Catalysts for Awareness
Literature contains knowledge, knowledge that possesses the power to catalyze paradigm shifts in our world. How we see our surroundings can be influenced the books that we choose to savor. We have the power to seek out books that question the way that we were raised, the cultures that we were each born into, and the social constructs that surround us every day. Below are select books that have prompted me to radically reevaluate the world, diving into what I have taken for granted, including our inherent freedom to vote, to "safety", and to white privilege. I will add to the list as I find strong words and welcome all recommendations! There is a section at the end for what is on the reading docket and suggestions from you.
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer | An eloquent compilation of stories and accounts of traditional wisdom about the natural world told by a scientist. Together, she weaves scientific findings with inherent lessons from nature that has been lost generationally. We have lost touch with the ways that our world provides for us, and our responsibility to care for the Earth that provides us with everything. Relearning what was once lost can allow for the betterment of not only the planet but of ourselves therein.
Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes | Teachings that have been handed down generationally and were seemingly buried. The author sought out these verbal and written accounts and brought them together. She reveals the hidden nature of human behavior and how social upbringings and pressures alter our very human being (more info).
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly | A historic documentation of the struggles and triumphs of the women and families that paved the foundation for women of color and women in STEM relate fields. The accounts convey how these remarkable figures changed the nature of the "Space Race" and proved to be more than role models for women of their time: they are a source of constant inspiration to always aspire to do what you must and are truly passionate about.
Founding Sisters by Eleanor Cliff | This book marches you through the treacherous 50 or more years that women fought for the right to vote. It tells of the pushback that they received from presidents, men, and women alike - women who didn't want to have more responsibility at the time than they already had. It's remarkable to see how women suppressed blacks in order to gain the vote of a white man, how times of war trumped changing the very infrastructure of our nation while we fought for other freedom in other nations. The book reveals how women were thrown in jail for picketing, how they united to resist unjustified jail sentences via hunger strikes, and were force fed in jails. It's remarkable how much was sacrificed for our right to vote, one that we take lightly and usually find an excuse to avoid heading the polls.
Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler | This book empowers women and men through a deeper anatomic understanding of the female body. The female body has been manipulated throughout history, whether it be through religion, social expectations, or career paths, we are often taught through these forms that we have no real power over our bodies. Hormonal contraception is one form where the initial intention was not of empowerment, although many women perceive it today to be so. This book does an excellent job of painting a method of natural regulation of the female body through understanding natural temperature cycles. Moreover, it creates a deeper relationship with yourself.
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder | The story of an outstanding doctor and anthropologist who dedicated his life to establishing novel healthcare methodologies in Haiti.
Tracks by Robyn Davidson | One of the most incredible stories that I have ever read, this is an account of withstanding more toxicity than ever needed, living amongst the desert elements, and the love between a human and nature. This is an account of a woman, a dog, and camels walking Australia. Absolutely outstanding. (more info).
Swell: A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening by | This inspirational story tells a tale of a single woman who set out to sail around the world. She rediscovered more about herself than she knew, learned to travel where the weather took her, and relinquished time (more info).
Alone on the Wall by Alex Honnold | Well, I mean, it's Alex Honnold. This dude looks at a wall and puts in the diligent effort to do the seemingly impossible - with the reminder to get comfortable with thinking about death on a daily basis. (more info).
End of the Rope by Jan Redford | A life narrative of relationships, trials, and tribulations while being an outdoor adventurer and an all-around female inspiration. (more info).
Wild by Nature by Sarah Marquis | A woman hiking along throughout the world, accounting the hospitality and shear brutality of the world as she walks. (more info).
The Push by Tommy Caldwell | Incredible story of a rock climber who pushed himself beyond belief to set records that were seemingly impossible. (more info).
This Road I Ride by Juliana Buhring | Pushing herself to achieve the world record for being the first female to bike around the world. And in the wrong direction. Outstanding account of a bad-ass woman doing what she was told not to.
Fierce Medicine by Ana Forrest | A lifechanging book that draws from traditional Native American medicine. It uses both mental and physical practices to heal the mind and body (more info).
The Four Agreements by | A small book that takes an infinite amount of time to read that changes the very landscape of our thought patterns (PDF).
The Dhammapada | Ancient poetic wisdom from the Vedas for changing how we lead our lives.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver | A novel that narrates the lives of a missionary family sent to the Congo during the time where Belgium and the United States were taking control of the country. This book challenges the way we perceive privilege, success, and religious intrusion leaving you with a plethora of items to questions about how you live.
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari | A Brief History of Humankind.
Guns, Germs, and Steel. by Jared Diamond | The fates of human society.
Fact Ful Ness by Hans Rosling | "About the World - And why things are better than you think."
Blueprint for Revolution by Srdja Popovic | Recommended by Fernando as a read pertaining to learning about the ways and impacts of nonviolent protests.