BOOKS, BOOKS, AND MORE BOOKS. THE SUMMER BOOK LIST - BY KARA NAYDYHOR
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To begin, allow me to sprinkle on your brain some of the greatest minds in modern history take on reading and books...
What follows is my love letter to books, reading, and telling stories...because to me, all three of those things are one and the same...despite history which shows us that reading is a relatively NEW human skill, I find the 3 are intertwined and I do so intentionally. I remember most libraries I have been in, the smell is always what bubbles up first from memory, that musty, umami depth that made my primordial brain mooooooove within my soul, my parents would let me wonder the stacks endlessly, in fact they would drop me off for hours while they ran errands before I could drive myself. I never sat in one spot and read just one book, I would randomly crack books that caught my eye, read a couple of chapters and then moved to a different section. I loved them all, I read history, fiction, Sci Fi, non fiction, maps...I was an equal opportunity devouring demon that would ALWAYS stick my nose into the really old books and just inhale, my second favorite part was taking out the "check out card" and study the names and signatures of the people who came before me...I invented stories about them and tried to imagine what kind of person they were to like any particular book. My best papers in college were written in libraries, books are always along for my adventures....I read the entire Wheel of TIme Series by Robert Jordan while spending every day all day with the twins for 85 days in NICU, I took Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Road by Cormac McCarthy and more on my month long honeymoon hiking across Iceland giving them away to the families we stayed with across that island nation as I completed them after long days of hiking, my husband's wedding vows to me include a line from the book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, mine is a life intentionally braided together with this belief that reading is the single most important "thing" one can do to foster intelligence, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, empathy, love, perspective, and so much more. I always joke that my house is a bit like "Kamar-Taj" from Dr Strange and I'm the Ancient One or probably more like Wong the appointed librarian where "knowledge in Kamar-Taj is not forbidden, only certain practices", and with that quote, I lead you to what I'm really trying to get across with this writing....stories/books/writing are lies, are truth, are perspectives, are foibles, are historical accounts, are multiple or one version of an event....they can be anything, reading REQUIRES discernment and contemplation. I have no interest in shielding the bad, difficult, the ugly...CENSORSHIP is the first weapon of the evil, and we have all been a part of that in one form or another. I only understood the true journey of the American Slave by reading accounts of plantation life, books after escaping, and collected essays on the horrors and risks Black Americans took to survive like the writings of Frederick Douglass or Harriet Tubman. I only understood the Jewish race thru their tales of diaspora since ancient times, reading their tales of love and sacrifice in Nazi Germany. I only value Women's Rights as much as I do due to reading Suffragist pamphlets, heck I only understand the Constitution as I do from reading the personal letters, the illegal pamphlets circulated by penalty of death at the time of our nation's fight for independence, and researching every single signatory of the Bill of Rights and their reasons why....and most importantly, reading to understand we have left people behind and we have as a country not lived up to those standards, that there is work to be done, reading helps me to see beyond my own reality to the messy, complicated experiences that is being a human on planet Earth. We all need to write (even if it is bad), we all need to read for entertainment, for education, for intentional opposing opinions, we all need to be the standard we seek to see in our society...we have so much to fix from the last few decades of American life and for me, books have been leading the way in the changes I am making to live in this world. So I encourage you to turn off the TV for one whole week and read something with your children, read something for yourself, read something that you disagree with, and read something that sets your brain on fire!
Below are some of my favorites for the different categories I have challenged you to read for;