This feature brought to you by The Broke and The Bookish
I liked school growing up- I was one of those kids who got really excited for the first day of September, enjoyed buying a new pencil case, looked forward to organizing my locker. Reading textbooks, though… not my favorite pastime. They always read in a monotone, tantalizingly suggested at a really good story and then skipped over the juicy details. Below are the books I wish there had been time in the curriculum to read, that would have fleshed out my high school education.
For History Class:
Martin and Malcolm and America: A Dream or a Nightmare? by James H Cone
This would have been a fantastic read during the Civil Rights era segment of history class. This book explores the different techniques and philosophies of these two iconic leaders and how they were moving toward accord in how to go about achieving equality; MLK’s non-voilence meets Malcolm’s radicalism.
For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts’ Advice to Women by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English
My budding feminist tendencies in high school would have been all over this historical exploration of how women have been told by men throughout history how to care for themselves, their bodies, and their mental health- with highly questionable (often harmful) results.
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown
This heartbreaking account of how the First Nations were systematically condensed and obliterated is certainly not the flattering, adventurous summary of Manifest Destiny found in my textbooks.
For English Class:
Things That Make Us (Sic) The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar Takes on Madison Avenue, Hollywood, the White House, and the World by Martha Brockenbrough
A read for English class and all those frustrating classmates who didn’t appreciate the fine art & skill of correct grammar (and how ridiculous they might look without it).
Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut
Known for his dramatic, satirical, insightful fiction, Vonnegut is equally gifted in the world of non-fiction. Vonnegut muses on growing up, war, the state of our country, and literature. I would have liked a segment in English class on the art of writing non-fiction and the skill required in reflecting upon one’s life.
For Intro to Psych:
How do some people become murderers? What drives people to violence? A maximum security psychiatrist explores these questions.
Freakonomics by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner
Insights into the strange connections between everything.
A white man endeavors to experience life as a black man in the 1950s Deep South and discovers the privileges he never realized he enjoyed.
Self Made Man: One Woman’s Journey Into Manhood and Back Again by Norah Vincent
A woman spends a year passing as a man: joining clubs, dating, and seeking employment, observing how the world treats her male alter-ego.
Do you think all you need is hard work to succeed? Barbara Ehrenreich debunks that myth by taking minimum-wage jobs all over the United States. Despite being mentally and physically draining, low-wage (and often low-respect) jobs fail to deliver an income high enough to survive.