Winter break is coming sooner than you think. Leaves are falling off trees, and the weather is getting chilly. Although this year has been hectic, winter break provides the opportunity to unwind. While many people choose to spend the winter months watching Netflix, many people have forgotten about the benefits of reading. These exhilarating books promise to fulfill readers’ minds with fresh perspectives. Although this year has been trying, invest in personal growth this winter break by curling up with one (or even all) of these books and its perfect cup of tea.
1) Educated by Tara Westover
- Recommended Tea – Earl Grey
Earl Grey tea has a light bitter taste when people take the first sip, but then its bitterness turns into sweetness at the end of the tongue. Coincidentally, readers experience a similar sensation when they read this book.
Educated is a book of reflection by Tara Westover. When her brother got into a car accident, her father required other members to bring him back home to heal because he did not believe in the validity of science. Medicine, prescriptions, and doctors are imageries of Satan to Westover’s father, and unfortunately, he felt that education was evil as well. Westover and her brothers were homeschooled, and although her two brothers were happy with that, Westover seemed to recognize the beauty of the academic world outside of the home. Her curiosity brought her to a more traditional academic path. She rebelled against her parents and decided to attend university. With this desire for education, her family believed that her soul was taken away by devils. Everyone acted aggressively toward her, especially her older brother. After demanding Westover to take on the responsibilities of a traditional housewife, he began to physically abuse her in an effort to make her stop thinking of education. Her dream of attending school helped her overcome her circumstances. Westover wants her readers to use their own dreams as fuel against adversity.
Another message from Westover is believing in yourself. In Educated, Dr. Kerry, a professor of history at Brigham Young University, said, “You are not fool’s gold, shining only under a particular light. Whomever you become, whatever you make yourself into, that is who you always were. It was always in you.” Indeed, we all shine bright in our own respects, and regardless of our circumstances, we are all capable of shining bright.
2) A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
- Recommended Tea – Black tea with skim milk and a teaspoon of sugar
A Raisin in the Sun boldly depicts the topic of racism through an exemplary family, the Youngers. Even though it was published during the civil rights movement, this book is as relevant now as it was when it was published way back in 1959. The Youngers battle to conquer the discriminatory label placed on them in a society ran by white people. While they face discrimination, the Youngers are forced to consider what is more important: abiding society’s expectations or pursuing their dreams.
Walter is the core image of A Raisin in The Sun. When his family receives a large sum of money, he first wanted to invest in a liquor store to attempt to improve his social standing. In order to achieve this, he is willing to step on his family members’ dreams to achieve his. His selfishness is considered the main reason of the conflict amidst family members.
Throughout the story, the severity of racism becomes sharper. When Mama Lena used half of the check to buy a house in Clybourne Park, a primarily white, affluent neighborhood, the representative of the housing council tried to convince them to move somewhere else. He believes that the Younger Family is not fit for his living community because they are not of the same race and social class as the other residents. With this confrontation, Walter is forced to make a very difficult decision. If he decides to move his family to Clybourne Park against the neighbors’ wishes, he likely puts his family in danger, but he gives his family an opportunity to grow in a neighborhood with little crime and poverty. On the other hand, if he keeps his family where they are, they lessen the risk of harm, but they would continue to live in a neighborhood with plenty of poverty and struggle. Throughout the story, Walter is forced to weigh this moral dilemma.
Even though the book was written in 1959, its message is relevant today. Everyone has dreams and things they want to accomplish in life. However, many people have to battle extra obstacles that society has placed in their way in order to achieve their dreams. With this story, readers’ eyes can be opened to these obstacles that people have to overcome, such as the racial intimidation and economic restriction that the Youngers face. Once they finish this book, readers will be able to consider people and society through an empathetic perspective.
3) Naturally Tan by Tan France
- Recommended Tea – Chamomile tea with a teaspoon of sugar
Tan France, similar to Hansberry, brings out the bold reality of discrimination, specifically among Asians and people from the LGBTQ+ community. France was born in Pakistan. He is short with naturally curly hair, and he has brown skin. He and his family moved to England when he was a child. Problems arose in the land of the posh. He was the target of bullying, which is an issue that people from different backgrounds have always faced. However, the way France steps on hatred and moves forward should be the focus of the audience. France grew up hearing insults, which made him stronger than ever before. In his memoir, he mentions how he had a boss, who wanted to kick him out of the company due to his race but was unable to do so because his performance is good. His boss searched for reasons to fire him, looking for mistakes in all his work. However, France proved his capability by successfully launching his first brand and flexing his marketing strategies.
France is a great example for those who need a confidence boost. He overcame so much discrimination at school and work to have one of the most popular Netflix shows streaming.France is a stylist in the Netflix series Queer Eye. With his colleagues, the show received a 91% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Moreover, France and his co-stars were nominated for an Emmy and other prestigious awards. By having faith in himself, he keeps developing his career and his love for fashion.
As a bonus for reading Naturally Tan, readers can learn a lot of tips to refresh their closets. Cool and easy tips like how to wear T-shirts, how to use accessories, and many more tips are shared in his book.