The More You Read...
SJ's current recommended reading list.
I've always been a voracious reader with a diverse interest in fiction and non fiction books. As a child I would bring books to the dinner table, read until the wee hours of the morning, and even mask books carefully out of the view of my teachers in order to continue stories I couldn't justify putting down, even during class time. This passion followed me into adulthood. The birth of my son (he turns 8 this summer) and simultaneous juggling of a small business and career change diverted my attention away from my own pleasures in my mid-thirties. I know months and months went by without cracking a book for myself, though I did rediscover some childhood favorites during the long, sleepless days and nights of "Mr. Bean's" first years. By the time I enrolled in grad school in 2015 my life has settled into a new normal and I was finally able to refocus some energy on my own growth. The rigorous reading requirements of my grad program were an unexpected gift. I began devouring book after book: the academic texts; the choice books; those recommended by peers and professors; those gathering dust on my bookshelf; those with pristine, unbroken spines on my nightstand. Reading during this time was, in many ways, a rediscovery of myself. This new chapter of my adult life ignited a passion for research as well, and I found myself drawn to nonfiction works more than ever before.
A quick rewind: Right out of high school I went off to college at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. I earned an Associates of Science degree in Advertising & Public Relations and took some classes toward a Business Management degree. Dr. Tomassi taught my Production Operations Management class. He was an enthusiastic man with a zest for life and unexpected energy that I found compelling and engaging. He frequently recited literary quotes, lines from movies, or song lyrics in passionate outbursts that transformed the learning environment.* He was assigning required reading one morning, to the audible disappointment of the class. At once, he bounded up on a chair, threw his arm in the air and announced in a bellowing, melodic voice: "The more you read, the more you know, the more you know, the further you'll go!" The room went silent. Dr. Tomassi hopped down off the chair and carried on with his lesson without missing a beat. The take on Seuss is cliche - but there's truth in there.
I don' t know how we will gather information in the future, certainly it is already changing - I see it in my own classroom. For now I stand my ground on the power of reading - the intimate relationship that transpires between words and mind - the way in which consumption of the written word is an act of participation.
My current recommended reading list is a collection of non-fiction that encompasses thought-provoking memoirs, neuroscience accessible to the layperson, personal development, reflections on faith, big history, creativity, epigenetics, and statistics. Each of the books has impacted and influenced me in meaningful and profound ways.
*Until writing this post, I didn't realize how much Dr. Tomassi influenced my own teaching style. I intend to unapologetically continue to use the unexpected song, quote, lyric, reading or other such interlude as a classroom management and relationship-building strategy.
SJ's Current Recommended Reading List
-Jill Bolte Taylor
-Dan P. McAdams
-Glennon Doyle Melton