The way my reading habits have changed comes down to one fact: I read more non-fiction! I hated non-fiction for a long time and automatically thought it was boring/only for school. Ever since the election I’ve become determined to read more broadly and understand how the world works, specifically with politics (like Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff), but also historical topics (like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot), and micro business and politics (like The Oyster War by Summer Brennan).
Most of my non-fiction reading prior to the election was limited to memoirs, or the aforementioned school required reading, so now that I understand there’s a whole other category of books that I can get my hands on, about topics that interest me, I feel like a wealth of information is open to me that I had previously blocked because of ignorance.
It’s almost as if I changed my habits to come to terms with the fact that the president is a liar and I am searching for the truth (except Fire and Fury is not the best example of that, but at least I was able to know enough to make that determination). So I turned to The Death of Truth by Michiko Kakutani to explain why the president lies SO MUCH. For further understanding, I read a book about how our healthcare system fails those who need the most dental work in Teeth by Mary Otto. In a similar vein, I picked up Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance because I wanted to read more on middle America (this was less helpful than I thought since I had grown up in a town like the author described, so it was easier for me to understand Trump’s voter base). Or even the book Squeezed by Alissa Quart. This is a book about impossible living standards across America–I was particularly motivated to read it because I have a lot of student loans. There’s one chapter about this, but a lot of the book focuses on how much child care costs and how companies do not account for this, plus how it is even harder for immigrants to navigate this space. Do I have a child? Not at all, but I was fascinated by how the lives of others are impacted by societal norms and the lack of government programs that might be able to help those that need it.
I also started reading more on personal finance and self-help, like All Your Worth by Elizabeth Warren, which is a great start to understanding finances and making a budget, and Weird in a World That is Not by Jennifer Romolini, that tackles how even the most useless skills could be applied to different careers, or how not all career paths are straight forward. Even Youtuber Lilly Singh’s book How to Be Bawse, touches on these topics, too. Finding your inner strengths and motivating yourself not to give up on your goals.
Further to the books I’ve managed to read, I’ve also added a ton of non-fiction to my to-read list, like Fascism by Madeleine Albright, Dark Money by Jane Mayer, Fear by Bob Woodward, The Multi-Hyphen Method by Emma Gannon, Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte, Becoming by Michelle Obama, and What Happened by Hillary Clinton, among others. Understanding the political landscape is more important to me than ever and I’ve been using my library to read a lot of these books. I’m not the only one, the publishing industry also has a rabid fascination with books about Trump and understanding the Trump White House, some of the bestsellers from the past two years are an answer to the call to try and understand this chaotic political climate a bit better.
My usual reads are usually in the fantasy genre, an escape from whatever is going on in the world, but at the same time, I have the capacity to think critically about the world around me. I’m no longer standing idly by while politicians make decisions for me. This change in my reading habits is going to be a more permanent change, but I’m very grateful that I’ve opened my eyes to the wider world.
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