Books I read in June, 2020

The books and my thoughts

Like others in the US and worldwide, I have come to terms with the fact that being neutral in light of racism is not enough. Has never been enough. So I’ve set out to learn more – the way I absorb information – by reading. Growing up reading books like To Kill a Mocking Bird, I was acutely aware of the racist past of the country I have now decided to call home. However, just passing awareness via fiction is not enough. I need to acquaint myself with how this country has discarded and rejected the Blacks who created this country and uplifted it.

Severance by Ling Ma

Yes, I too like many others have reached that stage of shelter-in-place where I can stomach reading books about widespread plagues.

POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT

Ling Ma takes the humdrum that has become our lives where we repeat the same routine day in and day out and turned it into a plague. As a migrant your heart aches for Candace. Her descriptions of the various characters made me laugh, I could imagine any of the tech bros I have encountered playing the role of the threatened alpha male that is Bob, the IT guy.

How to Be a Conscious Eater by Sophie Egan

I’ve made no secret of my want to be more conscious about how my lifestyle affects the environment. I no longer have an Amazon Prime account, and am eating a vegetarian diet. Before, quarantine I had managed to restrict the number of online orders to 1 a month, however, quarantine and moving houses put an end to that.

The world of conscious eating is overwhelming to say the least. What does buying “Cage Free” eggs really mean? Turns out not a lot. Just because a chicken is raised without cages, doesn’t mean it’s treated humanely. This book helped me understand how my food choices, affect not just me, but those growing it and processing it (whether they are animals or humans). Would recommend it as quick starter for those who are interested in making more conscious food decisions. To anyone who lives near me – feel free to borrow my copy if you want to peruse it.

No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

On one very errand ridden day, I decided to listen to an audio book and having played hookie with my mission to be more sustainable this year, I thought the words of Greta Thunberg might just be the kick up my that I so needed. And it was! She’s 13! She shouldn’t be striking! She should be using her eloquence to win debating competitions in schools, not schooling white male leaders who don’t know a carbon emission from a carbon credit!

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

This one has been in my Libby queue for 12 or so weeks, and it was finally available! Trevor Noah brings his candor to telling us about growing up in South Africa in the middle of an Apartheid. Reading this in conjunction with How to Be an Antiracist really forces you to come to terms with the pervasiveness of racism. You aren’t free from it in a country where you are in the majority. Systemic racism wins out because it forces people to up against their own. When you are forced to believe that there is one seat for a person of your color, age, gender at the table, you end up fighting each other instead of lifting each other up.

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

I am surprised that Ibram X. Kendi’s book was available on Libby this quickly, given the rising sales over the past month.

Ibram X. Kendi uses his life’s anecdotes to force yourself to come to terms with how pervasive racism is in our society. How biology, ethics, political ideas have been used to buttress racism.

This is a book you need to read slowly. A book you sit with. A book you reread to really confront your role in supporting racism. Don’t sleep on this book. Borrow it from your nearest library, read it on your headache inducing screen. Find a friend who has a copy and borrow it from them. Lend a friend your copy. Buy this book if you can find it online.

On my 2020 reading list

Non Fiction

Poetry

I am starting my journey to read more poetry by reading the words of Black poets.

This was inspired by Books Are Magic’s list of 14 Brilliant and Beautiful Black Poetry Collections

Looking for recommendations

Earlier this month I shared my reading goals from here on, so inline with that I am looking for recommendations in the following areas:

  • Poetry
  • Urdu fiction – please note I haven’t read Urdu in 11 years, so any recommendations should be geared towards absolute beginners.
  • Audiobooks – I am going to start running again and am looking for audiobook recommendations to listen to while I run.

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