Saturday, January 5, 2019

Reading More in 2019

One of my goals for 2019 is to read for leisure more. These are the books I read for leisure in 2018 (two of which are somewhat related to my work but were not read for classes or research specifically) and some of my thoughts on them. I welcome any book recommendations! I typically lean toward non-fiction but am open to any recommendations.

1. The New Jim Crow (Michelle Alexander): I started this in 2017 and finished it over the summer. I knew about many of these issues before, but I learned a lot more about the connections between Jim Crow-era laws, the War on Drugs, racism, and modern-day mass incarceration as a result of reading this book. I definitely recommend it!

2. Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates): A collection of essays to his teenage son, Coates uses his prose to discuss the realities of being Black in the United States. This is a literary form I don't typically gravitate towards, but I really enjoyed this book. Coates brings a very personal lens to issues of race and inequity in a powerful and very compelling way.

3. Why People Die by Suicide (Thomas Joiner): This book was most relevant to my own research. One of the leading names in Suicidology, Dr. Joiner discusses his interpersonal theory of suicide. I reference and cite it often and recommend it for anyone interested in suicide prevention work.

4. iGen (Jean Twenge): This is the one I feel most conflicted about. Dr. Twenge's main argument is that the post-millennial generation is growing up more slowly, more depressed (and suicidal), and less prepared for adulthood due in large part to smart phones and social media. While I agree with some of her points, she cherry-picks studies supporting her pre-conceived viewpoints, overly relies on correlational research to draw causal conclusions, and comes to conclusions that tend to contradict each other. I would classify this as pop psychology and approach it with caution.

5. White Fragility (Robin DiAngelo): Dr. DiAngelo powerfully discusses privilege and the ways in which it inhibits us from confronting racism--particularly in ourselves--and does so with stunning clarity. I haven't quite finished the book yet as it's very stirring and requires a lot of self-reflection and introspection, but I have learned so much from it.

6. War on Peace (Ronan Farrow): As I've been increasingly interested in foreign policy and diplomacy, this book was a great way to start. Dr. Farrow discusses the increased militarization of American foreign policy and the decline of diplomacy. It was a fascinating read going back several administrations and his writing style kept me intrigued throughout.