, where we get to see Jin and his current life where he is very much feeling the weight of his father’s expectations. But that weight starts to feel a little lighter when he meets six boys at school, and the seven of them have to work together to clean up a space. Soon he realizes that maybe he really doesn’t have to walk this path in life alone, while the reader gets little glimpses and hints of the different paths that are yet to come for all seven of them. And all good things must come to and end, especially the the Bangtan universe.

The art of this book is so very beautiful, and I think the color palette is perfection. The images and colors truly go together magically and fully set the stage of this heart-wrenching story. Yet, the last pages still instill so much hope in the reader.


➽ Save Me

BTS (방탄소년단) ‘Save ME’ Official MV

“Don’t wanna be lonely, just wanna be yours”

This is my personal favorite installment of all the BTS Graphic Lyric series! Instantly, from the very first page, you can tell that this story is going to take a much darker turn. While the lines of what is real and what is fake are blurring for all the members throughout, with the help of beautiful opaque papers on certain pages to really heighten the storytelling.

This installment very much focuses on Hobi and Jimin and the abandonment both of them have felt. Both are trying to be brave, make the best of the situation they are in, but they desperately want to be saved and not alone. Yet together, in the hospital, they are able to carve out their own little corner of happiness because of dance and because of each other.

TL;DR: The BigHit carousel(s) will forever haunt me.


➽ House of Cards

160723 epilogue in beijing House Of Cards BTS JIMIN 세로 focus

“Now way, now way, it’s collapsing again”

The way this installment was made for those who love to suffer from that yoonkook angst. We see Jungkook, losing his childhood quickly before his eyes, while his father leaves him and his mother. Then we get to see Yoongi, finding love and happiness in his piano because of his mother, but that all changes when he loses everyone and everything he has loved, except for a few piano keys, because of a fire.

Both of these boys are definitely descending into darkness and despair, but maybe together they will be able to find some light and hope. And this beautiful uniquely bound book, telling this tale, make the visuals feels so real and so haunting.


➽ Run

BTS (방탄소년단) ‘RUN’ Official MV

“Don’t tell me, don’t tell me, don’t tell me bye bye”

Namjoon and that train container haunt my dreams, I swear to you. This is the Graphic Lyric book that I really recommend watching the music video with, because no other BTS MV gives you as much Bangtan Universe storyline as Run. And the art in this book just adds to everything and makes the story play before you like the visual masterpiece that it is.

But we get to see Joon working impossibly long hours, while trying to take care of his family and still find happiness while achieving dreams for himself. And we also get to see Taehyung and how his father is an alcoholic who is being violent towards him and his family. Both of these young men are just looking for safety and solace, and they are willing to do anything to achieve it, but in the meantime they can find a little bit of both of those things with each other.


➽ Butterfly

BTS – Butterfly Show Music core 20160514

“Is it true? Is it true? You, you”

This last (as of now) Graphic Lyric book is a beautiful glimpse into the boys being together, being safe, and being carefree enjoying time together while Jin views it all. Yet, how the pages are also able to be turned, we can see Jin struggling with waking up and having to start all over again while Jungkook and Yoongi, Jimin and Hobi, and Tae and Namjoon are in their other alternate realities where they are struggling together.

Truly this whole story is so wild, so beautiful, and so heart-wrenching. Not only is Butterfly one of my favorite BTS songs, it just so beautifully encapsulates change, and opportunity, and how things can always get better, even if we are forced to endure not so great situations a little while longer.

I truly do not know where this story is going to end, but BTS (in this alternative reality and in our own) are soulmates and I hope they all get the happy endings that they deserve.


I truly cannot wait to see where this story goes next! I will say, that these books are kind of hard to get now, especially the box set and anything close to the original price! But Cokodive does have them singularly as of the writing of this blog post! I hope you all enjoyed, and truly there is no better combination than BTS and books for me! But I hope you’re all have the happiest of reading, the happiest of listening, and just the happiest of days and nights. I love you! 

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(if you’d like to see me unbox these books and box set!)

Other Bangtan Universe Reviews:
➽ Save Me Webtoon
➽ 花樣年華 HYYH The Notes 1 (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, #1)
➽ 花樣年華 HYYH The Notes 2 (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, #2)

#5OnMyTBR | Novellas

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#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook
You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. 🐝

I’ve always loved to read novellas so very much, but I do feel like I have indeed been slacking 2020 (or Tor just hasn’t been sending me any to review like they did in the past)! But here are five that I hope to get my hands on very soon!


