What is one book that broke you?

brianafm's profile thumbnail
I've read a lot of books but I can't think of one that has broken me. Even HTWFAIP, according to Goodreads, 11/21 of my friends rated it 5 stars. I just haven't gotten around to reading it. But I always read books with the mindset of "take what serves me and discard the rest". So the few books I have come across that may have been a stark contrast to my belief system, 9 times out of 10 got put down / returned haha.But I will say 48 Laws of Power did disappointment me, in the sense that I was shocked the Manipulation 101 manual was the favorite book of so many men. Made me look at it A LOT differently.
qianlixuan's profile thumbnail
Totally agree! Took me a long time to get rid of my ego to allow myself to put down books.
brianafm's profile thumbnail
Yes! It's sort of like when we're growing up and we're encouraged (or pushed) to finish all the food on our plates.
pamkavalam's profile thumbnail
I so agree with that, Briana about taking what serves you and discarding the rest. I read How to Win Friends as a kid (I found it on my dad’s bookshelf). I don’t remember much but still think of it when people say I’m interesting but I’ve only asked them questions about themselves (that said, I do love learning about others!). One book that broke me in a good way was Mindset by Carol Dweck. I was feeling hopeless about my career prospects (after going through a long and fruitless job hunt) and it completely changed my attitude. Highly recommend it!
pamkavalam's profile thumbnail
Oh and also finding out that a bunch of my guy friends were reading The Game... and then skimming through it and being disheartened. It made me really good at calling out guys who liked to β€œneg” though!
qianlixuan's profile thumbnail
very tempted to read it now..
dunjaradulov's profile thumbnail
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro - it's about human clones created by people to be able to harvest organs, and three friends growing up and gradually discovering that this is their destiny. The only book that made me cry.
helinshiah's profile thumbnail
Yeah that book was impactful. I was so frustrated reading it because it felt like they could have easily escaped but they didn't realize that was a possibility. It made me consider that we all are trapped in that way to lesser degrees, like when we think a job is out of reach and never bother to apply.
dunjaradulov's profile thumbnail
True!
lissanthea's profile thumbnail
I'm curious as to why you think their escape would have been so easy, and to brush off their behaviour as learned hopelessness? It makes me wonder about the true power of structural inequality, and the potential for victim blaming if we apply this mental model to contemporary social issues?
helinshiah's profile thumbnail
My interpretation was that the "clones" had the same physical bodies as normal people. I recall that in school they learned that they were infertile, but other than that they seemed to do normal people things, like sports and art. And it seemed that emotionally they had the same experiences too. Then as adults, it seemed like they had a good deal of freedom; I didn't sense any people policing their activities and they were able to go out to places, like when they searched for the "original" of one of their friends. So I made the assumption that if they had had the desire to leave their situation, they may have been able to blend into society quite easily, at least physically.Of course, I agree that the idea of "nothing's keeping you from escaping!" is illusory because people are usually a product of their circumstances, and so if they're seemingly stuck somewhere, there are usually valid reasons for it. In the case of the characters, they were taught their place in society since birth and they had no examples of alternative paths; similarly, in my silly analogy of job-seekers, people often restrict their searches because they may have internalized negative messages from society to question their credentials, etc. But from an outsider perspective, this is definitely frustrating. Like when we see a well-qualified friend put off applying to some jobs because of insecurity, and we just want to write up applications for them :P
lissanthea's profile thumbnail
Ishiguro paints a fascinating dystopian "near future" that asks us to consider so many things that are possible in the world that we live. It's certainly a book that is unmooring and unravelling if we were to consider where we might be placed in that world. Would we view it differently if we were conditioned to expect clone "spare parts" as normal within our sociey? We don't have full visibility into the world of the clones, but we do receive a first-person account of experiences from Kathy H. What is remarkable about Kathy H is that she clearly claims personhood and identity in a world that does not acknowledge her right to any sense of agency. It is true that she blindly accepts the system of donors and carers, and she does try to bend the rules and have some kind of control over her future. She butts up against the system at every turn, but her agency is resident in the questioning, in the wondering if it's even possible that system could possibly change to accomodate something as human as love. Ethically then, when we have the itch to re-write a resume or presume that someone needs to pull themselves up, and do better, we do them a disservice. Kathy H's world is outer space to you, but so is your friend's world, even if she lives just down the street from you. The same assumptions you make about Kathy H's possibility of freedom and escape within a system of systemic injustice you're applying to your friend's world. As with a novel, so with life - there are always multiple truths and plot lines, and what seems like a linear "hero's journey" for your friend to overcome her limitations might well have barriers in place that you have no idea about, and no right to wade in on.
helinshiah's profile thumbnail
I think that's kind of harsh. Obviously you should spend time understanding the limitations that someone faces and trust what they observe. But there are a lot of times where people welcome support, for example if they have stretch goals and ned a boost to overcome some lingering insecurity.
lissanthea's profile thumbnail
That's an interesting interpretation - that it's harsh to accept someone's situation and position in life, at that very time and space.I think it's kind of harsh to apply valued judgements from your perspective of what people *should* be able to do. With Kathy H as a metaphor, it points to the social delusions of "everyone can succeed, if only they try harder" without reference to the social conditions and narrative identity that people hold for themselves.I find it challenging, ethically, to believe it's ok to superimpose your story onto someone's lived experience. Are their stretch goals really theirs, or has their social environment told them that they *should* want those goals? Ishiguro is asking you to critique the social conditions of your world, if you're up for the challenge?
