"Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.” —Isaac Asimov
I've made a conscious effort to stay off social media the past several days. I highly recommend it. Aside from a few thoughtful articles shared from those I love on both sides of this vast political divide, it's mainly been more of the same hateful rhetoric displayed throughout this wretched election season, only amplified. And even more vitriolic—with each side demonizing the other. When did we stop seeing each other as the beautifully complex individuals we are and instead through the lens of which candidate won our vote? That sells every single one of us short.
I woke up this morning determined to scrub off my window on the world and let light in. In my never ending search for silver linings, I realized this election can be a teaching moment. It seems to me we've all become so set in our own beliefs and opinions that we've stopped listening to each other. Not listening to refute, persuade, or demean, but listening to understand. And of course, because books are a balm to me, reading to understand.
Atticus Finch put it best: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it." With that in mind, here are my next two reads:
Author Amy Chua writes of Hillbilly Elegy: “A beautifully and powerfully written memoir about the author’s journey from a troubled, addiction-torn Appalachian family to Yale Law School, Hillbilly Elegy is shocking, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, and hysterically funny. It’s also a profoundly important book, one that opens a window on a part of America usually hidden from view and offers genuine hope in the form of hard-hitting honesty.” In the words of another reviewer, these are "women and men who dearly love their country, yet who feel powerless as their way of life is devastated."
When Toni Morrison says a book is required reading, I take note. She writes: "The language of Between the World and Me, like Coates's journey, is visceral, eloquent, and beautifully redemptive. And its examination of the hazards and hopes of black male life is a profound as it is revelatory." Then there's this hauntingly beautiful quote from the author himself: “This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”