The Empress of Salt and Fortune (The Singing Hills Cycle #1) by Nghi Vo 

With the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a tightly and lushly written narrative about empire, storytelling, and the anger of women.

A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy.


Prosper’s Demon by K.J. Parker

In a botched demonic extraction, they say the demon feels it ten times worse than the man. But they don’t die, and we do. Equilibrium.

The unnamed and morally questionable narrator is an exorcist with great follow-through and few doubts. His methods aren’t delicate but they’re undeniably effective: he’ll get the demon out—he just doesn’t particularly care what happens to the person.

Prosper of Schanz is a man of science, determined to raise the world’s first philosopher-king, reared according to the purest principles. Too bad he’s demonically possessed.


Silver in the Wood (The Greenhollow Duology #1) by Emily Tesh 

There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.

When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.


The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho 

Zen Cho returns with a found family wuxia fantasy that combines the vibrancy of old school martial arts movies with characters drawn from the margins of history.

A bandit walks into a coffeehouse, and it all goes downhill from there. Guet Imm, a young votary of the Order of the Pure Moon, joins up with an eclectic group of thieves (whether they like it or not) in order to protect a sacred object, and finds herself in a far more complicated situation than she could have ever imagined


Burning Roses by S.L. Huang 
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When Rosa (aka Red Riding Hood) and Hou Yi the Archer join forces to stop the deadly sunbirds from ravaging the countryside, their quest will take the two women, now blessed and burdened with the hindsight of middle age, into a reckoning of sacrifices made and mistakes mourned, of choices and family and the quest for immortality.




What is the last novella (or short story) that completely won you and your heart over? I truly do miss reading and reviewing them, and hope to add so many more to my TBR for 2021! Happy reading, friends! I love you!  💗

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#5OnMyTBR | Nonfiction

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#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook
You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. 🐝

I will admittedly say with my full chest that I am terrible at reading nonfiction, even though I say every year will be different! But I have accumulated many nonfiction books on my TBR, so maybe this post will motivate me to at least pick up one before 2020 ends (or before Nonfiction November ends)!


Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
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In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.

For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When Carreyrou, working at The Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits. Undaunted, the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos articles in late 2015. By early 2017, the company’s value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors. Here is the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley.


The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir by Michele Harper

Michele Harper is a female, African American emergency room physician in a profession that is overwhelmingly male and white. Brought up in Washington, DC, in an abusive family, she went to Harvard, where she met her husband. They stayed together through medical school until two months before she was scheduled to join the staff of a hospital in central Philadelphia, when he told her he couldn’t move with her. Her marriage at an end, Harper began her new life in a new city, in a new job, as a newly single woman.

In the ensuing years, as Harper learned to become an effective ER physician, bringing insight and empathy to every patient encounter, she came to understand that each of us is broken—physically, emotionally, psychically. How we recognize those breaks, how we try to mend them, and where we go from there are all crucial parts of the healing process.

The Beauty in Breaking is the poignant true story of Harper’s journey toward self-healing. Each of the patients Harper writes about taught her something important about recuperation and recovery. How to let go of fear even when the future is murky. How to tell the truth when it’s simpler to overlook it. How to understand that compassion isn’t the same as justice. As she shines a light on the systemic disenfranchisement of the patients she treats as they struggle to maintain their health and dignity, Harper comes to understand the importance of allowing ourselves to make peace with the past as we draw support from the present. In this hopeful, moving, and beautiful book, she passes along the precious, necessary lessons that she has learned as a daughter, a woman, and a physician.


In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado



For years Carmen Maria Machado has struggled to articulate her experiences in an abusive same-sex relationship. In this extraordinarily candid and radically inventive memoir, Machado tackles a dark and difficult subject with wit, inventiveness and an inquiring spirit, as she uses a series of narrative tropes—including classic horror themes—to create an entirely unique piece of work which is destined to become an instant classic.

 


Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah 

The memoir of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.
 


In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park
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Human rights activist Park, who fled North Korea with her mother in 2007 at age 13 and eventually made it to South Korea two years later after a harrowing ordeal, recognized that in order to be “completely free,” she had to confront the truth of her past. It is an ugly, shameful story of being sold with her mother into slave marriages by Chinese brokers, and although she at first tried to hide the painful details when blending into South Korean society, she realized how her survival story could inspire others. Moreover, her sister had also escaped earlier and had vanished into China for years, prompting the author to go public with her story in the hope of finding her sister. 



Have you read any nonfiction books this month? This year? Tell me your faves please oh please! And let me know especially if you’ve read and loved any of these five! Sending you guys so much love and health! Happy Monday and happy reading! 💗

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