Why I Recommend

When I broke my arm in the first grade, I had to sit in the principal’s office as we waited for my mom to pick me up to go to the hospital. I was scared, nervous, and in a lot of pain. Mrs. Hogan sat with me, held a plastic baggie full of ice to my swollen wrist, and read me a story. I have no idea what the book is called, but the gesture was a comfort to the budding bookworm that I was.

Looking back, this was probably the first time I realized how much books affect us. I mourned the deaths of Sirius, Dumbledore, and Fred. I found comfort in traveling through time and space with Jack and Annie in their magical treehouse. I explored new worlds with Bobby Pendragon. Whenever I needed a distraction, I knew all I needed to do was go to the library — reading has always held a special place in my heart.

As I’ve gotten older, reading has also become a learning tool.

The Kite Runner can teach us more about Afghanistan’s culture than the past 15 years of news reports. A Game of Thrones reminds us that cunning strategy beats brute strength and good intentions most of the time. Of Love and Shadows reminds us of the pain we can cause when we put political alliances above the interest of our country.

And when things get bad, know that no matter the situation you’re going through, an author has gone there first. Books are a way to look at a situation, think about what the characters are doing (or should be doing), and relate it to your own experience. Authors write to tell the stories that no one else can tell. It may be their own tale, it could be someone else’s, and it might even be made up — it doesn’t matter. Books will help you cope.

I recommend books all the time. Sometimes, it’s just because I think you’ll like them.

Have you seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s and sometimes read lighthearted young adult? Check out Oh Yeah, Audrey! It won’t challenge you at all, but it’s a fun read.

Sometimes, I’ll recommend a book to you because I think it will help you.

Having a hard time coming to terms with the death of a loved one? Read Tuesdays with Morrie. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll learn to say goodbye.

Sometimes, I’ll recommend a book to you because you need it.

Can’t figure out how to use a comma? Pick up Eats, Shoots & Leaves. Need to know a bit more about life outside your community? Try A Long Walk To Water. Or I Am Malala. Or The House On Mango Street.

I might recommend a favorite to you in passing in hopes that you’ll remember the title and look it up later. I might gush about it to you and insist that you start the book immediately so we can talk about it. I might even go as far as to gift you a copy to force you to read it.

No matter what, I’m pulling myself out of a good book to help you find one too. Just smile, say “Thanks!”, and read the damn book.