This one's for the book hoarders, the half-finishers, and the multi-taskers who start multiple books at once. I know I can't be the only one. Hopefully, I'm not. Anyways, I wanted to share some of the books that caught my eye for the year. I tend to gravitate towards household economics, reproductive politics and other sociological theories, and self-help books. Yes, self-help books. I know, I know. My inner middle-agedness is showing. But can you blame me?? (Yes, you can). And you can read on too.
I. What a Time to be Alone
I was beyond excited once I finally got my hands on one of Ms. Eggerue's copies. Here's one of my favorite quotes from the book: "People will always find a way to notice with a message that nudges their conscience. It's not your job to make people feel better about themselves. It's not your job to silence your truth in fear of awakening someone else's insecurities. No matter what shape you twist your mouth in when you speak, someone will still feel attacked. Focus on your truth, focus on your message, focus on you. People will heal when they're ready." Reeking of self-possession interwoven with Nigerian proverbs, this is a must-read for anyone who has eyes.
II. Opting Out: Losing the Potential of America's Young Black Elite
This one hits pretty close to home. Part of Beasley's thesis is that social networks during college (namely elite schools like Berkeley and Stanford) and career aspirations afterward are partially to blame for the racial wealth gap. It explains the black student attrition from STEM careers and into more racialized, lower-paying fields. For this reason, I'd recommend this for those in high school and in college.
III. The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers are Going Broke
I started reading this book after someone I follow on Twitter posted about it. More importantly, it falls under my interest in family economics and sociology. So far, I've learned about the perverse incentives for families that have women who entered the workforce. Apparently, without a stay-at-home mother and with an extra income, these families increased spending for their households and childcare. Warren also talks about residential segregation and educational gaps informed by parental income level. Another must-read for folks who want to avoid familial patterns from earlier generations.
IV. Erotic Engine: How Pornography has Powered Mass Communications, from Gutenberg to Google
Sex sells. But why does it sell? How does sex drive our technological advancement? This read gives a historical view of the old adage 'sex sells,' from 40,000-year sex jokes inside caves to virtual worlds and the mass spread of the internet. The pornography industry has consistently been first in line to adopt new technology, acting as both the crash dummy and catalyst for new avenues in the technological and communications industries. This may be a good read for folks interested in art history, technology, and communications with a provocative twist.
V. All the Rage: Mothers, Fathers, and the Myth of Equal Partnership
I found this gem in the recommended section on my Amazon browser history. (Amazon knows me pretty well. Well, the algorithms do, at least). With recent conversations about emotional labor and household contributions (respective to income), I've been more interested in learning about these partnerships, especially with women in demanding careers.
VI. The Second Shift: Working Families and the Revolution at Home
Speaking of unequal partnerships, research has shown that even though women have entered the workforce, their spouses still get to have their cake and eat it too. Working mothers tend to take on more than their fair share of chores, likely to compensate for going against the patriarchal grain. This book and the one above give deeper insight into this sociological phenomenon.
I started this book a while back and have yet to finish. I decided that during some of my downtimes at work I'll read a few pages on my Kindle app. So far, it's one of the three books I have in my reading queue. I told y'all I like to jump from book to book. Even though I'm nowhere near the end, the pages I've read have inspired me beyond belief. I can't wait to finish! (Eventually).
VIII. How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics: From Welfare Reform to Foreclosure to Trump (Reproductive Justice: A New Vision for the 21st Century)
Knowing the history of Dr. J. Marion Sims and current statistics of black maternal mortality, this book piqued my interest quite a bit. The table of contents shows an entire chapter dedicated to reproductive technology and black maternal mortality, my primary public health interests. I can't wait to see how technology, economics, and #45 play into the public health crises black women experience.
VIV. All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation
This one is vaguely related to Ms. Eggerue's What a Time to Be Alone. When it comes to learning about egalitarian relationships and their surrounding myths, I like to also consider the alternative: living alone. Research shows that women tend to benefit more from being alone than in a binding contract and this book will surely provide the deeper insight I crave.
IX. No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not to Have Children
More kids, more costs. No kids, no problems. I'd tell you about the memorable moment I had a while back with an older customer presuming I had kids and that I would change my mind after finding out otherwise. That's a whole 'nother blog post in itself. But I look forward to reading this book later in the year for this reason.
X. The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies (The William G. Bowen Series)
This is another gem that I found scrolling down my TL. Diversity is obviously an advantage for everyone in society. However, I'm always looking for evidence to back up my arguments for (or against) related conversations. I'm not sure of what else I'll gain from this book but I'm glad to add to my knowledge base.
Which of these books will you try this year? What do you plan to read otherwise? Comment below!