It’s nearly been a month since I last posted and I’m all out of excuses as to why I haven’t written anything in 27 some days. Writing to me is a rather lonely task; one which forces me to confront the thoughts occupying my mind. It’s easy to avoid any kind of thinking at all, with the convenience of an increasingly addictive pull; the internet. I could lose myself on Amazon forever; in fact, that’s precisely how I spent the last few hours. Now, I’ve had an attention deficiency problem my whole entire life, and the internet only makes it worse. I could start with my homework at 3 pm, go down a google black-hole and find it impossible to retrieve myself, until several hours later.
Nevertheless, here are the books I read in November:
1. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
This is a graphic-memoir, along the lines of Blankets by Craig Thompson, where instead of a religious small-town upbringing at the heart of it, dysfunctional family dynamics are explored. Both novels, explore themes of growing up, maturation and coming to terms with the reality of every-day existence.
However, whilst Blankets is one of my favorite reads of this year, Fun Home isn’t. Bechdel’s art and style are thoroughly enjoyable, but it seemed to me that she was perhaps trying a little (read: very) hard to sound deep and philosophical; every page had moments worthy of eyerolls. Bechdel ultimately comes off sounding dishonest and pretentious. Fun Home simply didn’t pull at my heartstrings the way Blankets did.
2. All About Love by bell hooks
This is a work of nonfiction by social activist & feminist bell hooks. She explores love and romantic relationships from a feminist perspective and answers the question that we’ve all wanted the answer to; what do we talk about when we talk about love?
This is easily one of my favorite reads of the year (substantiated by the fact that I read it three times, back to back). I absolutely adore hooks’ writing style, which is clear, crisp and succinct and I shall always be in constant admiration of her ability to break down complex theory into digestible chunks whilst providing sociologically relevant examples of the same.
3. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
I first watched Brown’s TED talk back in mid-2016 and it’d be no exaggeration to say that it completely changed my life. I owe much of who I am today to that talk, which was my first introduction to her & the work that she does.
This book is essentially an expanded version of her TED talk, which is not to say that it doesn’t have any merit of its own, but rather that her talk is a wonderful companion to her book.
Brown’s research is one of those truly perspective-altering, life-changing things out there. Whilst a lot of it might seem perfectly rational and commonsensical, the extent to which our willingness to be vulnerable and our ability to embrace imperfection is analyzed and comprehended by Brown, only adds to our understanding of human nature and deepens our will to be better.
4. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
This book is so captivating and well written that I read it over the course of a day; I simply couldn’t put it down.
Gladwell does, what I can only refer to as a completely fantastic job of substantiating the hypothesis that our disadvantages shape our road to success in unexpected ways and that often overlooked things like, where we’re from and when we were born can have profound effects on our paths to success. What I found most fascinating was his emphasis on opportunity creating, without which the world would miss out on the most brilliant of minds.