ask veena things, round 3.

jeremy asked me a question last week that i decided deserved its own post, so that is the one i am answering today.

this sight brings me so much joy. memphis, tennessee. april 2020.

q: if you could take one theme from a book you’ve read in the past year that would make you a better person, what would it be?

i have been thinking about this one for over a week and in true veena fashion cannot settle on just one thing. i have learned so much from the books i’ve read in the last year, so i decided to share some of the things that have stuck with me and have changed how i approach my days:

  • be passionate about your work, but don’t let that passion consume you. never get so emotionally entrenched in it that it takes over all other aspects of your life [from liz fosslien and mollie west duffy’s no hard feelings, the best book i read in 2019]
  • your voice is a weapon, and it is your duty to use it responsibly [this has come up over and over, including in etaf rum’s a woman is no man, natasha díaz’s color me in, all of maya angelou’s autobiographies, and many more]
  • pretty much everything from aminatou sow and ann friedman’s big friendship, including:
    • shine theory — the idea that i don’t shine unless my friends shine
    • expecting the best for my friends because they deserve the best and then some
    • the importance of speaking up when i am feeling stretched in a friendship
  • welcome every part of someone’s identity, because you might be the only person who sees them for who they truly are [from akwaeke ezemi’s the death of vivek oji]
  • before getting upset with someone, think about the story you are telling yourself about the situation first [from brené brown’s rising strong]
  • it was important, dumbledore said, to fight, and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then could evil be kept at bay, though never quite eradicated” [from half-blood prince]
  • “‘we’re all human, aren’t we? every human life is worth the same, and worth saving'” [from deathly hallows]

i’m sure i could come up with many more answers but these are a great start.

what would your answer be?


note: all book links are affiliate links on bookshop. if you make a purchase using any of the links above a portion of your sales will be directed back to independent booksellers and i will earn a small commission, all at no extra cost to you. i don’t do this to earn money for myself but to help support the work of small, independent bookshops. thanks!

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