There is something interesting that I’ve noticed. Guys rarely come to the library.
I’ve notice that guys who come into the library before they retire mostly read only nonfiction. They will get books on how to improve their golf game or their business or their finances. If they read fiction at all it is science fiction.
Guys who are retired will get different things. They will take the time to get fiction. They will read Tom Clancy or other books with a lot of action. Or they will read westerns. Or mysteries. They are very predictable.
I never thought about how segregated books are until I saw an older man reading a Nora Roberts book. I thought it was odd, but then I thought good for him. At least he is reading what he wants to read instead of what society expects him to read.
Older women tend to read books in pastel covers. There is a couple on the cover and they are fully clothed, neck to ankles. The story is the same over and over. It is predicable, and the guy always gets the girl, but any action is just hinted at.
I read science fiction because I like to be surprised. The space ship and the aliens are just an excuse for really imaginative writing. I don’t want to read the same story over and over. I know it already. I want something new.
Girls who read science fiction are rare in our society. Black girls who read science fiction are really rare. Black girls who read science fiction are my kind of people. They are really not interested in the roles that society tries to give them. They think for themselves. They are different and aren’t afraid of being different. They often don’t relax their hair because that too is a social construct. They like being themselves, as they are.
Is it that certain types of people read certain books because they honestly like these books or because they don’t know what else to read? Or is it because they are afraid to step outside the lines? Are they afraid to do what they want to do, which may mean violating society’s expectations of them?
Reading can be an act of rebellion.
I think there is a lot of power in reading. I think that if you can read, and you like to read, that you can go anywhere and do anything. I think that encouraging children to read by taking them to the library is essential. Sure, let them get fun books so they equate reading with enjoyment. But also have them get educational books. They need to see books as a source for learning. They need to fill up on real nutrition rather than junk food. Let them read comic books, sure, but not a steady diet of it.
Children need to see their parents read too. Don’t just get books for them – get books for yourself. They have to see you reading to learn that reading is something that is part of being an adult. It isn’t just something you do for a class. It isn’t a chore. Reading is for fun, and it is for life.
I want kids to look forward to reading, and not think that they “have to” read this book, but that they “get to” read this book. There is a huge difference.
Change the world for the better. Go to the library. Get some books. Read. Repeat.
The mind you save will be your own.