The best books to read for a clearer understanding of many facets of the human condition

The Books I Picked & Why

Report to Greco

By Nikos Kazantzakis

Book cover of Report to Greco

Why this book?

This Cretan writer, who is most often identified as a Greek, asks us to probe our deepest identity, to be honest with ourselves. I think that that should be the first premise of an honest writer…an honest person. When you are born you are told early what to believe. Why you should believe. Who you and what you should believe or not believe in. At some point in your own life, you must resolve what you yourself accept for your own belief system. You should determine what is or is not important to you. Only then can you live YOUR LIFE.

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By Isabel Wilkerson

Book cover of Caste

Why this book?

Isabel Wilkerson explains why the Nazis picked on the American system of “raciality” as a model for their most serious work. I think it would enable most non-Fascist-minded Americans an opportunity to understand where their friends, relatives, neighbors, sons and daughters, are coming from. And square them away.

She brings clarity to why some people say and believe there never has been institutional racism in Amerikkka. Reading her book shows you how insidious societal norms are. She takes away the blinders and we get to see another big lie that we have sought to embrace -- if – “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. In 2021 we still have not made this a reality in the “United States of America”.

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By George Orwell

Book cover of 1984

Why this book?

We can run, but we can’t hide. George Orwell, certainly a Prophet of some sort, figured it all out ahead of our time. “Big Brother” is watching. If you go into the corner to hide…can you hide? “Big Brother” is watching you. Your neighbor is watching you. Your family members are watching you. They may put you on Social Media and then the Whole World is watching you. You too are in the look, listen and report game, except it is not a game. If a word or deed is done “incorrectly” you may be reported. You may go to jail and there won’t be any insignia of identification on the law enforcer who arrested you. Your fears are shared with the world. You must not believe your “lying eyes or ears”. This is not 2021, this is “1984”. Read the book and you’ll know I speak the truth.

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The Mexicans: A Personal Portrait of a People

By Patrick Oster

Book cover of The Mexicans: A Personal Portrait of a People

Why this book?

I think that we should all make an effort to understand people who are not from our cultural stew; people who seem different, but wind up being like us; once we get to know them.

Patrick Oster is not a sociologist, a psychologist, or an ugly American. He could be Joe Blow from down the block who decides to go to Mexico, to get to know the Mexican people. He does not make an effort to know all the people, he simply makes friends with those who are friendly, and leaves the others alone; just the way he would do in America.

I feel that this book is a wonderful example of what can come from an honest exploration and a warm writing style.

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Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa

By Mark Mathabane

Book cover of Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa

Why this book?

As an African-American, raised in the Bantustans of America (Chicago – Southside/Westside/Northside) and called the N-word (cutified to “N-word”) and subjected to ALL of the shit Amerikkka has plastered in my face; I feel that some sensitive White folks might understand what a “Bantustan” feels like. For those who believe that these “Bantustans” are only in places like Africa or India. I suggest you reexamine our country. You should take a look into the Bantustans along the freeways, roadways in America today. This book should open your eyes to the fact that MOST PEOPLE do not want to live below the poverty line. MOST PEOPLE don’t want to live in homes that can be blown down by the wind or torn down in a political storm.

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