This post is a discussion but at the same time its not. It’s more of a post where I’ve got some strong bottled up feelings that I’ve decided to put out into the world.
Over the last few weeks I’ve read some really hard hitting, emotional, and difficult books. Two of them dealing with rape (I Stop Somewhere and Speak) and another one was a family dealing with grief and loss (Everything I Never Told You). It’s made me realize that I enjoy these types of books just as much as I enjoy fantasy and science fiction, but on a different level.
I realize that books dealing with hard topics aren’t for everyone. For those of you who read for pleasure and enjoyment, getting hit with deep and emotional topics can be overwhelming. You might not want to read a book like this because it will made you sad or upset. As they should. These topics aren’t meant to be sunshine and rainbows. They’re meant to teach you something. Take you out of your comfort zone and put you into the situation so you can better understand things. If you’re experiencing anger, discomfort, sadness, and more, that means the book did it’s job! Topics like rape, murder, racism, grief, etc. are terrible realities for some people. Not having experienced these things first hand is a good thing, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t learn about them.
You might be afraid to read a book that deals with hard topics because it’s going into something you have no personal experience with. You may feel guilty that you can’t relate. All I have to say is DON’T! Consider yourself lucky! But just because you can’t relate to that situation doesn’t mean you can’t read it. Taking yourself out of your safe little bubble and reading about it gives you something important. Knowledge. And knowledge is power! Read and learn! The things you read will help you understand the situation from different angles. It will help you understand how things work, what a victim goes through, how to sympathize, how the vicim thinks, and SO much more. It may help you see signs of things happening around you and either stop them or support the person going through it. It will help you consider your own actions and words. And it will help you grow as a person and maybe be a little more sympathetic and understanding.
There are a lot of harsh realities in the world. Some of the things that people experience are enough to rip your heart out. But as sad as it is, these things happen. And keeping these ‘taboo’ and uncomfortable topics in the open is a step in the right direction to changing things. It doesn’t do anyone any good to just hide all of the uncomfortable things in the world under a rug. We need to be talking about it. We need to be having these conversations. We need to be aware and understanding. I am so very thankful for all the authors out there who are willing to talk about these things. Whether it’s from an “own voices” point of view or not. The point is, people are talking.
I know that a lot of people read for fun. There’s nothing wrong with that! I do too. But don’t limit yourself. Don’t take away these experiences. Give yourself the knowledge. And maybe one day, books like this won’t be necessary. We can hope.
Do you like reading books with hard topics? If so, which ones would you recommend? Here are a few of my own recommendations:
- I Stop Somewhere by TE Carter
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
- We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
- The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
- Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett
- Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys
- The Diary of Anne Frank
Until next time, happy reading!