Columbine + Civil Rights – Nonfiction Reading Month

Last month, I devoted my reading month to non-fiction. I read two books and one non-fiction graphic novel. One of the books I read, Missoula Rape and the Justice System in a College Town was a book review I posted a few weeks ago. I wanted to discuss the other book and graphic novel I read this month as I felt proud of myself for solely sticking to non-fiction books.

Columbine by Dave Cullen

Columbine is a non-fiction book about the Columbine school shooting in Colorado on April 20th, 1999. Dave Cullen paints a picture of what happened during the shooting with an emphasized focus on the school shooters and why they committed this atrocity.

I originally read Columbine back when I was in high school. Reading Columbine now versus 10 years ago was a much different experience. This is partly due to the world that we live in, but also I felt that my opinion about this book is different. Columbine puts a huge focus on the school shooters which I wasn’t interested in. In these violent acts, the media often talks about the killers and less about the people impacted by the shooting. I still cannot name all thirteen of the victims and I even looked at the back of the book and saw that one of the victims wasn’t listed at all during the book. It could have been because Dave Cullen might not have had permission to interview his family. However, I don’t see why there wasn’t a page included of all the people who were killed.

I think this book was extremely well written, I just think it emphasized too much on the wrong portion of this event. I rated Columbine three stars on Goodreads.

March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

March: Book One is a non-fiction graphic novel detailing Congressman John Lewis’s story and how he became such an active member of the Civil Rights movement. From being raised on a farm in rural Alabama to sneaking away off to school, and how was trained for nonviolent protesting, John Lewis is most certainly a hero.

I’m thrilled to see more non-fiction graphic novels being published! Reading non-fiction can feel like a chore depending on the author. I loved everything about March: Book One. It is an easy-to-follow story. I liked how the present time was John Lewis about to go to President Barack Obama’s inauguration. It shows how far history has come, but also how much change still needs to happen.

One of the most interesting parts of the story was how John talks about training for nonviolent protesting. John works with Jim Lawson, one of the leaders of nonviolent protesting. During this training, each person did roleplays where they practiced yelling awful things, so the people participating in the sit-ins were practicing sitting in peace. It’s awful that the world was this way, but how brave these individuals were for standing up for equality.

The artwork in this completely coincides with John Lewis’s story. Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell use black & white to tell the complete story. I think it works for the imagery that they are working with. I thought the images were interesting to read and helped portray the darkness of the time period.

March: Book One was such an engaging read. I rated March: Book One five stars.

It was such a successful reading month for me! I do have one more non-fiction book that I’m reading now that I plan on finishing by the end of the year. As far as July, I’m sensing it’s going to be a mystery or thriller type of mood for me, but we shall see.

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