By Amy Guerra, ECMC Foundation
Summer is in full swing! If you’re looking for a few good reads that will entertain and inspire you, these short thought-provoking books will do the trick.
The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates
Author: Wes Moore
"The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his."
The Other Wes Moore is a non-fiction novel about two African-American boys who shared the same name and similar childhoods in Baltimore, yet lived out completely different destinies: one recognized as a Rhodes Scholar and White House Fellow while the other, a man serving a life sentence in prison. This memoir is larger than the lives of two young men: It feeds into a societal conversation about drugs, poverty and children being products of their own environment. It also serves as a call to action to help guide and redirect younger generations living in underserved communities witnessing violence and drug abuse toward brighter futures with opportunities and resources to take advantage of.
We recommend this New York Times bestseller because it highlights the importance of seeking higher education and the support of family and the community. This is a must-read that analyzes how certain decisions made—whether good or bad—shape destinies.
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
Author: Azar Nafisi
Do you like reading Western classics? Do you like learning about history? Look no further! Reading Lolita in Tehran is the perfect book for you. It is about Azar Nafisi, Iranian author and professor, and her secret book club with seven female students reading forbidden Western classic books during the Iranian Revolution. The group dives into the lives of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James and Vladimir Nabokov, while drawing connections to their own lives of oppression.
In many ways, reading and analyzing different books serves as a means of escaping their own realities of civilian life in Iran at the time. Through reading, they discover their individual freedom and feel empowered to voice their opinions.
We recommend this book because it shows how powerful literary study can be. It not only offers insight on the world around us, but it also allows us to connect with the writing through personal experiences.
Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates
Authors: Josipa Roksa and Richard Arum
Are you are recent graduate? Do you know someone who is? The transition of recently graduating college to adulthood isn’t always easy. Aspiring Adults Adrift, a research study published 2014 by the University of Chicago Press, provides details about this shift, which almost every recent graduate experiences.
It is no surprise that recent graduates might feel overwhelmed with life post-graduation. Many are looking for employment, learning about financial responsibility, balancing a social life, living with parents again, finding their purpose, among other challenges. Using data from thousands of college graduates in interviews and surveys, the study documents their thoughts on this transition. It makes readers question what colleges could do to properly prepare for life after graduation.
We recommend this book because it brings light to the need of having a support system after graduation. Millions of students are living through this transition and should not feel alone.
Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life
Author: Annette Lareau
Every one is raised differently. Are there connections with how your parents raised you, your social class and your educational success? Unequal Childhoods says different social classes and types of parenting styles significantly impact a child’s educational and career outcomes. Its author, Annette Lareau says middle class parents try to schedule their children’s days with different activities, whereas working and low-income families rely on their children’s natural talent to grow. Ultimately, Lareau finds that every family she communicated with for her study love their children and want them to succeed, but discovers that certain families, specifically from the working and low-income class, are not aware of the resources available to them or how they could take advantage of them.
This is a great book to read this summer because it really lets readers identify the benefits and limits of social class in shaping lives of children in America. Is a child’s future heavily determined on which class they were born into and how their parents raised them? Read this book and find out what others think.