Writing Life

On the Books That Expand Our Horizons

In times like these, with gun violence and bigotry running rampant in our home country, this social media manager has been thinking about reading as self care, and also as a perspective-expanding tool. Stories allow us to very-about-literally place ourselves in other person’s shoes—experience what they experience moving through the world.

Reading as Self Care

There’s a lot going on in the world, friends. From the injustices at the U.S. border, to flooding in the Midwest, to rising tensions with Iran and the earthquakes in nearby Ridgecrest…at times, it can get pretty overwhelming and anxiety-inducing.

In times like these, it can be important to hold on to the things that give you joy and, if you’re a book lover, you probably already know that reading is definitely one of those things. Curling up with a book can provide an opportunity to unplug, and a temporary escape into an entirely different world.

Migration & the Immigrant Experience in Literature

Any week is a good week to talk about the importance of—and need for—the representation of diverse experiences and voices in literature. For much of our history, the canon of literature has been largely white, largely male, largely straight—and very much centered around American and white European voices. But literature can also share the stories of those whose voices have been marginalized and Otherized: those whose stories (like all our stories) are at least in part shaped by their overlapping identities.

At this present moment, at this point in our country’s history, as many (often white, often male) people engage in xenophobia targeted at immigrants of color, we thought it would be a good moment to talk about a few books that center around individual immigrant experiences.

To help those navigating the U.S. immigration system, organizations like RAICES, The Bail Project, KIND (Kids In Need of Defense), and the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights all supply immigrants with legal aid and resources, and do worlds of good with the donations they receive.

Writer Spotlight: On the Inimitable Rebecca Solnit

Men Explain Things to Me. Hope In the Dark. A Field Guide to Getting Lost. Storming the Gates of Paradise. The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness. These are just a few of the titles written by the writer Rebecca Solnit, a brilliant prose writer, sharp cultural critic, and vocal environmental advocate.

In addition to writing some twenty-odd books on feminism, western & indigenous history, and power & social change, among other topics…

On Reading, Writing, and Difference-Making

For many of us, it's felt like the past two years have been filled with increasingly-dark political days. It can be difficult to know where to turn, to find what—if anything—can make a dent, can turn a tide. In stories, readers see characters who do the right thing—and the wrong. Particularly as young readers, we learn how to foster empathy, to step outside of ourselves and into others' shoes. In seeing our beloved characters struggle with what's right and wrong, and how they should act, we see the importance of weighing our own moral compasses and standing up for what's right.