Continued from Part 1.
Also I found the blog post that inspired me to write my own list. Amazing what Googling a title in the clear thinking of coffee will do.
Anyway, on to the books.
7) The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf — Unlike some of the other books on this list, The Beauty Myth did not inspire me to further love and following of Wolf’s writing. Still, it was the first time I’d stopped to consider just how very many resources are tied up in convincing us to prioritize pretty over all else.
8) The Baby-Sitters Club #1: Kristi’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin — Laugh if you must. There was a summer with a baby-sitter where I was almost too old for baby-sitters, certainly thought I was too old for baby-sitters and all these other little kids, but in reality was not actually old enough to stay home alone. My sitter’s daughter allowed me access to her shelf of BSC books when it became apparent that the book-a-day I brought for myself was not going to be sufficient.
9) The Bible in a combination of King James Version and New International Version — No, not all of it all of it, but most, over a period of years. It’s much difficult for someone to defend bigotry with, “But Jesus said…” if I can counter with, “No, He didn’t. Show me.”
10) Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott — I read this book when I was trying to figure out how to go from writing as a very private thing I did, where I never showed anyone, to writing as a more public act, where I actually wanted people to read. But of course I was terrified that they’d laugh and I’d discover that I’d been “doing it wrong” the whole time. And I read Bird by Bird precisely when I needed the permission that the “Shitty First Drafts” chapter had to give. I’m not going to sit here and say that if I’d never read it, I wouldn’t be writing today. But it was sympathy for how difficult, intellectually and emotionally, writing can be — and encouragement to just write anyway.
11) Lies My teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen — (Except I’ve only read the original 1995 edition.) The first edition came out when I was going through my phase of, “I am right; all these grown ups are wrong. Therefore I will pretend to listen, but really they can’t teach me anything.” It was nice to have a book that validated that, even in part and even if for different reasons. Additionally, as it turns out, some — okay, a metric fuckton — of my parochial school education came with a hefty dose of bias. Lies My Teacher Told Me helps me remember that I want to be as complete and impartial with my students as I can. I don’t promise that my remarks are never biased, but I do my best to teach them how to think — how to find information, how to evaluate information and viewpoints, how to synthesize information to draw the best conclusions they can — and not what to think.