One of my goals for 2017 is to read 20 books. Originally, I was just going to read some fiction and some books by Christian authors.
Then the 2016 election cycle happened.
Amidst all of the questions I have, the biggest one I keep coming back to is “How?”
How did we get to a place where so many people are angry, frustrated, and unwilling to listen to differing opinions?
So I’m starting with me. My Dad taught me not to just complain about something, come up with a solution. So here is where I am coming from…
I am white. I am a female. I love Jesus. I have a savings account. I have a master’s degree. I have 2 parents that are still married to each other. I have 3 healthy kids that all call my husband Dad. I can go running in shorts and a t-shirt by myself and I don’t give it a second thought. I’ve always had the ability to vote, to protest, and to speak freely. I’ve never missed a meal because of financial concerns. I’ve never had another adult hit me.
This isn’t the norm. My experience does not represent the majority.
This is normal to me; in my sheltered, upper middle class, white american life. But I’ve come to find out that most people do not live like this.
I want to know more. I want to look at life through the eyes of people who aren’t like me. I want to understand more. Obviously there are a lot of ways to do this; missions, volunteering, going to places that are outside my comfort zone, talking to strangers at parks, etc. I’m going to do these things. But I want to learn more along the way.
So I’ve changed what I am going to read this year. I am going to read 20 books that each present a different perspective from my own because the only two things that are going to change my life/views/perspective are the books I read and the people I meet.
I’ve finished reading my first book, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.
This book is written by J.D. Vance who is 31, a Yale law graduate (against all odds), and grew up in poverty-stricken Appalachia. The stories he tells and the glance into the culture he grew up in is shocking. It’s on all of the best seller lists right now for good reason. I came away from his book with new knowledge on what the word “poor” really means and greater understanding of the problems that people face throughout that region of the country.
I am committed to learning more about people in the world this year. Whether it is about Syrian Refugees, Women in Saudi Arabia, Inner-Cities in the U.S., Mexican Immigrants, Asian-Americans, Muslim-Americans, LGBT people, etc. I want to hear their stories, to get inside their heads…even if it is just for 200 pages.
The next book I’m reading is Jean Sasson’s Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia.
It’s just reading books but I think the more people who start listening and learning about the world around them the better off we will be. We don’t all have to agree, but we need to understand each other.
**I still have titles to select but here is what I have so far. Please recommend titles if you have read any that are great!
Poverty in America- Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, White Trash:The 400 year untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg, Losing Ground by Charles Murray
Mexican Immigration- Captivity Beyond Prisons by Martha D. Escobar, Wall and Mirrors by David Gutierrez
African-American- Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America by Charisse Jones, From #Blacklivesmatter to Black Liberation by Kenanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Refugee Crisis- City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp by Ben Rawlence.
Muslim- Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia. by Jean Sassoon, Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie: Being Muslim in America by Ranya Idliby.