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Chapter 44 - Books That May Change Your Point of View

I enjoy books the most that teach me something or give me a different perspective. I don't expect all books to do this and, in fact, I always switch back and forth between a "heavy" book and a lighter read. Many books that change the way I think or see things are those of other cultures or other races. I may never know what it is like, for example, to be a servant in India, but if I read about the experience, I know more.

For me, reading about other cultures and backgrounds gives me a wider world view and helps me to have compassion or at least understanding about the problems others go through. It also clarifies the human condition for me as there are hopes and desires that all humans have regardless of who they are or where they live.

Here are some books which have given me insight into the experiences of others.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi - This story of half-sisters is eye-opening. Effia marries a British officer in charge of Cape Coast Castle where she lives. Her half-sister Esi is captured by a rival tribe, sold into slavery and transported to America. As the family saga moves through the generations, it provokes many questions as to which family has lead the better life.

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah - At the time Trevor Noah was born it was a crime for a native African and a white person to be married or to have sexual relations. Trevor's story starts with an African mother and a white, Swiss father and showcases the struggles his mother went through to raise him. While there are many things that Trevor does that may not seem right in our society, it is apparent that he needed to be creative to crawl out of the financial and social hole of apartheid.

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar - One of my favorite Umrigar books, The Space Between Us tells the story of a maid and the upper middle class woman she works for in India. Illiterate Bhima has been serving the Dubash family for many years. She has raised a beautiful daughter, Maya, who is going to college courtesy of Sera Dubash. When Maya becomes pregnant by Sera's engaged son, the caste issue rears it ugly head.

Killing Crazy Horse by Bill O'Reilly - This wonderful overview of the Indian wars in our nation's history is a must read. While you might know about some of the plans to move Indians west or to assimilate the Indians, you probably don't know it all. The book gives the reader a much better understanding of our nation's history.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - This is my favorite book by Hosseini. In it he gives a historical and sociological account of Afghanistan's history through the lives of his two main characters, Mariam and Laila. As they become allies in a male dominated society, the reader starts to understand the Afghanistan of today.

Are there any books you've read which have changed your perception of things? Let me know.


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