Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Has Reading changed you?

I just finished reading a very thought provoking book, and I know that it has changed me, somehow.

I can’t define the change yet.  It’s hard to put my finger on it, but I feel different. 

The book was fiction, but the story was built on truth—tragic, terrible truth.   A lot of compelling stories are based on truth.  This exact story may not have happened, but similar stories have happened.  I’m sure of it.
I am holding in my heart today the truth that what we read shapes us, changes us.  I am reflecting on other books that have changed my thinking, changed my behavior, changed my life.

Some of the books that have changed me have made me angry.  Other books have brought me hope dressed in different clothes, or a new recipe for peace.   If a book is going to change me it may challenge my thinking or put a new twist on what I thought I knew.  Maybe it will turn my thinking upside down.
Books may also validate my thinking and give my values shape and color.  I love this kind of change too.

The book I just read made me angry and also validated my thinking.  There is a new shape and color to my ideas.  It hovers, just out of reach. 

This summer, I read for the first time Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  After visiting the Harriet Beecher Stowe Museum and learning more about how her book shaped public opinion and helped Lincoln free the slaves, I was curious.  How does one create a book with that kind of power?

The Beecher girls were married to preachers.  The were the daughters of a preacher.  They were expected to let their husbands do the talking.  Instead they wrote.

Harriet's book was long and wordy, so different from the books published today.   Instead of a fast food meal, it was a seven course sit down dinner.  It was carefully crafted to sway public opinion, and it changed the thinking of a nation.
I want to write books like that.  Not to be powerful, not to be wordy, but to make a difference.  I love that words have the power to change people. 

The book I just read was The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams.  It is a story of modern polygamy colliding brutally with a thirteen year old girl. She may be fictional, but I will not soon forget Kyra and her experience. 

How has it changed me?  I’m still processing this, but I think it has strengthened my core beliefs.  It has something to do with the value of an individual, the price of freedom, and the right to choose.
Has reading changed you?
Linda Garner


1 comment:

Lowana Johnson said...

Nice post. If books do not change us, why do we use them so much in school? How can we not be changed by what we read?