I always hear people relive the stories of what it felt like to be called on to read aloud as a kid. Like this Dave Chappelle clip below:
Not me. I loved to read out loud. “Ohhh Dear God pleassseeee pick me!!! Please! Please! Please!” I would pray as the elementary school teacher scanned the room.
I couldn’t wait to fall into character and read until I heard that dreaded command, “Stop.”
While I don’t share that sentiment with many people, it’s nice to know that as I’ve gotten older, the sentiments around reading have evolved. Thankfully for me, the older that I get, the more I am meeting people who love to dive into a book or essay, even if their eyes are crossing.
Naturally, as I’ve devoted more time to writing, I have also, in turn, spent more time reading. I love to read real-life stories about people who overcame extreme odds or blazed their own path so autobiographies and memoirs are my usual go to’s. I’m also obsessed with reading about new ways to become my best self, so I’ll pretty much read any self-help book thrown my way. In the past year or so I’ve opened myself up to reading a little bit of fiction. I’m still not a fan, but it’s nice to switch it up a bit.
Books have this distinct ability to draw an automatic connection between two people. It’s kind of like the “smokers” section… but way cooler. I’m beginning to discover that if I’m meeting someone for the first time and we can find a mutual interest in a particular book we’ve read, it’s an automatic jumpstart on the relationship. I’m pretty sure the natural personal choice that goes into selecting reading material is the basic explanation for it.
For instance, The last 3 books I read?
- We’re Going To Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson
- Sophia of Silicon Valley by Anna Yen
Current books in rotation?
- The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins
- Love Letters & Lighter Fluids by Brennan Colleen
- Hunger by Roxane Gay
Books in the cannon?
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
- The Autobiography of Gucci Mane by Gucci Mane, Neil Martinez-Belkin
- The Soul of Money by Lynn Twist
(Judge me by the Gucci Mane biography if you want. I heard it was actually kind of amazing. Plus after all my years working in the hip-hop industry, I’m still a Trap Queen in my head.)
But for real, what do my current reading choices say about me? I’m young, ambitious, and a little random. An appropriate conclusion in my mind. In all three sections, I inadvertently have one culturally/socially relevant “fun” read. I have one personal or business development choice and one book that will tug at my emotions. My reading rounds basically look like personal enjoyment, professional development, and a WILD card.
My reading choices generally reflect whatever I’m going through at the moment. If that “moment” in time is the same for a new person I’m connecting with, we’re already a leg up on our “instant connection.” In fact, can we start a dating site from this book choice theory? Although I’m sure it already exists. (If it does, leave it in my comments below. Lol)
A friend of mine reads in rounds of business development, memoirs, and fiction. She’s a boss babe, who believes she can solve world peace by Friday at 5 pm. I connected to her almost instantly because I too believe I can do anything. My mom reads almost all fiction but in the romance, sci-fi, & vampire categories. She’s a creative, resourceful, and totally dramatic. I turn to her instinctively for all “Oh crap, now what?” moments. Her adventure stories always keep her mind active. It’s true.
So now, here we are, halfway down a blog and you still don’t know why you’re here. Well, I tasked myself with creating a monthly reading list for this blog, but I don’t feel completely comfortable recommending books based only on what I like. (Or what I am going through at the moment). What I may deem as an excellent reading suggestion, may not be for you.
Instead, I have collected suggestions from 5 people in my life. I’ve included a brief description of them through my eyes and then list their book choice. Worried about taking my advice? Take whoever’s you want. Just get reading!
(FYI- while reading my Ashley-sized psycho analogy on these people, note their book recommendations and what you think it might say about their current status or positioning in life. It’s quite amazing.)
Client X: Major investment banking powerhouse. He works long days and hours filled with tons of global travel. He likely sees 3 countries a month and his family 3 times a month. Time is money, and he makes a lot of it.
What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson. But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day. A straightforward, easy-to-understand introduction to the laws that govern the universe.*
Friend X: She moves through the New York Times Best Sellers list like it’s her ever-changing Instagram feed. Anytime a new book makes an entrance, she’s on it. She’s a super feminist who is not afraid to get in the trenches to help drive her very liberal viewpoints.
Her choice: The Nightengale by Kristin Hannah
With courage, grace, and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France — a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.*
Sister: She’s young, ambitious, smart and determined. She’s a current college student at Vanderbilt. She majors in Economics with a minor in Financial Economics and African American diaspora studies. My sister is dedicated to her ambitions and improving life for people of color. She understands her self-worth & will not stop short of achieving her goals.
Her choice: Women Who Are Difficult To Love by Warsan Shire
Warsan Shire is a multi-talented Somali-British writer and teacher. She was born in Kenya, but immigrated to the UK at the age of 1. Shire is acclaimed for her poetry, the most famous of which is titled “For Women Who Are Difficult To Love.” She is the author of two poetry collections: 2011’s Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth and 2015’s Her Blue Body. For Beyoncé’s LEMONADE HBO special, Shire adapted several of her poems to the screen. The poems were narrated by Beyoncé and featured throughout the film. Among other accolades, Shire was named the 2013–2014 Young Poet Laureate of London and received the African Poetry Prize.
Boss: She’s a young CEO with a plethora of books to recommend. She’s a mom, a wife, and a self-proclaimed feminist who believes she can take over the world. It’s often hard to tell whether her priority is work or family because she operates both as a business.
This unique and fundamentally liberating book shows us that examining our attitudes toward money — earning it, spending it, and giving it away — can offer surprising insight into our lives, our values, and the essence of prosperity.*
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, but I believe my theory stands. 🙂 A person’s book recommendation is typically a reflection of their mood, current space, or outlook on life. I have presented you with 5 different personality types, 10 combined recommended books, and 1 choice to make.
*All book synopsis from Barnes & Nobles Website.