Monday, December 28, 2020

Best Adult Nonfiction Read in 2020

Tracing the Desire Line by Melissa Matthewson (2019). Very interesting, poetic memoir about self and marriage. I flagged so many beautiful, thought-provoking sections to go back to. I read this in May when the "novelty" of quarantine had worn off. I was feeling kind of isolated, combing through past relationships to figure out what I might want in the future. I read this book over several nights, soaking in a hot bath with a waterproof notepad next to me. The gorgeous language let my imagination run free so I'd have to scribble ideas to continue later in my own writing. I'm looking forward to re-reading this one in the future, in a different life situation, and see what I get from it then.

The Incredible Shrinking Woman by Athena Dixon (2020). This essay collection is amazing. You can tell Athena Dixon has a background in poetry because the language is so beautiful, while still being so raw and matter-of-fact. So many of these pieces made me feel seen and understood. I know this is a collection I'll come back to time and time again. This is one of the first books I've read as an "adult" that makes me think "Oh, so the stuff I write can find a home." Not that I'm comparing my writing to Dixon's, but it's nice to know that such exploratory, experimental formats can find a place and be appreciated by readers instead of molded into something more mainstream.

But Enough About Me by Jancee Dunn (2006). I love Jancee Dunn from Rolling Stone but somehow didn’t know about her books. I absolutely loved this one - from the (old, but still entertaining) celebrity gossip to her humorous life stories. It was kind of an escape read and made me want to read more by Dunn.

Sex Object by Jessica Valenti (2016). I love this book because it helps me realize that stuff like... “this” happens to everyone, and it doesn’t have to be rape or assault to be wrong. This book made me feel understood and empowered but also just angry. Definitely want to read more by Valenti; I love her style.

Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld (2020). Seinfeld has been my favorite show forever, and I’ve seen Jerry’s standup shows a few times (in person and recorded specials). I’ve read SeinLanguage. Therefore some of the jokes in this book were repeats, but this was still one of the best books I’ve read this year. I love how they were arranged chronologically, and how you can see Seinfeld’s thought progression in a lot of the jokes (and of course over time). A lot of jokes had me laughing out loud.

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