Books, Pop Culture

Read these books if you need a distraction from the world

If Trump's America seems like too much, and your Facebook stream is covered in opinions, it’s time to go to books as a distraction.

Are you upset about the travel ban? Or the approval of the Dakota Pipeline? Or just generally not enjoying President Trump’s first month in office? I feel the same way! And so do tons of other people.

There’s a good and healthy way to escape the seemingly endless stream of news, or FAKE news. When looking at your phone seems like too much, and your Facebook stream is covered in opinions, it’s time to go to books.

Books don’t change. Their messages do not change with a new tide of politics or a new wave of sentimentalism, even if they may say different things to different people. And that’s why they’re the best! Here are some novels that can help you forget about the current America we are in and imagine the world differently for a few hours.  Let’s use books as a distraction!

1. “All Our Names” by Dinaw Mengestu

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An interesting and out-of-the-ordinary novel about an immigrant escaping Uganda and finding refuge and love in Michigan. The story is within the cloud of political turmoil that is 1970’s Uganda. Mengestu jumps around time and location to create a riveting and intimate conversation about race and immigration.

2. “The Calcutta Chromosome” by Amitav Ghosh

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A novel about the discovery of the transmission of malaria by mosquitos, but with conspiracy and counter-science undertones. This novel also jumps around with time and location but this time with 1985, 1995 and the assumed present with New York City and Calcutta, India. Take a dive into British occupied India, post-colonial India and a future United States that is more advanced than one would like.

3. “A Star Called Henry” by Roddy Doyle

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If you’ve got any Irish pride in you, this is your next book. This novel spans a serious amount of time through Ireland’s history (specifically their fight for independence from Britain) as well as some time after that. The main character is the poor son of a hit-man father but grows up to fight for Ireland the one way he can.

4. “Something Wicked This Way Comes” by Ray Bradbury

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This one is for those who are still invested in the United States, and wish that they could remember the good old days. Rest assured, this novel does not discuss the current president of the United States, but it does have magic and a haunted traveling carnival where two boys must discover what they really value in life. It’s basically the definition of a feel-good novel.

5. “Sula” by Toni Morrison

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“Sula” is a novel that jumps character to character but focuses particularly on two female best friends who grow up together in Ohio.  This novel follows the couple from adolescence in the early 1900’s into their adulthood.  The two girls go on very different life paths, but end up together again at the end.  Morrison tackles the matriarchal figure and racism through beautiful poetic language.  Now, I know this is still set in the United States, but it will feel like a whole other world.

6. “Let The Great World Spin” by Colum McCann

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Now I know what you’re thinking…this book is also based in America. I thought theses were books to distract me! Just bear with me here! This novel covers Ireland and New York City through the eyes of a heroin addict, a hooker, an upper-class judge, a subway tagger and the man who tight-roped across the twin towers in 1974.  This novel examines religion, the judicial system, and freedom throughout quite literally all walks of life.  This is not your typical narrative.

7. “Funny Boy” by Shyam Selvadurai

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This novel is a complete departure from anything American.  “Funny Boy” spans the adolescence and youth of a young boy in Sri Lanka, specifically during the 1983 political turmoil.  To make matters worse, the main character is gay, which is not accepted within that society.  This novel truly gets you out of your own skin and into this young character’s life.  If you want to expand your world view, and also learn a little bit about the history of Sri Lanka, step right up.

Using books as a distraction to the current political climate is a great way to destress. But, even if you are not an American citizen, these novels can help you escape whatever ails you as well. I’ve read each book listed and can honestly say they are incredible in different ways.

So take a leap into Ireland in the early 1900’s or India in 1985, and jump into a world other than your own, that involves other people with other political problems (anything is better than Trump’s America right now).