Cyn's profile thumbnail
The Color Purple gutted me. I read it for academic orientation when starting college. I've never been able to watch the movie.
JoGrosse's profile thumbnail
Girls Like Us. Rachel Lloyd writes about her journey from the sex trade and abusive relationships to getting a PhD in psychology, building GEMS in NY, and helping get legislation passed protecting victims of sex trafficking. So powerful.
qianlixuan's profile thumbnail
Will definitely check it out:-)
natashaschulman's profile thumbnail
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson. I read this book during a time that I had a lot responsibility and I was stressed out by how much work I had to do. Instead of inspiring me not to give a F the book made me realize that no one on my company cared about me or my work that I did for them which made me more stressed out and wonder if I should be in this line of work. I had to stop reading and redirect my efforts into making people care instead of me not caring. But I still get anxiety whenever I see the book in the Kindle Library.
teresaman's profile thumbnail
Know My Name by Chanel Miller, a book on her experience as a sexual assault (but arguably, rape) victim. It was very triggering, very painful for me to read but altogether an empowering story.
navyal's profile thumbnail
Some contenders: The Giver - 5th grade.Severance by Ling Ma, around January of this year.A Very Short Introduction to Postcolonialism -sophomore year of college, and postcolonial theory, in general, continues to break me (in a good way).Atlas Shrugged and also The Fountainhead in 9th grade ( why oh why did I read those?????) exacerbated some of my worst qualitiesThe Fire Next Time - James Baldwin, also college.The God of Small Things, 10th grade or so.Winner:Organic Chemistry: Structure and Function, Vollhard et al
Mayat's profile thumbnail
+1 to Severance! It's about a flu apocalypse, so a little bit intense to read right now, but it's a great commentary on our consumer culture
navyal's profile thumbnail
10000% agreed. That book broke me, frfr. And I read it before the pandemic really became a thing!
qianlixuan's profile thumbnail
LOOL good answer
shannonbhatia's profile thumbnail
LOLL OChem
joclark's profile thumbnail
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
BrianaBrownell's profile thumbnail
I am still sitting with what I learned about morality in Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind. Given how divided people are politically, and how much of that stems from different "moral tastes" it makes me wonder if the differences are reconcilable. If not, our shared future is bleak.
qianlixuan's profile thumbnail
Sounds super interesting. I'll definitely check it out:-)
The Glass Castle, which is a memoir.While my childhood wasn't as bleak, a lot of it paralleled the book. Alcoholic, unemployable father, a snobby yet broke mother who only on the surface cared, and my siblings and I just trying to get through life on the wrong side of the poverty line, not really aware others pitied us. That book was an awakening for me. I fell apart, then I gradually started to address a lot of issues from my childhood, and started to prepare for future issues of being successful while your parents live in poverty.They made a movie, and I just can't bring myself to watch it.
angelique's profile thumbnail
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I picked it up on a whim earlier this year and had no idea what I was getting into. I was 80% of the way through the book when the lockdown in my state started and, that weekend, I locked myself in a room, curled up with the book and sobbed my way through the last chapters. I knew I had to get it done and couldn't carry that book through the pandemic (it's not pandemic related in any way, really, it's just dire and sad).The lives of those four men in the book will stay with me, as will the book's pondering about love, brokenness and redemption.https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22822858-a-little-life
vanessad's profile thumbnail
There have been many books that have done this for me and I am so grateful for all of them. Here are a couple though that had me crying constantly:All About Love by bell hooks helped me grieve a lot of the need to want my parents to have raised me differently and accept that what they offered me may not have necessarily been love. It talks about love as an action, not merely a feeling. It helped me on my journey to learn to "love." I Don't Want to Talk About It by Terrence Real was exactly what I needed to put into words what I had been observing my whole life. It's a book about male depression, but it goes beyond just talking about the clinical. It talks about male depression in the context of the society we live in and about the trauma that men are subjected to in order to prove they are "men." It talks about patriarchy, how that is perpetuated in romantic relationships, how women uphold patriarchy in our behavior in relationships by things like not being honest about our needs. It helped me understand sooooo much about our society and the pain points in our relationships.