Tuesday, June 30, 2020

June Books

I can't believe my goal of reading 17 books in 2017 (ha, I ended up with 88 in 201777 in 2018 and 67 in 2019!) has morphed into this passion for books. As you can see, my reading has slowed a bit, but my love for books has not! In the past couple years I've added longer distance races (which means more time running/ training and less time reading), we've remodeled our condo (I think it legit took us six months to finish the whole thing... DIY seems to take twice as long {and cost twice as much} as you originally think it will), and I've added another part time job (which means I'm now working 40ish hours a week, cutting down on my reading time). Even still, I love getting my read on whenever I can.

Truth be told, I was never much of a reader when I was younger (CliffsNotes were my best friend when it came to books), but recently I fell in love. Although I may not read at the same speed as I previously did when I first caught the reading bug, I still want to keep the hobby going (and what better form of accountability than to post a list of the books I finished at the end of the month?!). I don't have any set number of books I am shooting to read this year, but hopefully a lack of goal doesn't mean a lack of books completed. So, without further ado, let's jump into everything I read in June!

  • So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo - With all that is going on in the world, I wanted to make sure I was educating myself on the struggles Blacks face on a daily basis. I had seen this book recommended on a few lists and I was able to grab it on my Hoopla audiobook app. The hubby and I started listening to it together on our drive to hike San Jacinto (he fell asleep on the way home and then I finished it while walking on my lunch breaks, but don't worry, he is still planning on listening to what he missed). Ijeoma not only gives it to you straight when it comes to the realities of racism, power and oppression, but she also offers hope and ways to overcome - including dialogue. I will be honest, this isn't an easy read. At times it is harsh and blunt, and it forces you to truly take a look in the mirror, but it is necessary. I can't recommend this book enough to those folks wanting to be an ally, wanting to make change, wanting to dive into the racist system and environment in which they have been raised. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi - I will mention this from the jump, because it can sometimes turn people away from picking up a book in the first place - this is long. I listened to the audio version and it was over 18.5 hours long. With that said, it is important, it is necessary. The author takes a deep dive into the racist ideas intricately woven into America. While I was thinking about the length of time I was spending listening to this history, I was thinking that throughout my 18 YEARS of schooling (I went to pre-school for two years before starting kindergarten and graduated from a four-year college after high school) I have to believe I spent less than 18.5 hours IN TOTAL learning about Black history. Maybe you would get a lesson a year taught about slavery or civil rights, but other than that there wasn't much... And, to be completely honest, I never thought anything about it... which is white privilege TO A T! History, as I'm sure you know, is always told by "the winners" and they spin it in whatever light shows them the best. I am grateful that this author took the time to not only dive into this excruciatingly painful history, but sets the record straight when it comes to many of the people and actions taken. If you believe everyone has gotten or does get a fair shake at life, please take the time to listen (or read) this book. It is eye opening and blatantly obvious when the facts are laid bare how racist of a society America has been, is currently and will continue to be unless we demand change. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele - If you saw any of my pictures from our San Jacinto hike or read my blog post, then you probably noticed the sign that I wore on my hydration pack read Black Lives Matter. When I saw this book, a memoir written by one of the founders of the movement, I knew I wanted to give it a listen (I know the majority of the books I have "read" recently have been audiobooks, but that's because A. our library is still closed and B. I am able to listen to them on my walks to work, on my lunch break and when I'm riding the stationary bike). Patrisse opens her heart and world to the reader, inviting us in on her childhood and the realities of not only growing up Black (as well as female and queer), but also as a social activist. From start to finish this book is filled with love (for her family, for her community) and honesty. I appreciate Patrisse's willingness to put these harsh realities down on paper so that others can learn from them and continue to enact change. This book, like others I have read this month, was an eye-opener and really forces you to confront the privileges that you may have been oblivious to in your life. I wish it was longer and included more about the BLM movement, but I did walk away with the understanding that it was founded on love, the desire for justice and demand for change. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

With that, June has come to a close. My reading may not be going gang-busters like it has in the past, but I hope it never completely stops. If you have any suggestions, let me know! I'm always willing to add them to my library wait list!

PS I created an Amazon list that includes all of the books I've read and would recommend to others. Check it out!

What was the best book you read this year?

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