But you can also read memoirs of ordinary abuse, or the abuse like a woman being educated and shot for it. It's hard to imagine the ban on education, I think education is so important, but the death instinct has forces
I'm also reading about the Irish potato famine. I'm one thirty second Irish (Great Grandfather) and perhaps more, who knows in the slush of American heritage. A northern european mutt, adding in Ecuadorian heritage to my sons and some Cherokee for my daughter. The smoosh of genetics.
I was particularly offended by a father giving away Katherine in Taming of the Shrew and someone recommended I read "Traffic in Women" by Gayle Rubin. The article helps to explain how women were given away by men, from an anthropologist viewpoint.
Despite one black woman conservative saying there is no racism in America, I read extensively of the African-American literature. I worked with a man who talked about getting paid less than his white co-worker. I apologized to him for my race. In social work school I learned that to deny racism was perhaps the racist thing in the world. To deny the existence of others suffering is a common strategy. The horrified anxiety of seeing others suffering causes us to turn our gaze and deny it. That didn't happen.
It's much easier to blame the victims of systematic violence, racism, sexism, classism. Since this happened to you, then you must have somehow asked for it. If you are poor in America you must be doing something wrong. You have a challenging school? Raise above. People do raise above and get out, you can do the same.
Forget reading, look at the homeless person you next see. I worked as a social worker for many years and saw suffering up close. I'll forever be unable to unsee what I saw, though I have blocked and forgotten quite a lot of it. People are suffering. Turn on the TV and watch the wars around the world. A lot of suffering you see is through a book or the TV but you also see it in real life. Perhaps you are stuck in an Emergency waiting room, or you drive past a car accident. You can't avoid suffering, experiencing it yourself or seeing it in others.
While religions can cause suffering, they are also one of the few institutions that suggest to not avert your gaze, to reflect on it. Can you keep your gaze on suffering when you see it? Do you notice the efforts to push it away, the horrified anxiety we feel.