30 June 2010

The start of something new

So here I am, my first post. Exciting! I’m also excited because it’s time to choose my next book to read. But I’m having a hard time deciding what novel to commit to next.

The last book I read, Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill, told the life story of Aminata Diallo, an African girl who is abducted from her family, somehow survives the long journey across the Atlantic to be sold into slavery in the ‘new world’ and ultimately becomes involved in the abolitionist cause in Britain.

It’s a well-researched fiction based on historical reality. Reading it brought to mind George Santayana’s very famous statement: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Books like this are important because they help us to remember, and learn from, the past.

But I recommend Someone Knows My Name not only because it teaches us about the past in an engaging and engrossing way, but also because it makes you grateful for everything that you have.

We seem to have a high level of ‘discontent’ in modern western society. People want better jobs, more money, fancier things, to find that special someone, or to change the special someone they’ve already found. The list goes on and on.

This story reminded me how easy I have it! Your everyday worries will shrink when you consider the real hardships so many people have had to endure in the past. Not to mention the hardships people endure today: from the wife in your community who silently suffers beatings to the millions of innocent people who live in areas of conflict. Just imagine the stories they could tell.

So… after that tangent… I’ll keep on trying to pick a novel to read next.

If you have a story you would recommend let me know and I’ll add it to my reading list!