A Year in Reading: Imbolo Mbue


I love books that devastate me and this year I read several of them.

Matthew Desmond’s Evicted showed me a whole other level of poverty in America. I won’t soon forget the author’s description of a family moving in and out of homeless shelters. It was heartbreaking.

Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl is about a disaster the name of which was familiar to me, but about which I knew virtually nothing. The level of deception and incompetence that worsened an already horrible situation is unbelievable.

David Ebershoff’s The Rose City, published 15 years ago, is a short story collection about young gay men coming to terms with themselves. In my favorite story in the collection, “The Dress,” a young boy who loves to hide and wear dresses gets stuck in a dress and ultimately needs his father’s help to get out of the dress. It is a sad moment for both father and son as the father learns a new side to his son and the son recognizes his father’s pain even though it’s clear his father loves him.

Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air, which I just started reading, was one of the first books I bought this year and I plan to make it the last devastating book I read this year.

More from A Year in Reading 2016

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Don’t miss: A Year in Reading 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005