I know there are only a few months left in 2021, so if you are not a fast or avid reader you may not get all 21 of these book recommendations read by December 31, 2021…that’s ok! You’ll have a To-Be-Read list started for 2022.
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I’ve thought long and hard about the current state of our country (and the world as a whole), and I find it very concerning. Looking over my bookshelves I realized, “That book warned us about what is happening right now! So does THAT one…and THAT one. THAT one too!”
There is a good mix of old and new, auto/biographies and non/fiction.
“Life imitates art far more often than art imitates life.”– Oscar Wilde (in 1889 essay The Decay of Lying)
Each of these books has an important message for us at this particular time in our country’s history.
I strongly urge everyone to read (or re-read) these books. Many of them have been made into movies, but Hollywood has a habit of omitting important bits in books that warn people against its agenda. Plus: the books are ALWAYS better.
As a preface to this list, I would like to add:
THE CONSTITUTION OF
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The Constitution of the United States of America (and its amendments)
Created: September 17, 1787; Ratified: June 21, 1788; Effective: 1789
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
I strongly recommend that every American have a hard/physical copy of the Constitution of The United States of America (and it’s amendments) in their possession. If you don’t mind if it is not bound, you can download and print a free copy here.
*The hardbound copy I linked above was proudly manufactured in the U.S.A.*
Know your rights!
I intended for this post to be that – one post.
However, when I finished writing it, I looked down and saw that a word count of 3529 made this look more like an academic dissertation than a blog post. For that reason, I have decided to break it into three parts (seven book recommendations in each).
I hope you truly consider reading or re-reading all of these books, and that they give you food for thought. Never underestimate the virality of thinking-for-yourself and the elusive common-sense variant.
21 Books EVERY American
Should Read/Re-Read in 2021
– Part 3 –
LOOK WHO’S BACK
21. Look Who’s Back (Timur Vermes)
Published in 2012
“We all know, of course, what to make of our newspapers. The deaf man writes down what the blind man has told him, the village idiot edits it, and their colleagues in the other press houses copy it.”
This book is a satire, and it doesn’t really fit in with the others, except for the fact that it is thought provoking. The story is told from the perspective of Adolf Hitler, having come back to life in 2011. While it should be a comedy, it had some frighteningly timely (and true) quotes such as the one above about the media. It made me wonder, in today’s political climate, what would the reception for one so infamous truly be like?
THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS
20. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (John Boyne)
Published in 2006
“And who decided which people wore the striped pajamas and which people wore the uniforms?”
A story set during WWII, about a German boy and the friend he makes on the other side of the fence.
The differences between “them” and “us” can be mistaken, no matter which pronouns you put on your profile.
Q: What is the difference between a vaccine passport and a yellow star?
A: 82 years.
MY BROTHER SAM IS DEAD
19. My Brother Sam is Dead (James Collier and Christopher Collier)
Published in 1974
“Sir, it’s worth dying to be free.”
This is the story of Tim, whose father is a loyalist to King George III and whose brother Sam who just joined the revolutionary war (to fight the tyrant king). Tim has to make a decision for himself and what he believes in, but on one side he will have to fight his father, and on the other side he will have to fight his brother.
PROTECT AND DEFEND
18. Protect and Defend (Richard North Patterson)
Published in 2001
“He’s selling the senate to the highest bidder to perpetuate his own ambitions.”
“What’s bad for our country can’t, in the long run, be good for us.”
“No more can we claim that our politics is simply about ideas, or values, or the clash of competing interests. All too often it is about money—the elegant system of quasi-bribery in which those who finance our campaigns become our stockholders, and men like [that] demand results.”
This one was recommended to me by my mom after I mentioned the idea for this blog post (turned series). It is a very tangled story that highlights the dirty business of politicking. Everyone has their viewpoint. Everyone has their side. Everyone has an end goal in mind. In the end, everyone is out for themselves.
This book follows a highly controversial court case, alongside the nomination from a new president for a new supreme court chief justice. As the plot unfolds (and refolds, and twists) we become aware of the machinations of senators and their corrupt ways of playing a high stakes chess game like no other.
The United States of America is a representative republic, but this book brings to mind the question we should all be asking ourselves: who are our representatives truly representing?
BRAVE NEW WORLD
17. Brave New World (Aldus Huxley)
Published in 1932
“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.”
I have to admit, I hated this book when I had to read it in high school. It is twisted and sick. Even more frighteningly it seems as though it has been used as a handbook for some of the powers that be today. An uncomfortable read, but an important one.
THE HUNGER GAMES SERIES
16. The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins)
Published in 2008
“Destroying things is much easier than making them.”
When this came out it appeared to simply be entertainment set in a dystopian world. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction…
Life in the capitol glitters, excess abounds, and everyone there has, at least, the semblance of power. Elsewhere in the country not much glitters, and in some districts people starve. Enter the games to entertain and keep the people in their place. Puppets on strings controlled by those at the top. Until one decides to take a stand, to make sacrifices, and think for herself…
With the way executive orders are thrown around these days, perhaps this fiction isn’t that far from being reality.
THE DIVERGENT SERIES
15. Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant (Veronica Roth)
Published in 2011
“We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.”
(I must warn you, I think the last book is total crap from a reading-for-fun viewpoint.)
The series overall has interesting and potentially applicable ideas during this dystopian time we find ourselves in.
In the beginning of the series young people are made to choose their faction (side/party/place). As the series progresses, war looms due to growing conflict between the factions and their core ideologies. Sound a little familiar?
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I might need to procure some of these titles, as even in my vast library, I don’t have them all.