26 days — 26 learnings: Part eleven of looking back & looking beyond.
My word for today is:
Out of the 75+ books, I read in 2017, I’ve given a handful an extremely well-deserved 5-star rating on goodreads.com.
Kindred was one of those books. It’s written by Octavia E. Butler, and when it came out in 1979, it was the first science fiction novel written by a black woman.
When I think of science fiction, I tend to think of books that purvey a version of the future. This book doesn’t. It takes us back in time in multiple sequences.
We get to walk in the shoes of Dana, an African-American woman, and Kevin, her husband, as they mysteriously get caught up in history.
I was captivated, immersed, absorbed. A tragedy, beautifully written. A strange outside-in view of a dark period in history.
Books, especially those that are so well written as this one, makes us capable of walking in other people’s shoes. If I would fall back into time, what would I do, how would I feel, how would I act?
It helps us to relate. It stimulates compassion. It also helps us to relativize; to put things in perspective.
There was a point when Dana and Kevin were back in their normality, where Kevin said: “Everything is so soft here.” “So easy…” and Dana replied: “I know.”
Which brings me to my eleventh learning:
Everything is a matter of perspective. With every additional pair of shoes, we try walking in, our perspective changes; it broadens.
My takeaway for 2018: Books allow one to travel in time, and through worlds, walking through different minds, and living through a multitude of situations. They expand our horizon, and if we read the right books, they can teach us compassion and reduce our preassumptions. Let’s keep on reading…