Broward County Schools, thank you for providing me with some of the best Socials Studies teachers out there. While I inevitably followed my bookworm heart and embraced literature and writing in full force, the histories of the world were never far behind in interest. I once read that great writers are also well-read, so one of my goals is penciling in a daily workout time for the ole noggin. Ideally, tackling writing activities would be my preferred avenue of brain flexing, but since graduating university, I’ve noticed a distinct lack of reading list in my life.
In high school, one of the most extensive classes I took was Advanced Placement U. S. History my junior year. I remember being told my first day that the only AP class required the mental fortitude of a Mensa was Calculus, so let it be noted that I was terrified of failure for the greater part of the 1995-1996 academic year. Over the last six months, I picked up two books that categorically fall into “History I Couldn’t Learn in High School,” but I enjoyed both immensely. Interestingly enough, Bourbon and Empire of the Summer Moon help to add steep contrast to a very white-washed version of kid-friendly American history, focusing on the controversial histories of two lesser-known slices of the American pie.
Bourbon: A History of the American Spirit by Dane Huckelbridge – “Though I read Huckelbridge’s work from cover to cover without a single drop, I now have a new found appreciation and desire to learn more. As a girl raised in The South, I now feel a deeper connection and responsibility to further my knowledge about bourbon, or at least sweep the category entire should it pop up on Jeopardy.” [Complete GoodReads Review]
Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in History by S. C. Gwynne – “It is by no means an easy read and requires steeled nerves and an iron stomach as some of the graphic details can make the more delicate reader shudder.” [Complete GoodReads Review]
Personal Reading Habits
My reading habits have certainly evolved. In high school, I pounded sodas, and during my college years, bottomless pots of coffee and tea, but now as an adult, I have taken to pairing my literature with adult libations. The frontrunner while I am out flying tends to be beer, followed with glasses on wine on the porch while I am home. I haven’t really graduated to cocktails with my bibliophile time, but I think should I develop and cultivate the perfect reading nook, that this could very well become a future possibility, giving a whole new meaning to “Thought Adjustment Hour.”
That being said, I do spend a large chunk of my reading time alone, and I do not always do it tucked away in my little bird house. I like changes of scenery, so I often bring my books along while exploring a city or unwinding at a table for one. While in Japan, I developed a very strong opinion against the stigma of dining alone. Once, I overheard a pair of Japanese girls discuss how pitiful and lonely I looked dining solo while reading because in their mind, I should have been doing that at in the privacy of my own home. The servers laughed when I replied to them in Japanese that I choose to dine alone from time to time because I am not codependent or afraid to be seen as an independent woman. If I remember correctly, they quickly finished their meal in silence after apologizing and left promptly thereafter.
On the flipside, while one is out enjoying their book and beverage of choice, it is not an open invitation for interruption. I never went to Central Park alone with my latte in hopes that Josh Groban would stroll up with his doggie and we’d have a magically, adorkable romantic comedy scene play it way out, but apparently that is one of the accusations made of ladies who laze under the big trees on a park bench in the Big Apple. Several of my friends understand what I mean by this as I am not the only person on the planet who chooses to enjoy reading in public. If one is enjoying a beverage while reading, and one feels brazen enough to engage them, do not lead with the “what are you drinking?” question. Try asking about the book, and allow the reader the opportunity to either a) give you a brief synopsis, or b) ask to be left alone. Moreover, do not be offended if they decline company, refuse the beverage you took upon yourself to order, or even elect to keep their gaze fixated on their task at hand. While some “go fishing” in hopes of getting out of paying for drinks or having someone pick up their checck, but the majority simply want to enjoy the same rights and privileges of those dining with another person.
My B&N nook got shattered on a recent trip, so I broken my rule about amassing books. I need to be more savvy about purchasing eBooks and ordering books online. I kicked myself for dropping over $50 on three paperback books in the Atlanta Airport (as they refuse to give employee discounts), so I am on a mission to be more fiscally responsible when it comes to investing in my personal library. I will eventually, purchase another nook because I love how I can read in the sunshine, and carry multiple books at the same time. For now, I’ll just juggle old-fashioned paperbacks while I hop, skip, and jump around the map.