4 Books That Have Made Me A Better Person

For many of us, reading took a backseat during our teenage years when social media had taken over our world. It wasn't until this past summer that I finally reserved the time to rediscover my love for reading. Below, I present to you four books that have truly made me a better person.

  1. 1. "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    In an open letter to his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates addresses what it means to be a Black man living in America. The imagery present throughout the novel paints an image of the oppressive systems put in place to prevent the success of Black Americans. The intimate conversations that Coates has with his son give an insight into the privileges awarded to white families that are too often taken for granted. This novel asked me to reconsider my role in society and become more active in social justice initiatives. It's also a constant reminder for me, and any reader, to be conscious of our biases and check ourselves when needed. 

  2. 2. "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien

    O'Brien gives us a glimpse into the life of a U.S. soldier during the Vietnam War by telling the stories that defined his experience. The stories range from bonding with his platoon to the grotesque description of killing a man. The book reminds us of how our stories shape our identity, and how we truly cannot understand the traumas felt by another person just by looking at them. Reading this book has encouraged me to pause and reflect before making assumptions about anyone I interact with in life. 

    Person Holding a Book
  3. 3. "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker

    TW: This book contains descriptions of sexual assault and abuse.

    "The Color Purple" brings its audience back in time to the American south in the 1930s, as Walker addresses the role of Black women in society. Celie, the main character, faces extreme setbacks in her life, but eventually emerges as an independent businesswoman and confronts her demons head-on. This book taught me so much about resilience and how to create a life where I uplift and support other women.  

  4. 4. "Homegoing" by Yaa Gyasi

    TW: This book contains descriptions of sexual assault.

    I saved the best for last because "Homegoing" has to be my absolute favorite book I've ever read. Gyasi writes through an intergenerational lens to emphasize racism's systemic workings, teaching her audience how complex it is to put an end to society's racist structures. Gyasi also highlights the flaws in the way our nation teaches history through a eurocentric view. This motivates me to continue to unlearn aspects of history that may have previously come from a biased perspective, and relearn them from a more accurate standpoint. 

    picking a book

These books have reminded me of the crucial life lessons reading can teach a person. Incorporating these teachings into my everyday life has been extremely beneficial in making me a better person. I hope you consider giving these books a read the next time you are sick of scrolling through your feed.