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Books Worth Reading – Early 2018

These are the books I’ve read and enjoyed in the first three months of 2018. The majority of these books were for my American History or German Literature course, but they were enjoyable enough to share with you all!

I’ve been involved in classes, student organizations, activism, tutoring, and research so I haven’t been able to read as much as I would like to! Hoping to have a longer list for the next few months.

 

Nonfiction

Courage to Soar by Simone Biles

simone bilesI was a gymnast for the majority of my life. It taught me so much from dedication to flexibility.

Simone Biles covers that and so much more. Her background is just as interesting as her experience in the Olympic Village!

Simone’s entrance into the gymnastics world started on a daycare field trip in her hometown of Spring, Texas, but no one could’ve known that 19 medals were in store for her. In this book, Simone takes you through the events, challenges, and trials that carried her from an early childhood in foster care to a coveted spot on the 2016 Olympic team. Her attitude along the way really inspired me to let negative comments roll off my back and put my dreams into action!

Once There Was a War by John Steinbeck

steinbeckReading this really humanized the people on all sides of WWII. War is not something I understand as I am nonviolent in nature, but through reading this book, I’ve come to understand how people can be swept up in war.

This book is a collection of articles written by John Steinbeck while he was a special war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune from June to December 1943. Steinbeck’s articles include descriptions of life on a troop transporter, a description of how homesick US soldiers tried and failed to grow their native vegetables in the English gardens, and so many other narratives that would have been lost without Steinbeck.

Despite being nonfiction, this book reveals Steinbeck’s way of storytelling. He did not focus on individuals, but I still felt connected to the characters people. This is one of his less well-known works, but not for good reason! I definitely recommend reading this!

Semicolon Project: Your Story Isn’t Over

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Project Semicolon began in 2013 to spread a message of hope: No one struggling with a mental illness is alone. In support of the project and its message, thousands of people all over the world have gotten semicolon tattoos and shared photos of them (you can see mine in the photo!).

Project Semicolon: Your Story Isn’t Over reveals dozens of new portraits and stories from people of all ages and all backgrounds talking about what they have survived. This book represents a new step in the movement and a new awareness around those who are affected by mental illness. The stories in the book break stereotypes while also not excluding those who fit into the stereotypes, which is unusual for a campaign to be able to combine those two aspects.

Learn more about the project at projectsemicolon.com!

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

woundedknee

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is Dee Brown’s classic  account of the systematic destruction of the Native American during the second half of the nineteenth century. As pointed out in the book, it is rare to hear the other side of the story that did not make it into the history books of my childhood. The information comes from council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions. The point of view is not limited to one tribe, but instead covers quite a few in depth and dozens are mentioned in the book.

Just as with Once There Was a War and Project Semicolon, this book shines light on narratives that would otherwise be lost.

I was very glad this was required reading in my American history course this year and think anyone learning about or interested in the western frontier in American history should read this.

 

Fiction

I have been slacking on my fiction reading recently. Nonfiction is definitely what I am drawn to more, but I love fiction too!

The Physicists by Friedrich Dürrenmatt

physiker

The Physicists tells of the world’s greatest physicist, Johann Wilhelm Möbius, in a madhouse, haunted by recurring visions of King Solomon. He is kept company by two other equally deluded scientists: one who thinks he is Einstein, the other who believes he is Newton. The hunchbacked Doctor Mathilde von Zahnd is there psychiatrist, but she might be just as crazy as (if not more than) the rest of them.

This is one of the strangest things I’ve ever read, but it did effectively show me not to trust anything I read or hear. (Not that the current American government has not taught me that already.)

When you think you know what is about to happen, you don’t.


Did some reading over spring break with my friend Marissa as seen in the picture at the top! Check out her blog!


Let me know if you read or have read these books and what you think! Let me know if you guys have any books I should check out!

Language Learning!

To share the message of environmental advocacy and helping others, I need to connect with people all over this great Earth! I think one way to connect with people all over the world is to learn other languages.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

-Nelson Mandela

This is why I hate the misconception that everyone should learn English and native English-speakers should not learn a second/foreign language! Learning the native language of others can teach you a lot about the culture and history of the people who speak the language. It also allows others to open up in ways they might not in English.

When it comes to language learning, reading books about grammar and memorizing vocabulary can only get you so far! I have decided to start posting on another wordpress blog I have created. I will hopefully start posting daily in one of my target languages.

I will be primarily focusing on German and Mandarin Chinese because I will hopefully be both in Germany and China within the next year studying abroad.

I have taken German for four years now and it has been almost four years since I last formally studied Chinese. I bet you can guess that my German is much better than my Chinese! In Chinese I am not very good at writing and have primarily focused on speaking so feedback will be beyond helpful! Then, in German I have only ever written about academic subjects like literature and history so I am practicing sounding like a person instead of a textbook so I am definitely hoping for feedback on my German as well!

Some of my friends who are also interested in language learning like Marissa will be joining me there too!

If you’re interested in checking it out, it is bonantagulo.wordpress.com 🙂 And don’t worry, I will still be posting on this blog as well! I try to have well-formulated ideas before posting here, so the frequency of this blog will still stay well below daily. Nevertheless, I do check it frequently so feel free to get in contact with me!