Reading is my favorite doorway into new thoughts, experiences and perspectives. After I’d complied my list of favorite books for inclusion in both Big Topics at Midnight and my website—a bit overwhelming to say the least … Are these my favoritest favorites? Am I forgetting a cherished book? …—I stepped back and looked over the list with new eyes.
I saw lots of diversity on the reading list, but was aware that most of the authors had white skin. I challenged myself to expand the edges of my reading. Last week as I was gathering up books from every room in the house to return them to the shelves or library, I realized I’d stepped up to the plate. And I loved every book.
I’ve been drawn to novels, and here are the best from my summer’s reading:
The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow. As her website says, “Inspired by a true story of a mother’s twisted love, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky reveals an unfathomable past and explores issues of identity at a time when many people are asking ‘Must race confine us and define us?’” Great story about love and tragedy and healing, all held in a biracial family.
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler. This narrative leads through the fire of a civilization in chaos, but “what begins as a flight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny… and the birth of a new faith.” I love books that head straight into tough, big topics and find transformation on the otherside.
Women of the Silk by Gail Tsukiyama. I actually have reread one of her novels (Dreaming Water) and read this one. Tsukiyama is a beautiful storyteller, with her books set in China (this one), Japan and/or the US.
And for a different sort of diversity, I picked up Second Son: Transitioning Toward My Destiny, Love, and Life a memoir by Ryan Sallans. A new friend of mine is a female to male transgendered person. His experience is far outside of mine and I wanted to know more. So I picked up this book, learned lots and plan to seek out a few more.
Nothing like listening to someone else’s story—in fiction or memoir—to learn more about others and myself.
How about you? What edges do you want to push out a bit through your own reading?