I have a pretty small attention span. In fact, I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that I’m actually ADD. But I’ve never been tested, so who knows? Due to my attention span (or lack thereof), I used to loathe reading. I just couldn’t make it through an entire book without getting bored halfway through, no matter how good/interesting the book was! But then I realized that I could create a reading cycle of sorts for myself. Why painfully wade through just one book when you can painlessly meander through several at the same time? It might make for a slower reading pace, but who’s to say that I have to read quickly anyway?
So now I simultaneously read at least three books (usually in different genres). Perhaps it’s also some weird, psychological issue–like I feel guilty for not reading more when I was younger or something? But whatever the case, I’ve finally developed a love for reading. So much so, that I even earned a degree in English. And as far as the issue of boredom goes? Boredom cured! Even if it takes me a long time to get through a book, reading more than one book at a time helps me actually reach the end (as opposed to giving up by, say, Chapter 6 or so). Here, then, is my current reading list. And yes, I’m really reading all four of these at the same time…and I will finish all of them! =)
A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn
I haven’t taken a U.S. History class since high school, but when I was still a student, one of my biggest complaints against every history textbook I ever encountered was the fact that these books were swayed to promote America as this amazing, practically flawless nation with truly Christian roots. Then a teacher of mine took a very different approach to teaching U.S. History and actually shared information with us that—gasp!—wasn’t in our very Christian, very nationalistic textbooks. To that teacher (Ms. P), I would like to say: THANK YOU!
A People’s History of the United States reminds me a lot of my 10th grade History class; it tells you the story of this country—flaws, controversies, and failures included. I’ll admit, I sometimes disagree with the late Howard Zinn (he was very much a leftist, and, while I have my share of liberal tendencies, he and I aren’t always on the same page). But he is incredibly open and honest about his “slant.” If I were a history teacher, I probably wouldn’t use A People’s History as the main textbook; the slant, in my opinion, is a little too much, but I still genuinely respect and admire the point(s) that Zinn makes here. His thoughts are truly a breath of fresh air, and his book tells you stories that many other history books refuse, for whatever reason, to tell. I for one have insane amounts of respect for people who do their homework, and Zinn clearly has! Thus, I am loving this book and recommend it to anyone who’s interested in reading a slightly different approach to the history of this great nation.
The White Book – Ken Mansfield
A few years ago, Ken Mansfield, former employee of Capitol Records (and the former manager of The Beatles!) spoke for a chapel at NU. He mentioned his book, but it took me this long to finally get my hands on a copy. The man has an incredible story himself, but he also knows the story of The Beatles in a way that most others probably don’t. The White Book is a compilation of very personal stories and experiences—memoirs, really—and is therefore much more than a measly biography of a band. Like Zinn does in A People’s History, Mansfield uses The White Book to give you glimpses into the music industry during the 60s in a way that is totally different than any other 60s/Beatles book (that I’ve ever read, at least). An excellent read (so far)!
Find Your Strongest Life – Marcus Buckingham
I kinda, sorta hate self-help books. But I’m currently at a place in my life where I—well…need help. A former teacher and current friend recommended this one, so I finally went out and purchased a copy. I can’t say too much about it just yet, as I’ve only read a couple of chapters, but so far I’m enjoying Buckingham’s writing style and overall approach to helping people find success and meaning in their lives. He’s very practical and honest and tackles important questions like: What’s my purpose? In which direction should my life go? Am I happy? (Not that happiness is the ultimate goal, but it’s still an important issue). And these are certainly questions that, as of late, have frequented my mind.
Have No Career Fear – Ben Cohen-Leadholm, Ari Gerzon-Kessler, Rachel Skerritt
Another self-help book, but this one really hits close to home, as it is written by and for college students who are (were…in the case of the authors) bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and scared out of their wits when it comes to entering the “real world.” The book provides tips on everything a new grad needs to know: résumé writing, networking, the application and interview process, even budgeting tips and tips on how to turn down an unwanted job offer–all while being relevant, practical, humorous, and a lot less dry and cliché than other “how to find a job” books that I’ve encountered. Again, I’m not done reading it, but I’m certainly enjoying it thus far.