#MustReadin2017 Spring Check-in

April 6, 2017

So, I said that I want to read these 24 books in 2017:

screen shot 2017 01 05 at 9 34 07 pm

I have read exactly two of them:

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yeah, so this definitely deserves the hype. It took me a few chapters to get into it and then I was hooked. I will also say that as a black woman whose rage levels are at their peak right now, this really got to some of the stuff that is bothering me, so for that, I am truly grateful.

View all my reviews


Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African American Women Who Helped Win the Space RaceHidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have too much to say about this book to fit in a pithy Goodreads review, but I’ll try.

First of all, I listened to the audio version and Robin Miles is perfection.

Second, the biggest takeaway I have from this book is what I already knew: when you give black people access to education and opportunity, we are capable of more than anyone ever thought of. WHY WOULDN’T WE BE? Education + opportunity. That’s all we need to be great, which is why it was (and still is a lot of the time, to be frank) denied to us.

You want to make America great? Invest in education and opportunities. That is all.

View all my reviews

I think it’s safe to say I’m making slow progress.

The problem is, I think, that they’re almost all pretty heavy books with serious subject matter, and I am at the end of the semester and the world is terrible, so I need some fun books to read. It is entirely possible that in May I’ll be ready to tackle more of them. But for now, I’m probably going to just not do that.

I also have to unpack my copy of the Hamilton book, which is…somewhere.

Full disclosure: I did try the Hamilton audiobook but I was not prepared for the narrator to be anyone other than LMM, so I returned it to the library. I also checked out Hope in the Dark; 1984; Homegoing; and The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet but ran out of time to read them so had to return them to the library. Also, The Art of Fiction is sitting on my desk at work. So that’s where we are.

Once I figure out the huge stack of library books I have sitting on my bedside table, I think I will tackle King of Attolia, though. I think it might help break me out of my current reading slump.



1. Black No More by George S. Schuyler

2. 1984 by George Orwell

3. The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves’ Civil War by David S. Cecelski

4. The Mother by Yvvette Edwards

5. Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu by Yi Shun Lai

6. The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner

7. Defiant Brides: The Untold Story of Two Revolutionary-Era Women and the Radical Men They Married by Nancy Rubin Stuart

8. Ida: A Sword Among Lions by Paula J. Giddings

9. Josephine Baker: The Hungry Heart by Jean-Claude Baker

10. The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refused to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan by Dahr Jamail

11. Rebel Without a Crew, or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker with $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player by Robert Rodriguez

12. The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

13. March: Book One by John Robert Lewis

14. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

15. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

16. Trade Me by Courtney Milan

17. Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

18. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

19. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

20. Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story by Peter Bagge

21. Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda

22. Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

23. True Love: A Story of English Domestic Life by Sarah E. Farro

24. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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  1. cweichel

    Your list is intense, you are at the end of the semester, and the world is indeed terrible. These are all good reason to read a bit of brain candy once in a while. I am conflicted about reading Hidden Figures. I’ve seen the movie and once this happens before I’ve read the book, I can’t create my own images and it drives me crazy.
    Good Luck.

    • Akilah

      I haven’t seen the movie yet, but from what I understand, it only focuses on a fraction of what Shetterly covers in the book. So I would still suggest you read it!

  2. Amy Warntz

    What a list! You have shared many titles that I am not familiar with so you have piqued my curiosity. I knew Hidden Figures was a movie, but had no idea it was a book too. I never seem to get the movies so I’m thinking I should pick up the book. I’ve heard only great things about Hamilton. I’ve enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing! ~Amy

  3. Darin Johnston

    Good morning!

    First, this needs to be made a t-shirt:

    “You want to make America great? Invest in education and opportunities. That is all.”

    Truer words have never been spoken.

    Now, your list is all pretty much foreign to me, so I’m copying this into another document of books to read at some point. I’ve got four on my bookshelf waiting to be read, but why not a few more, right? I’ve seen Hidden Figure and should have read it first, but grabbed at the opportunity to watch it before it disappeared from our area. If it’s true that the book is generally better than the movie, it’s going to move to the top of the pile. 🙂

    1984 is an intense book, but an awesome book for this time. So many things inside of this book speak to me now as we are in this era of increased “Big Brother” all around us. Scary to think how close this book could come to the truth.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your list and pushing my own reading outside my comfort zone!

  4. Sharlene

    Awesome list. I will have to go look up some new-to-me titles!

  5. A.M.B.

    “You want to make America great? Invest in education and opportunities. That is all.” Well said! What shocks me is the growing number of lawmakers who are proud of their own ignorance (I’m thinking of my state’s mini-Trump, Scott Wagner, who is running for governor). No wonder they don’t invest in education. They don’t think it’s important, and they certainly don’t support access to equal opportunities for people whose access has been limited by discrimination. Ugh.

    I want to read Hidden Figures soon. My daughter picked it up at a book fair.

    • Akilah

      See, I think they know education makes people reconsider the world and that’s why they are so against it. It’s harder to feed people lies and make them believe everything you say when they know how to read critically and question the world.

      Most of these men are highly educated but they chose to resist everything that challenged what they already think they know about the world, and they don’t want others to “suffer” the way that they had to.

      Also, giving people access to equal opportunities and education eliminates the lie that white people/men/people in power are inherently smarter or better. Education is the great/best equalizer.

  6. carriegelson

    Your list is intense! I am able to make progress as I have many MG titles on my list. Wishing you some reading time and some fun books into the mix!

  7. Lisa Maucione (@DrLMaucione)

    Homegoing is fantastic. The writing is absolutely amazing and the story is so interesting. I recommend putting that one towards the top of your pile!

    • Akilah

      I am going to put it on hold once summer break starts, I think. I should be in the right frame of mind to tackle it then.

  8. Katy K.

    I’ve been putting off reading the Fifth Season myself, even though I have heard it’s amazing. I’m giving up halfway through 1984, I think – too many cardboard characters, and no women who can think. Maybe I’ll skim the end… but I’ve read enough to be able to discuss some how the ideas are and aren’t being borne out now, and life’s too short to stick with a painful book.



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