2018 was a sh*t year, in every sense possible. Not only was life difficult, but I also stopped doing the thing that kept me sane - reading. In 2018, I read one book. One. That is not like me. Now that I started reading again, I realized why I stopped...it's because I read things that are uncomfortable. I'm that annoying person that's always growing and learning, but also getting angry while doing so.
I've always struggled between knowledge and ignorance. The more independent I become, the more I daydream about just quitting (life) and marrying rich. I don't have to struggle this hard, and learn all these brutal life lessons, I can just sit pretty and enjoy life...but that's also not very fulfilling. Being pretty is too easy. All I have to do is cake on my face, wear something short, and I get whatever I want, it's not really worth it.
I've decided to share my favorite reading list, actually my only reading list. These are the books that I've read throughout my lifetime, and actually hold a valuable piece of who I've become. They've made me angry, happy, irritated, and sad. But mostly, they've made me feel (especially in moments I didn't want to). Now that I'm typing this it feels a little too personal to share, but it's too late to back down.
1. "Nothing Good Can Come From This" by Kristi Coulter
Eight pages in, and I'm angry. I had to put the book down. Last week I actually had something really weird happen to me. I saw a close friend in a different light, and it scared me because we were on such different levels. I guess it was only scary, because we used to be on the same level, and by not having someone on my level, made me feel alone. I always have this issue, were I intellectually outgrow someone and it hurts every time. (Good news, sometimes it's only temporary and you can meet this person in a few years after they have grown out of that phase).
I realized that I have a few close friends who share similar experiences in all aspects of life. When Coulter mentions micro-aggression, I was triggered! I have screenshots, of guys who are in my platoon that have, literally sh*t you not, take their anger out on me. (At least) they've apologized for whatever personal issue/frustration made them take out their aggression on me. I recommend this book if you want to know more about modern forms of women struggles in the workforce, which literally applies to everyone 20 and up.
"And there's no easy way to be a woman because there's no acceptable way to be a woman. And if there's no acceptable way to be the thing that you are, then maybe you drink a little. Or a lot" (Coulter, 8).
2. "The World is Flat" by Thomas Friedman
I started reading this book when I was 16. I know, I do this to myself. I'm pretty sure this is the first book that made me "like realize stuff", so it will always hold a special place in my heart. Not only did I base 90% of my Laureate research off it, but also gifted it to my high school crush.
"In China today, Bill Gates is Britney Spears. In America today, Britney Spears is Britney Spears-and that is our problem."
This quote has resonated with me since I was young and continues to resonate with everything I find myself doing. The fact that we grow up thinking that success lies within disgusting amounts of wealth, and name brands is not right. The fact that there is a place (countries) that have role models that are decent human beings sounds WILD. This book also discusses perspectives regarding immigration, and the reason behind resentment towards immigrants lies in the fact that now ANYONE can become wealthy, which means that the 1% will soon have to start sharing (their wealth)! Know what sharing means? Less for them, and more for everyone!
3. "Milk & Honey" by Rupi Kaur
In the midst of all these scary thoughts and conspiracies, I've come to find my peace in poetry. I don't care if I'm basic, because I love this book so much I got the word 'honey' tattooed. I have two copies of it, one for me and one so my friends can borrow. I legit have the most of the book covered with dog ears (folding at the corner of the page), and I'm not ashamed.
I found this book during my study abroad in Jordan. I remember the feeling of opening this book because I had deja vu. Me reading that book, felt like it was meant to be, at that moment, I was meant to read that book, thousands of miles away from the only home I've ever known.
"how is it so easy for you
to be kind to people he asked
milk and honey dripped
from my lips as I answered
cause people have not
been kind to me"
4. "That Was Then, This is Now" by S. E. Hinton
Am I the only one obsessed with "The Outsiders"? Not only was the book hard to put down, but the movie was just as addicting, if not more. Aside from Tom Cruise (he looks like a rat); young Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, and C. Thomas Howell were the most attractive guys I've ever seen in my entire life! Maybe it's just my slight obsession with greasers, but I cannot get over how attractive they were. Since I was obsessed with this book, I looked for more, and I happen to stumble upon "That Was Then, This is Now", which is a book on the other gangs that interacted with the guys from "The Outsiders". I was in 8th grade when I read this book, and the ending f*cked me up emotionally, I could not stop crying for weeks!
"It seemed impossible that I could once feel so emotional about someone, and then suddenly feel nothing".
Was this foreshadowing my future years to come, who knows?
5. "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini
This is the book I read, before I felt drawn to the Middle East. After reading this book, I swore to myself that this would never happen to a child. I don't really know what I'm going to have for dinner in a couple of hours, but I know that I want to adopt a child from Syria.
"And that's the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too."
6. "Lost Connections" by Johann Hari
I still haven't been able to finish this book. It's very triggering. I started reading it when Grace was alive, and I can't read it without imagine what she must of felt... hopefully I'll finish it soon! This book speaks about human nature, and ways in which sadness is seen as weakness.
Personally I've come to terms with my college experience. It was the exact opposite of what I was expecting. I thought I was going to be partying and having fun 24/7. I thought I was going to find my bridesmaids. Lol, I thought I was going to be happy. It's been rewarding don't get me wrong, but if I knew it was going to be this difficult, I wouldn't have done any of it. Reading this book made me realize that it's okay. It's okay to mourn the college experience I thought I was going to have.
"What if depression is, in fact, a form of grief—for our own lives not being as they should? What if it is a form of grief for the connections we have lost, yet still need?"
7. "Why Men Love Bitches" by Sherry Argov
At first, I thought this book was a joke... But then I realize the truth that it holds. Hopefully, most of the book is not a surprise. Hopefully you know most of these things... but if that's not the case, good luck!
"Men control the world, but women control the men."
8. "Witch" by Lisa Lister
I just finished reading this, like yesterday. I'm not sure what to think of it yet. I mean I appreciate most of what it had, but I was uncomfortable at times. Mostly because I grew up Roman Catholic, and my mom would probably have a heart attack if she even found out I read this book.
It had a lot of interesting points, but the capitalization of certain words threw me off. I do think that the main takeaway is how incomplete we are as women. I can personally tell you, that I don't know what I'm looking for, but I know I'm missing something. Not sure if it's something I have to find within myself... or within more experiences... or if I'll ever find that thing that it's missing, when I can't even describe what it is I'm missing...
"… What would the cosmetic surgery industry do if women embraced the unchanging beauty within them, instead of obsessing about the ever-changing patriarchal representations of external beauty?"
9. "Dracula" by Bram Stoker
I was so tempted to post all my favorite Dracula quotes under this category. There was something dark and mysterious about this book, that made me want to read it more. I'm not sure where I've heard of Dracula, but I knew most of the story. I mean, I know we all know Dracula, but how? It's one of those stories, that as I read I already knew what was coming, but enjoyed to read... Then I realized that I've never read it, so how did I know about it to begin with... Is this a story we are all just born knowing?
"Despair has its own calms."
10. "The Motivation Manifesto" by Brendon Burchard
I read the first couple of chapters (in high school), before I gave it to my ex. I really liked what it had to say, and I thought that I would eventually buy it again, but I didn't, until now. Sometimes I lose my motivation, or I get too caught up in my own problems that I just lose my vision.
"We have patiently suffered long enough, hoping that someone or some kind of luck would one day grant us more opportunity and happiness. But nothing external can save us, and the fateful hour is at hand when we either become trapped at this level of life or we choose to ascend to a higher plane of consciousness and joy. In this ailing and turbulent world, we must find peace within and become more self-reliant in creating the life we deserve."