7 Mar
2014
Posted in: reading
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March’s Book List

I’m an avid reader, raising a brood of book lovers. Each month I’ll share what we’re all reading and would love to hear what books you recommend.

monthly reading rack

Me:

Most months I’ll use this space to list which books all six of us are enjoying. I enjoy discovering new books from what other people are reading, and I hope someone will be exposed to new books from our reading list. Honestly, today I don’t have the energy to search through everyone’s book piles to compile a complete list. I do have two books I can’t get out of my head I’d love to “discuss.”

Last month, I read Flyboys: A True Story of Courage by James Bradley. It was given to me by a friend and had been on my to-read list for months. World War II books are my default genre. It’s a subject I’ve read about extensively, but with each new book, I learn my knowledge is lacking. Flyboys was no exception. The story centers around several airmen who were shot down in the Pacific. The book encompasses much more than the mystery that surrounds their fate. I appreciate Bradley’s candor when discussing not only what the Japanese were doing in the war but also what the American military did as well. It was difficult truth to read. I could only read 30 or 40 pages in a sitting, but am glad for new knowledge gained, horrific as it is.

I finished 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup this week. One of my book clubs discussed it this week and watched the newly released, Oscar-winning movie. Northup’s story is a heart-breakingly true rendition of his 12 years in slavery. He was an African-American man born free in New York in the 1800s only to find himself kidnapped and sold into slavery in the 1840s. I found the book compelling because of its fairness. There isn’t a political undercurrent to the book. It’s simply Northup’s painful tale about the people he encountered and his first-hand experiences. The movie, while wonderfully made, doesn’t do the book the justice it deserves.

Both Flyboys and 12 Years a Slave reinforce why I make time to read. Those books represent some of the worst in humanity but also glimpses into good as well. Shying away from our past does nothing to enlighten our present. Reading non-fiction has taught me how foolish it is to assume the adage “two sides to every story” is true. Every story is multifaceted and complicated. Reading helps to slowly add different facets on the way to a more complete understanding of the world we live in and what those before us endured.

I’m asked all the time how I have time to read as much as I do. It’s a gift I give myself. I delve into other people’s stories to unwind from my own. In those hundreds of pages I read each month, I shape the person I want to become and the beliefs I hold.

“One must always be careful of books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” — Cassandra Clare

 

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