It’s been less than eight months, and I have just finished my 100th book for the year. People think it’s quite crazy that I’m reading so much, or they think I simply don’t have a life (since when has reading become such a crime? Since…the beginning of time)-but everyone has time to pursue (and peruse) something. This obsession with reading has started from a young age; and in particular to this year, it’s been a desperate attempt at learning, healing, growing, and finding solidarity-with the authors, in fictional and real characters, in new concepts and ideas, etc. I truly feel that I have gained immense comfort, wisdom, and empathy from so many.
I learned so much in “The Radium Girls,” and it took me on an emotional roller coaster-so much so, that I started feeling physically sick myself as I empathized through their tortuous journeys. I teared up while reading both Elizabeth Smart’s books (“When There’s Hope” and “My Story”), and I commiserated with Madison Holleran’s (“What Made Maddy Run”) need to attain perfection. I wished that “The Nowhere Girls” were introduced to me in high school, I was shocked at the twist in “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” and consumed in the world of “The Dragon Queen.” Moreover, I was filled with sorrow in “The Heart’s Invisible Furies,” saw the humor in the suspenseful “The Broken Girls,” and got caught up in the riddles in “The Last Equation of Isaac Severy.”
Anthony Ray Hinton gave me immeasurable hope in “The Sun Does Shine,” Tyra Banks reminded me that indeed, “Perfect is Boring.” Rose McGowan, who inspired me during my college years when she talked about sexual assault, continues to be the quintessence of a truly “Brave” soul. I was moved by those who helped others in “Underground,” felt the minutes go by in “The Dazzling Heights,” and truly appreciated how art and simple lines also bring forth so much truth (“Adultolescence,” “Am I There Yet?” and “Helium” <where I was introduced to an old college friend’s poetic words>).
I have sought after and been able to see and laugh with authors who pierced my heart in “Pachinko” (Min Jin Lee), “Number One Chinese Restaurant” (Lillian Li), and “Make Trouble” (Cecile Richards)-protesters were outside as I entered the library to see the former president of Planned Parenthood speak.
I started reading to find solace in the sorrows I felt in 2017, and I continue to read with such fervor to keep engaging with others in healthy and inspiring ways. It’s all about being positive and fighting the good fight…and learning a thing or two along the way.