I’ve been thinking a lot about Internet rage culture lately. It seems like every time I log onto my Twitter or Facebook, there’s somebody (and not infrequently, a lot of somebodies) being angry about something.
The Internet can be an incredibly useful tool for discussing important topics and widening our perspective on various issues. I fully believe that reading thoughtful responses to big issues has made me a better person.
But I also have noticed that a constant stream of negativity can be toxic. Some days I just have to log out of social media before it drags me into a storm cloud of negative thinking. Because somedays I get so caught up in the rage that I can’t be productive because I’m too busy being angry.
In life, there’s always something to be upset about. That’s just the way it is. The Internet sometimes magnifies this, though. Now I’m not saying we should stop trying to tackle tough issues. I’m not saying we should be all rainbows and sunshine all the time.
But maybe we do need some rainbows and sunshine.
With that in mind, I’ve decided to try a little experience. Everyday for the month of September, I’m going to make a point of complimenting or appreciating 5 people a day. Not all of these people will be online or public. But that is my goal.
I’d love it if you decided to participate with me (even if it’s a scaled back version, like just one person a day).
Let’s spread a little positivity.
Also a picture of my dog, Monty (or Montie, we never could agree on a spelling) because it just seemed like a fitting way to kick off a positivity challenge.
This nonfiction account follows Zhongmei Lei, a girl from the country who defies all odds to become a student at the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy.
Why I loved it:
I’m just in absolute awe at all the things Zhongmei overcame. Reading her story made her an absolute inspiration to me. I also appreciated the author’s ability to give readers some insight into the historical and political setting in which Zhongmei’s story takes place. This is the kind of book that makes you want to push your own limits.
Once upon a time my friend Meghan and I decided to write a book together. Things have kind of gotten out of hand, but we’re having the time of our lives. We’ve been documenting part of our process on Twitter. Feel free to enjoy the following recreation of our shenanigans.
On the bright side, I think the book might end up being pretty good!
Irises by Francisco X. Stork
After the unexpected death of their father, sisters Kate and Mary must figure out how to care for themselves and their mother, who is in a permanent vegetative state.
Why I loved it:
First, I enjoyed this book because the writing was beautiful, which drew me in instantly. I love stories that focus on family relationships, and Stork does a fantastic job depicting the different personalities of the two sisters. They both feel realistic to me, and I enjoyed watching their relationship progress. I also appreciated the book’s approach to the character’s religion. The portrayal was powerful without feeling preachy.
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Chinese American student Jin Wang struggles to fit in at school. The Monkey King goes on a journey to become a human. Danny struggles with humiliation caused by his Chinese cousin. Yang brilliantly ties these three tales together in his graphic novel.
Why I loved it:
Gene Yang is one of those authors where I want to read everything he writes. He always seems to achieve this perfect balance of humor and emotion. Seriously, though, the guy is hilarious and I very much appreciate humor.
Initially I couldn’t see how the three story lines would tie together. I can’t say too much without spoilers, but it’s so beautifully done. Yang is a real master of craft.
Most importantly, though, is how I related to the characters. The book focuses on a Chinese American boy accepting his identity. I think everyone has aspects of their identity they’d rather hide, and this is a book about embracing who you really are. Seeing the connection between myself and Jin also helped me build empathy through shared experience. A wonderful narrative about self acceptance.
This is the kind of book I could go back to over and over again.