Wahoo! I made a goal to read 15 books while on leave from work, and with this post, I can successfully pat myself on the back. It is so amazing to set a goal and reach it. Are some of the books little shorties? Yes. Are they still books? Yes. I did it! If you haven’t already, check out book recommendations 1-5 or 6-10.
11. Becoming by Michelle Obama:
I listened to this through Audible, and I miss the Obamas so much more now. I feel so lucky to have gotten this peak behind the curtain of their successes, their family, their journey to becoming such amazing leaders in the United States. Michelle Obama embodies dignity, grace, advocacy, and hope. I have no idea how she is able to keep such a strong composure in everything she does. And I feel so personally honored for the sacrifices she made (she had an incredible career as a lawyer) in her choice to support her husband as the first black American president. I love what she reveals in the epilogue tying everything all together: “For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously to a better self.” She continues to learn and grow and reflect. She will never run for office which makes me grieve, but I am so inspired by her to remember my own role in our country’s democracy, to keep listening, fighting for justice, voting, and hoping.
12. Yesterday I Was the Moon by Noor Unnahar:
I fell in love with poetry the last two years. I’m not sure why I didn’t expose myself to poetry earlier, but now that I have, it’s such a sweet love. I even started writing my own, and have discovered it to be an amazing outlet for processing my emotions. I adore the poets Nayyirah Waheed and Rupi Kaur, so in my search for more raw voices like theirs, I stumbled upon Noor Unnahar. I am super into these poetry books with poems and drawings mixed together, and so are a lot of teenagers these days. Excited to add this one to the collection.
13. Tina’s Mouth by Keshni Kashyap:
This was such a fun book to read. First of all, it’s a graphic novel. I always thought I would hate graphic novels, but it turns out they are quite enjoyable and don’t have to follow a superhero plot line. In this book, you follow Indian-American sophomore Tina who has to keep an existential diary for her English class. She writes her entries to Sartre and takes you through her 10th grade year of high school complete with crushes, extra-curricular activities, eating lunch alone, family and friend drama, and learning how to be. Fun read that I’m excited to tell my students about.
14. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood:
I first learned of this book while browsing at a bookstore a year or so ago. I was fascinated by the premise: the economy sucks, people of all demographics are losing their jobs, can’t pay their mortgages, and end up living out of their cars. The story follows a couple called Charmaine and Stan who learn about an opportunity to live in a twin city called Consilience (con + resilience) where every other month you can live in a nice home and on opposite months, you live in the Positron prison. This concept is designed to solve both joblessness and homelessness, but as most utopias go, it’s not as perfect as it’s cracked up to be, and like any system, someone is making a profit. If it’s possible to offer criticism to Atwood, I have to mention the strange plot moves she makes with sex. It’s a very sex-positive book, but for me, it’s way too much. Affairs, prostitutes, sexbots, seriously… it gets really weird. Wasn’t a fan. But I am always impressed by her imagination when it comes to inventing future realities that may or may not be that far-fetched.
15. Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson:
A couple years ago, I listened to a few episodes of the podcast “2 Dope Queens” starring Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson (author of this book). I remember cleaning the kitchen as I listened, laughing and thinking “Oh my gosh- can she say that?” They went on to get a HBO special for their comedy of the same name, which I still haven’t seen, because I really need HBO!! Anyways, I finally got around to reading this book, which isn’t even Robinson’s first or only, and I’m glad I did. I love her (mostly) unnecessary abbreviations and nicknames for things which she spells out in the book and often make the words longer. Anyways, I know I’m not alone in feeling the dumpster fire imagery for this country and for myself sometimes, and Robinson names it, laments it, and still creates space to laugh. I liked it.
Until next time…
I have accidentally stored up some Audible credits the last few months while I’ve been reading paperbacks and hardcovers and rediscovering the glory that is the public library. Do any of you have audiobooks with amazing narrators you recommend?