5 amazing books I read this year

By Bill Gates

Reading is my favorite way to indulge my curiosity. Although I’m lucky that I get to meet with a lot of interesting people and visit fascinating places through my work, I still think books are the best way to explore new topics that interest you.

This year I picked up books on a bunch of diverse subjects. I really enjoyed Black Flags: The Rise of ISISby Joby Warrick. I recommend it to anyone who wants a compelling history lesson on how ISIS managed to seize power in Iraq.

On the other end of the spectrum, I loved John Green’s new novel, Turtles All the Way Down, which tells the story of a young woman who tracks down a missing billionaire. It deals with serious themes like mental illness, but John’s stories are always entertaining and full of great literary references.

Another good book I read recently is The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein. I’ve been trying to learn more about the forces preventing economic mobility in the U.S., and it helped me understand the role federal policies have played in creating racial segregation in American cities.

I’ve written longer reviews about some of the best books I read this year. They include a memoir by one of my favorite comedians, a heartbreaking tale of poverty in America, a deep dive into the history of energy, and not one but two stories about the Vietnam War. If you’re looking to curl up by the fireplace with a great read this holiday season, you can’t go wrong with one of these.

The Best We Could Doby Thi Bui. This gorgeous graphic novel is a deeply personal memoir that explores what it means to be a parent and a refugee. The author’s family fled Vietnam in 1978. After giving birth to her own child, she decides to learn more about her parents’ experiences growing up in a country torn apart by foreign occupiers.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond. If you want a good understanding of how the issues that cause poverty are intertwined, you should read this book about the eviction crisis in Milwaukee. Desmond has written a brilliant portrait of Americans living in poverty. He gave me a better sense of what it is like to be poor in this country than anything else I have read.

Read more here.

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