I love to read. I started reading at a very young age- my parents say I was around 3 years old, and my life hasn’t been the same since. For years, I received gift cards for any and every possible occasion, and they were always to a bookstore. My parents, while excited about my love for reading were always dismayed at the gift cards because they knew that going to a bookstore with me would be a LONG adventure. To this day, my parents refuse to accompany me to any bookstore, saying, “I mean, Erin, I just don’t want to be there ALL day.”
As a future educator (pending the outcome of these Praxis II Scores- y’all keep praying for that), I understand the importance of reading. And I don’t think that I can begin to explain my frustration when I look at people’s profiles on The Facebook and it says something like “I don’t read/Reading is Wack/etc…” If you’re on The Facebook, chances are you’ve read SOMETHING- and you probably liked it. But I guess it’s not cool to be a reader, or you know, an academic. God forbid you actually use and expand upon the intelligence and abilities that helped you get into college in the first place.
But, I digress. In today’s Durham Herald Sun, I found this article which talks about the Stanford L. Warren Branch Library, on Fayetteville Street in Durham. While I’ve only been in the library once, I’ve passed it so many times in my life; as it’s location is very close to my grandmother’s church. At any rate, the article tells the history of the library, and states that today marks the 90th anniversary of the beginning of public library services for blacks in Durham County.
Thinking of that, I guess I feel that we’ve gotten a little too comfortable with our situation. I think that we forget that it used to be a crime to teach blacks how to read. I think that we forget that even today, people believe that the best way to hide information from blacks is to put it in a book. I think that we forget that people fought and died for rights and services such as the one mentioned above. Yesterday my pastor indicated that our generation is in a problematic situation because we have, in some ways, been disserviced by our families; taught that we have made it to the promised land, when in fact, we have not. Thus, we have a sense of entitlement; and we feel that we are owed certain things, that we should actually be fighting to achieve.
All that said, I’ma close with some of my favorite books…and I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or your favorite books too!
Some of my Favorite Books (Not in any particular order after the first one):
1. The Bible (yeah, all 66 books, but I’m really partial to the New Testament)
2. The Purpose Driven Life
3. The Dream Giver
4. Savage Inequalities
5. The Autobiography of Malcolm X
6. Pride and Prejudice
7. The House of Mirth
8. A Raisin in the Sun
9. The Souls of Black Folk
10. Invisible Man
11. Native Son
12. East of Eden