Why I Never Used to Read
All through High School, my mom gave me a reaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllyyyy hard time because i NEVER read books in my free time. She was always recommending these Victorian murder mysteries or romance novels that I would start, read 50 pages of, and give up on because i couldn't be bothered to finish. None of my friends were avid readers, and I never really found a way to actually FIND the books i enjoyed. So I just gave up on it. Wow, this is pathetic.
Why I Read Now
In college, I started to find books that I actually liked/could be motivated to finish. Some of these were recommendations from my friends or my English teacher, while others were books I actually read in my sociology courses. But I learned an important thing about myself. I'm pretty much only motivated to read a book if I feel like it's going to teach me about something I know nothing about (see my book review of My Promised Land here), or if I feel like it's going to open my mind to a different perspective of looking at the world. Basically, I only want to commit to a book if it's going to make me think deeply and question things I've been culturally conditioned not to question. I just feel like i'm wasting my time if i read some sappy teen love story. Also, those just make me aggravated.
So Here's My List of Books That Will Really Engage Your MIND.
1. A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
2. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
3. The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle
4. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
5. Making Refuge by Catherine Besteman
6. The Land of Open Graves by Jason de León
7. A Woman Scorned by Peggy Reeves Sanday
8. Guyland by Michael Kimmel
9. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
10. Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
11. Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol
This list encompasses the following themes: refugee resettlement, the treatment of disabled children in the US, the dangerous, sexist nature of the college fraternity scene, institutionalized racism in schools and in southern society, the dangers of crossing the border and living in the desert, the need to treat our earth with respect, the way in which the Victorian era's social constructs still confine women's expression of their sexuality today, and many more.
So if you're bored and want to feel like you've done something meaningful with your life, please read one of these books. You'll feel great, I promise.