This week, I was thinking about books that have a substantial impact on me. Quite a few of these books have been nonfiction works or memoirs that hold a special place on my brain and continue to echo their impact in my life and way of thinking. They are mostly all also very US-centric, so I’m looking forward to reading more nonfiction works in the future that feature authors and issues of other countries and cultures. For now though, here are some of the nonfiction works that have truly stuck with me since I first read them.
“This book is meant to tell the story of Indian lives, and Indian histories, in such a way as to render those histories and those lives as something much more, much greater and grander, than a catalog of pain.”
I read this book a couple years ago and truly have not been the same since. This non-fiction work by Ojibwe author David Treuer tells the history of Native American life from the Wounded Knee massacre to present, with personal anecdotes interspersed throughout. This is a great place to start if you a curious about learning of the effect of colonialism on indigenous people in the US and forming a framework of knowledge about this topic. I truly think this is a must-read for people living in the United States.
I think about the things that I learned from this book so often as I live my life on land that was plundered from indigenous tribes. It’s quite a hefty book, but one that I am so glad that I read and that I plan on revisiting in the future.
“When I talk about owning eloquent rage as your superpower, it comes with the clear caveat that not everyone is worth your time or your rage.”
This is a book I have been wanting to reread for quite some time. It taught me so much the first time I read it several years ago and has continued to influence my thought processes on many issues. Brittney Cooper is a phenomenal writer and discusses feminism, respectability politics, systemic oppression, and more in a way that is understandable and intersectional. To say that I was angry reading her essays and experiences is a bit of an understatement. Just looking at the quotes from this collection on Goodreads is jogging my memory on how hard-hitting her writing is. Moving this one farther up on my TBR asap!
“In the United States, we have never been taught how noncompliant, insistent, furious women have shaped our history and our present, our activism and our art. We should be.”
Continuing on the topic of “women’s anger”, I first read Good and Mad around the same time I read Eloquent Rage. Traister discusses the the power the collective anger of women has had on politics and society throughout history and the attempts to stifle this anger to prevent change. She also doesn’t shy away from discussing when women’s anger impacted others in a less than positive way. Also, another win for intersectionality! It annoys me so much when non-fiction books ignore non-white issues and figures, but Good and Mad does not do this at all. Reading this book made me feel powerful and angry and I will be revisiting the audiobook of it sometime soon.
Are there any nonfiction works that have remained in your mind since you first read them? Anything that has had a lasting impact on you? Let me know in the comments so I can add some more books to my TBR!