I’ve always been a reader. Ever since I was a kid I would find a closet or corner to read in until my eyes got tired. Books are entertaining, but they can also spark new ideas and ways of thinking inside of the reader. I’ve read more books than I can count, but there are certain books and authors that completely changed my life.
When I was in my last year of undergrad, I took a class called “Violence Against Women” to fulfill a Criminal Justice credit. I went into the class thinking it would be interesting because I was always interested in domestic violence, but I had no clue how much the class would change me. We read a lot in that class, but by far my favorite piece was an essay by bell hooks. Before then I had never really understood feminism. Her rawness and boldness showed me that I could unapoligetically be a feminist. Reading bell hooks open my eyes and showed me the world in a totally new light. I recommend checking out Killing Rage (Specifically – Militant Resistance) Black rage. Intersectionality. What more do you need?
When I was in 3rd grade I was gifted my first book over 200 pages. My copy of Little Women was huge and had very few pictures, but I ended up reading the book in about a week. Little Women is one of those classic books that you could read over and over at different points in your life and still learn new things. Through this life changing book I learned about sisterhood, love, death, and not being afraid to follow my dreams, even if it meant leaving my comfort zone. It was through this book that I learned the importance of being yourself, even if it meant that people wouldn’t understand. I’m very grateful I got those life lessons at such a young age.
Like most high school students, I was introduced to Toni Morrison when I had to read The Bluest Eye in English class. A few years later I stumbled across Song of Solomon and decided to write a book report on the novel. Honestly, I don’t remember where I found the book and thinking back, I probably would have never chose it to analyze. It was by far the hardest report I have ever written. Reading the book was easy, but when it came to time to find archetypes, character developments, and themes, I was challenged beyond belief. If you’ve ever read the book you know that Milkman and his family were complex characters. It was through this book I learned how far my mind could go. Reading Toni Morrison has helped me become a more creative and think further than the surface.
I’ve only seen like one episode of “Iyanla Fix My Life” and I’m pretty that was the episode with DMX. The show never really held my attention, and honestly I think it waters down her written work. After a bad break up in college a friend recommended In The Meantime. I can still picture myself reading this self help book on the bus and fighting back tears because I didn’t want to cry in front of strangers. This book helped me regain parts of my identity that was lost when the break up happened. I still make sure I “clean out my basement” before any new experience. It was through this book I learned how important it is to be a whole before entering a relationship. In addition to all I learned from In The Meantime, Iyanla Vanzant introduced me to daily affirmations. Affirmations are a huge part of my life and I still read Until Today every time I need some extra motivation.
As I said before, I read my way through childhood and Judy Bloom was my main source. Around the same time I got my copy of Little Women, my mom’s friend’s daughter gave me a box full of books she had outgrown and one of the first books I cam across was Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? Judy Bloom made getting a period seem like the most intriguing thing in the world and as an early bloomer, I appreciated the comfort I felt from reading her books. My next book was Deenie. I still get teary eyed when I think about her story. Reading Deenie gave me comfort in being different and reminded me that I was cool no matter how different I was. Honestly, it gave me compassion for people with disabilities and people who may not be able to care for themselves. After those two books I became a bit obsessed with Judy Bloom and read most of her collection throughout 4th and 5th grade. I was not like other kids growing up and Judy Bloom books were my comfort.
Creating this list makes me want to jump on Amazon and buy all the books I don’t own. Reading has always been a major part of my life and I just want to say, Thanks Ladies! for teaching lessons through your work.