Discovering New Perspectives

I love to wander a bookstore. If I can find a local independent store when I travel for work I am there in a flash. I want to see them flourish so I always try to find something I might not otherwise have read. I want to discover a new perspective. Some of the best books I have read have been from these explorations. Within my finds, I have had more shifts in thinking. I have discovered more new information. I have learned to look at my world differently by this simple activity than I have plucking things off the New York Times Best Seller list or the plethora of other best of lists.

I love more than anything, reading something that truly shifts my thinking or point of view. Some of them have been small books that very few people have heard of. Little treasures of wonder. Others became well known. A few I have discovered are:

A Chance in the World:  An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home  by Steve Pemberton. – This one hit me like a punch in the gut. It opened my eyes to so many things. Foster children, The importance of reading in one’s life, the importance of a community and support network.  I found this in a little shop in Amelia Island, Florida. It is really one of my favorites of all time.

“Those stories helped me realize that, although tragedy and loss are regrettably commonplace, we aren’t measured by what happens to us but rather by how we respond to it.” Steve Pemberton, A Chance in the World

Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship  by Michelle Kuo. – This was a fascinating story of the author who chose to teach in one of the AVIDpoorest areas of the Delta Region after graduating Harvard rather than go directly to Law School. The experience created conflict and guilt in her psyche. It was an amazing journey. I would never have stumbled onto it if I had not visited Avid Books in Athens, Georgia and read a little card that told me I needed to read it. It is a wonderful Memoir. The author stretched herself and found that she knew nothing despite all the ideals she brought with her. I was thankful she shared her journey with me.

“There was a cliché about teaching: Once a teacher, always a teacher. But there was truth to it. Your sense of responsibility to your students never leaves you. You wonder about the different paths they might have taken. You wonder if you failed them.” Michelle Kuo, Reading with Patrick

Lab Girl – By Hope Jahren – Okay, so this one was on a lot of lists and talked about a lot.img_4144

However, I was in Books and Books in Coral Gables Florida and I read a card by an employee and it said, “THE BEST BOOK I HAVE READ IN A LONG WHILE – Buy it!” I did and I loved it. It opened my eyes to a world I knew nothing about. That of those who struggle in science and the world of Biology. I was indeed a great read.

“Each beginning is the end of a waiting. We are each given exactly one chance to be. Each of us is both impossible and inevitable. Every replete tree was first a seed that waited.” Hope Jahren, Lab Girl

These few titles are just one way I have found to discover new perspective. I have uncovered ideas and points of view I would have not otherwise. If I had stayed in my bubble and read what everyone else was reading, I don’t believe I would have truly touched the limits of my ability to learn. I never want to be a prisoner of one thought line. I want to understand all that there is to discover in this magnificent world. I want to be able to come to an understanding of others and their view points. I want to discover all that our creator has created.

What books have cause a shift in your thinking or outlook? I would love to hear about them.

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6 thoughts on “Discovering New Perspectives

  1. One of my favorites is “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie. It gave me such a unique perspective on assimilation, immigration, and what “home” means. Plus, it got me hooked on all that Adichie writes.

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    1. I’ve heard (or I should say read) a good deal about “Americanah” I had not heard the why. Having come from you it will have to move up in my list. I am reading some pretty big door stops right now. The new Grant Bio by Chernow, and two from Netgalley – a bio of “Martin Luther: A Biography for the People, by Dyron B. Daughrity and another called “Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an age of Fear” by Mathew Kaemingk. To add to it I have been trying to burrow into Les Miserables.

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      1. Ooh, I’m just starting “Making Room” by Christine Pohl, about recovering hospitality as a Christian tradition. I think I need to check out “Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration” as a companion…. Also, let me know when you read “Americanah.” I love talking about it! 😉

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  2. For me, no question – the most important book has been “Xin Loi, Viet Nam”, by Al Sever. A memoir of 30 months’ service as a helicopter crew chief (and door gunner), it helped me understand why I had the gut feeling that the combat-related PTSD I carry was not something shameful, but a testament to a kind of fierce joy and greatness I had experienced. I was not suffering the effects of things I had done and seen, but mourning the loss, as a civilian, of that which had defined me.

    #1 at FMF this week.

    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/10/your-dying-spouse-388-caregiver-so-far.html

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    1. I will have to look that one up. I love a good Memoir. Reading a passionate response to a writers also means a lot to me. I salute your service. I served, but never left stateside. Several friends were engaged in Desert Storm. For some reason I was not recalled as they were. Be well – God Bless you and keep you. Guy

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      1. Guy, it’s well worth the read. I worked as what is now called an OGA paramilitary; we could go where governments feared to tread, and saw some pretty weird stuff, stuff I can’t really write about.

        I’d also suggest David Bellavia’s “House To House”, a narrative of his experiences in Phantom Fury, the second Battle of Fallujah. He’s a good writer, and a good man.

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