Books, ah do I love books. Growing up, my parents would spend a ton of money on books that I would read one right after the other. I could literally spend hours in a bookstore trying to figure out the best way maximize bookage for the amount of money I’m spending. There’s just something magical about books and reading, you know? It’s cliche, really but with reading, you get to check out of your world for awhile and immerse yourself into a new one. Some many beautiful things come from reading and I just feel ridiculously lucky to be able to do it (I know that sounds crazy but seriously, think about it. What would your life be like if you couldn’t read? It would be wild).
In my 23 years of life, I’ve read an obscene number of books, but theses 6 are my favorite.
First and foremost, I am a feminist. I believe in the equality of people despite all the layers that intersect in their oppression, etc. (A conversation for another day). That being said, I am a big fan of feminist literature. I think it’s interesting to read what other people have to say on the subject and I enjoy seeing the roots/critiques of the movement. However, I find with a lot of feminist reading (well, actually just a lot of reading in general. I always feel this way after the readings I do for my grad classes), that there is no call to action. I’ve just sat there and read this entire thing that has explained to me what is problematic and why it’s problematic but doesn’t tell me what I should do about it. This book includes the most realistic answers of what to do to fix these issues. For example, the first chapter is about slut shaming and the double standards for men and women when it comes to sex. Men get praise for sleeping with anything that moves whereas women are damned and deemed sluts for even thinking about sex (that was a little extreme but you get the gist). At the end of the chapter, Valenti explains what we can do to fix this, which includes a call to action for women to stop calling other women sluts and to stand up against people who do so. Overall, it’s really interesting to see the history of some of these double standards and the actions we can do to fix them. I recommend this for any person interested in feminism and for any people who are “beginner feminists” or who aren’t too sure if they’re with the movement or not. The book is easily read and written in plain language. The author doesn’t try to sound overly academic and in fact, I find her writing to be the best when it comes to introducing people to this subject because she’s real.
Mitch Albom is one of those authors that reminds you why you’re living and that your life has a purpose. That’s what The Five People You Meet In Heaven does, reminds you that your life had a reason. I read this book when I was much younger, some time in grade school but it had always stuck with me. Albom gives death a beautiful spin that makes the whole idea more comforting for those that may be in the position of dying or for those who are afraid of it. It’s interesting to think about who you would meet in heaven and which lives have intersected with your own in order to gain valuable life lessons. Don’t read this on the train because you genuinely might cry. Also, usually this never happens, but the movie is just as good as the book. Obviously read the book first, but you know. I’d recommend this book to people who are weary about death and the afterlife. It might settle your nerves to have some sort of thought as to how it might be if it exists.
The Death Class: A True Story About Life
When I was a senior in college, I had this professor named Dr.Bowe. I had heard a lot of things about this woman, all good but I was still skeptical. People always talk up other people. Sure, she was probably good There was no way that this woman was that good of a person. Well, the answer is yes. She is honestly one of the best people I know. I first met her in my Community Mental Health class and I was later encouraged to take her Death in Perspective class the semester after (I told myself I would never take it because there was a 3 year waiting list for a class that I thought was hyped up. Never say never fam, never say never). From my experience, the class is about more about living life than dying. There are assignments, trips (we went to an autopsy on my birthday but again, that’s a story for another day), and discussions that really make you assess your life and how you want it to go. You genuinely learn more about yourself. That’s what this book focuses on. It chronicles Dr.Bowe’s life, the lives of a few of her students, the relationship of the author to this subject, and it’s all tied together with the understand the value of helping others. If you’re a crier, don’t read this book in public. I cried for hours as I read the book and as I write this review, I can feel myself getting teary eyed. This book is life changing. I would recommend this for everyone but more specifically people who are in the middle of transitioning from one point of their life to another, whether it be because of loss or graduating, something. The reason I say this is because I feel this book can offer you some comfort. Often, we feel like we’re alone in doing all these things and we don’t know what to do with this stuff. We feel hopeless. This book offers that comfort and hope that we’re seeking. 10/10 must read.
Milk and Honey
This book, oh this book. I’m a sucker for poetry. It’s an experience and I found with every new poem or prose a sense of belonging. It was relatable and it really hits to the core. Much like The Death Class, this book is comforting. It offers solace for the lost and brokenhearted. Each chapter has a purpose and is aimed at different parts of the healing process. A definite recommendation for anyone who has experienced violence, loss, love, and abuse. If you can’t get over the feminine nature of the book, you might have a harder time getting through it but honestly, it would be well worth it. This is one of the few times I will thank social media for being so trendy. If it weren’t for the hundreds of people I saw posting images of this book, I would have never bought it.
This was one of the first poetry/prose books I ever bought. I had just gotten my first job, I had this crush on a boy who loved writing/poetry and I was going amazon crazy. At this point in time, I was looking to spend money while simultaneously trying to impress him, so I went on a huge book binge. Through this book binge, I came across Meggie Royer’s Survival Songs. It seemed interesting and deep at the time I bought it. Well, much like all of my crushes/relationships, things totally didn’t pan out but that’s completely fine with me because I found comfort in this book. It’s broken up into several sections that cover various topics ranging from coping to reminders about life. There are just so many good pieces in this book by my two favorites are For Twenty-Something Year Olds Who Have Never Been Loved and Letter To My Future Daughter When She Wants To Kill Herself. Recommended for those who feel like they’re alone in feeling too much. The writing is very inclusive and tries to touch on everything. If you wanna see more of Meggie’s writing, you can check her writing here.
I Wrote This For You
Iain S. Thomas
I am a memory hoarder, ask anyone. I have boxes of trinkets from important moments in my life. A bag from a fast food place when I went on a first date with someone. Ticket stubs. Rocks. Anything really. Along with that, I keep a lot of pictures, which is very similar to this book. The author has collected a bunch of these images and paired them with writing. And the interesting part is that the author wrote this with someone in mind, someone that will only get what it is that they are saying. His words have meaning to all of us based on what we’ve experienced, but it’s not necessarily the meaning that he intended. How friggin deep. It’s just a beautiful combination of photography, writing, love, and feeling. I recommend it for anyone interested in getting invested in someone else’s love life, you know what I mean? Like if you’re the type of person who sees that two people are dating on Instagram and you don’t know them but for some reason, you’re just emotionally invested in them. Or you just love photography. That works too.
That’s it for this week’s 365 Thursday. Tell me about some of your favorite books!