Revisiting Books Is A Low Priority
As my TBR pile grows with each fleeting moment, I’ve come to realize that one pass through a text is all I crave. As friends invite me to rediscover Harry Potter year after year, I never follow through. My Goodreads account has a “to be reread” list and I ignore that shelf completely. I decline rereads without (formally) declining them and never look back. I know this may sound like a dig at some but it is uncommon for me to revisit a book. Besides children’s picture books for my kids, there are very few exceptions to this reread rule.
Then, in 2015, something magical happened. For the past 3 years, I found two books that I revisit and recommend as one of my yearly rituals. I can’t be sure if it happens at the same time every year, but like clockwork, these books became a way to make it through tough times. With a shared theme of compassion, these two essays remind me to step back and give life a second look.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Adichie
This perfect introduction to feminism inspired one country to give a copy to every 16-year-old in 2015. Part personal history, part instruction manual, Adichie narrates how misogyny negatively affects us and how feminism can save the world. It has especially become necessary for me to hear as we continue through the dumpster fire that is the constant assault on reproductive health. Adichie also reminds us that our tiny identity boxes hurt men as well as women when we narrow ideas down to masculine or feminine. I use it as a constant reminder of a way to improve humanity, and recommend it whenever someone needs a feminist boost.
This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life by David Foster Wallace
Far from his Infinite Jest tome, This is Water recounts how the mundane is usually what life is all about. We forget that our own consciousness isn’t the center of the universe, and Wallace’s speech breaks down what our Liberal Arts degrees are truly worth. His grocery store example has stayed with me since the first read, warning that quoting Heidegger isn’t what makes me (or you) a good person. All you need is to exchange kind words and deeds. It doesn’t hurt that this short book is funny and makes living compassionately seem like a no-brainer. You’ll feel rejuvenated in less time than your average commute.
What are the books you recommend most often?