From tragic to uplifting and cheerful to sobering, Associated Students of the University of New Mexico President Becka Myers’s five favorite books cover a wide range of time and genre.
“It has to be good but it also has to have impact,” Myers said describing why she chose these five books. “All of these books have had some sort of larger contextual things behind why they are my favorite books.”
“Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte
Myers said she first came across this mid-nineteenth century english classic on her mother’s desk. She said she was in the fourth grade then.
“(My parents) did shield me from very adult themes, but when it came to conversations like those that happen in Wuthering Heights,” Myers said referring to themes of abuse and obsession in the book, “I was very much an equal when it came to those things.”
“I didn’t really understand it when I first read it to an extant, but I had seen the masterpiece classic film version of it and so I did kinda get the underlying story,” she said.
“Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
Myers said she read this one in middle school.
The book chronicles Mortenson’s desire to climb K2, one of the world's tallest mountains, which sits on the border between China and Pakistan. When Mortenson comes down on the Pakistani side, he comes across a village without a school.
Years after the book’s publication, it was revealed that the book exaggerated Mortenson’s success in building schools and fabricated a story of his abduction by the Taliban.
“I didn’t really dive to much into that when I was in middle school,” Myers said.
Instead, Myers said the message of the book still rang true. She said she hadn’t read it cover to cover since middle school, but did go back to read certain stories.
“The message of it, the proportion of peace, is still a beautiful one that drilled home,” Myers said.
“The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander
“The book for me showed how systematically (the U.S.) operates as...a system for racial control.”
The book’s author looks at the history of racism and segregation in the U.S. and argues that segregation can and does exist without the overt legal mechanisms of the Jim Crow era.
“People can say we as a society have progressed … but when we look at it there is still room to go,” she said.
“The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Written by a French Aristocrat in midst of World War Two, “Le Prince Petit,” as it was originally called in French, follows the little prince as ventures across worlds. He visits places and meets people analogous to real world.
Myers said she her first time reading this one came at French camp.
“When I first read it I thought it was beautiful. I had just been learning how to read french and so I didn’t really understand. It was in a tense I didn’t really get.”
She said she was proud of herself for finishing it.
“I hadn’t really experienced a significant loss,” she said referring to one of the major themes of the book.
“As I was at that camp, I had gotten the phone call that my mom had passed away.” Myers was 16 at the time.
“At this camp any other type of literature that was in English was considered contraband. And so I flew home and the only book I had was this book. I read it again, I felt differently toward it after that.”
“The message from the fox about loss, ‘it is time you have lost for your rose that makes your rose so important,’ I think really stuck to me and will always stick to me.”
Now, Myers said she looks back on that scene as something beautiful and painful. “That’s the beauty in art,” she said. “You can kinda pick what things mean to you.”
“Where The Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein
“This is actually my mother’s favorite book. Well, it was one of them. I remember she was read it to me as a kid and she would say Shel Silverstein was her favorite.
“I think (the poems) are funny. I think they are beautiful. I think they do address some adult themes in a lot of ways. I think they’re humorous,” Myers said. “ When I first read them as a kid I was like ‘what is this?’”
Published in 1974, this collection of children's poetry made the fifth and final spot on Myers’ list.