Let’s start here.
The most important stuff I’ve learned I think I’ve learned from novels. It has to do with empathy. It has to do with being comfortable with the notion that the world is complicated and full of grays, but there’s still truth there to be found, and that you have to strive for that and work for that. And the notion that it’s possible to connect with some[one] else even though they’re very different from you. – Barack Obama
Cue: 1,000 AMENS!
This is precisely what I love about reading. The glimpses of humanity and connection with stories not my own lead me to a more empathetic and understanding place. Reading allows me to participate in a world beyond my own and engage in relationships with people of a different place and time. It’s my favorite way to exercise my imagination, stretch my ideas and question my assumptions.
I’ve told you before how much I enjoy picking the books in my queue. The quest for the next story is so exciting! So, it probably comes as no surprise that I love when people ask me for book recommendations. It makes me straight up giddy to think upon what I’ve read, where the reader is (in their journey) and find a match. It’s like playing Match Maker with friends (one real and one imagined).
AND it is with great excitement that I share some favorite reads from the past few months. I’ve narrowed it down to my top five. (The struggle to do so was real.)
Top Five Reads
- The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri – A story about a family from Calcutta making their home in the US. We see their lives as foreigners, outsiders and most of all people looking to find their way without losing where they came from.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – This is not the first time I’ve read this book. But, after starting the series on Hulu (OMG have you seen it?) I had to do a re-read. Margaret Atwood’s introduction at the beginning of this new edition is so interesting. Mainly, her elaboration on the context in which she wrote the novel.
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – A family saga that stretches over 200 years and across two continents. It’s the story of what slavery cost a family. The truth in her characters struck me again and again. “No one forgets that they were once captive, even if they are now free.”
- Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – This gem is a Pulitzer Prize winner for a reason. Good Lord. The depth of character and emotion sucked me in like no other.
- Kaftka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. Isaac recommended this one to me. It’s a total trip. The blurred line dividing dream from reality makes for a dream-like read. I’ve read a few of Murakami works and this is by far my favorite.
Those that didn’t make Top Five, but are nonetheless wonderful…
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
Blue Shoe by Ann Lamott
Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Ann Lamott
And here is what I am currently reading…
The Mothers by Brit Bennet
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandburg and Adam Grant
What are you reading now?