Choose a good book to read, it will never betray you
Choose a good book to read, it will never betray you. These are the words that someone once said to me. And as I grew up, I realized that they are true.
Libraries became my rescue place where to find my inner peace, while the words of many women and men have been prayers to my soul. Thanks to them I have already lived many lives, and visited so many places! Does it sound amazing, doesn’t it?
Books open your mind tearing down stereotypes and prejudices. You can learn a lot about a given culture just from a simple book.
I have always been a reader. I remember the first time I got lost in the pages of a book. It was summer 2009, and I was a little girl of ten years old. Since then, my summer seasons have been delighted by a good book to read on the beach or during a car trip.
Yes, summer 2021 is coming to an end but it is never to late to pick up a book!
Books are always a good idea.
Today, we are here to suggest some books, which may turn out to be pretty useful even to understand some current issues. Ready?
Last week, I was talking to my cousin from the USA about our current readings, and that’s when I became aware of a very fascinating book to read. It has been written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Americanah. The name of the author was not new for me at all. I learned about the author during my first training with Global Mindset Development about “The Danger of a Single Story”.
It tells the story of Ifemelu, a spirited young girl with strong opinions, and her teenage boyfriend, Obinze, who grow up with a certain idea of the western world affected by the literature of many authors. Life decisions separated the two characters: Ifemelu continued her postgraduate studies in Philadelphia, while Obinze decided to move to Britain looking for a better life.
Adichie depicts the sense of dislocation felt by both characters in two different countries. They both struggled to find a job and more generally to fit in. These are common difficulties that we all may have faced when moving to another city, or country, completely different from ours.
Adichie is particularly good at exposing the contradictory ebb and flow of America’s painful attempts to reconcile itself with its recent past (…). She does so with a wryness and insight that never imposes itself on the flow of the story but which challenges the reader’s assumptions with each carefully crafted sentence. (The Guardian)
Eventually, Ifemelu starts blogging about her experiences, and thanks to these blog posts we can understand how she sees herself and how she wants the world to see her.
HAIR AS A SYMBOL
A striking symbol in the book is the use of “hair”, namely black woman’s hair.
Actually, the politics of black hair is a current topic in the blog: how women are expected to relax their natural curls with toxic chemicals or weave in bits of someone else’s hair in order to conform with white norms.
We are all confident with the braids, wings and weaves of Black singers and\or celebrities. But, we are not aware that there is much more behind that “particular” way of doing the “hair”. For Black people, it is a way of expressing their creativity freely, and something to be proud of. There is a kind of connection between identity and hair.
Hair says who you are, where you are from. They have historical, political, religious and social value. Actually, for the main character of the book, hair represents her struggle for confidence and identity as a Nigerian immigrant and a black American.
“HAIR IS THE PERFECT METAPHOR FOR RACE IN AMERICA”
Racism is everywhere, and it also affects the perception of beauty in the American culture.
There is a real debate going on. Many studies have been showing that for Black women wearing their natural hair style may put them at disadvantage during the recruitment phase. It is said that they look less professional, less competent, and less recommended for a job interview. Where is the so-called “inclusivity” in workplaces of which everyone talks about? How can we tackle our unconscious biases?
I was wondering why a Black woman must deny herself to look more professional but also to seem more beautiful in the eyes of the American society? What is the real meaning of beauty? Do you want to know what is beautiful? Diversity. Once we all appreciate the one who is different from us, the day of a real social progress will come.
The final section of the book follows Ifemelu’s return and her reunion with Obinze… but I do not want to tell you more about it…
What I can say is that Americanah is a deeply felt book which highlights the need to tell a truly gripping human story.
Rosaria Di Maggio