As I sit here on the day after the election, the listicle that I’d planned to write (about silent/wordless graphic novels) just isn’t what I want to put out into the world. Yes, I read primarily for enjoyment and as an escape mechanism, but I also read to learn. Right now, the instinct to shut off all media, put my fingers in my ears, lock my doors and start rereading Harry Potter for the umpteenth time is strong, but that’s not what I’m going to do. I have a bit of a gaping hole in my education when it comes to American history and politics. I had abysmal American history and government classes in high school and I never pursued those topics in college. I’ve said this here before: I don’t read a lot of nonfiction (and almost never about politics). I’m going to do something to start mending that hole – and I’m going to do it by reading some books. Here’s a list of five books that I want to read in the next few months; my hope is that I can better understand my country today by learning more about its past.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
I attended a panel discussion last year titled Racial Justice in a Post-Ferguson World and this book was recommended by multiple panelists. I’ve checked it out from the library more than once, but this time I’m going to read it before its due date.
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
This book was on my radar because it won a bunch of awards last year, but it’s not the type of book I usually read. Time to change that.
Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen
I’ve heard somewhat mixed reviews of this title from friends, but its premise of questioning the popular version of American history taught in schools is an appealing one.
Taxes, the Tea Party, and Those Revolting Rebels: A History in Comics of the American Revolution by Stan Mack
You didn’t think I’d write a list without having at least one comic book on it, did you?
A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
This is not a new book – it is older than I am. I have zero excuses for not having read it already. I’m probably going to listen to it as an audiobook because my past attempts to read it haven’t gone very far.
Am I going to make it through all the books on my list? I don’t know, but it’s a place to start.
Until next time, find the stories that make you stronger. #WorkOutNerdOut