What I love most about reading is that reading creates empathy when I read about cultures, people, and places who are vastly different from myself. By reading about experiences that are (sometimes vastly) different than my own, I feel more connected to the world around me. I feel part of humankind. Reading raises tolerance, patience, and emphasizes the importance of listening: all of which seem to be in short supply these days.
A book I really love is The Beautiful Room is Empty by Edmund White. I had to get a permission slip from my parents so I could check it out of the public library back when I was 17 years old. For so many people, White's books, and this one in particular, are a light in the darkness that takes their thoughts and fears about their orientation and puts them on the page, granting them the courage they need to become the people they need to become. For me personally, The Beautiful Room Is Empty created a deep and lasting empathy that not only profoundly altered my worldview for the better but has without question opened me up to more rich and fulfilling experiences and friendships over the course of my life. Currently, I am reading The Book of Resting Places, by Thomas Mira y Lopez.
The best place to read is on an airplane! Hours of uninterrupted quiet where people bring you free drinks and snacks. Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achabe should win the Great American Read.
We're celebrating The Great American Read all summer long! Each week, we'll feature a Reader of the Week, selected by our stellar Arts team! The winner each week will receive a Great American Read prize pack, featuring special swag, including a T-shirt, buttons, stickers and more! Think you've got what it takes to be our Reader of the Week? Apply here!