Usually I use this blog to talk about the research I’m doing or share the travels I’m blessed to make, but today I want to go in a slightly different direction. I want to talk about how reading has enriched my life and I want to start a discussion. Let me start by saying I watch a LOT of television and am a movie (and live theater) junkie. But a good book–fiction or not–broadens my world in ways I could never have imagined. It introduces me to people and cultures I know nothing about. It makes me think about how my biases might impact others. In a world that is increasingly divided, a book can bring people of differing points of view together.

At the moment I am listening to WE WERE THE LUCKY ONES (Georgia Hunter)–it’s based on a true story of a Polish/Jewish family during WWII. While I read a lot of WWII fiction, this novel does an especially good job of showing how sheer determination to survive can inspire innovation and courage beyond what we might think possible. The story also makes the characters so real and universal–their hopes and dreams are in tune with those of any family in any culture.

On my bedside table is a quiet novel, THE WHISTLING SEASON (Ivan Doig,) set in eastern Montana in a far simpler time of one-room schoolhouses and next-door neighbors who lived half a mile away. It’s a good book to be reading in these chaotic times.

Finally–for research–I’m reading the biography of Monica de Wichfeld, an Irish-born and Danish-wed heroine of the resistance during WWII. MONICA (Christine Sutherland) details the life of a woman who was independent well before feminine independence was in vogue–a woman who well could have inspired Robert Kennedy’s famous quote: “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.”

SO…What are YOU reading/listening to? What impact is that book having on the way you look at the world and your life? (And BTW, maybe the effect is that the story simply gives you pleasure–nothing wrong with escapism!)