One of my favourite things about books, besides their ability to transport me to another place and time, is how they are able to present new ideas and perspectives that may not have reached me otherwise. I’ve been lucky enough to have read and studied many books growing up, and this has continued even after I graduated from formal schooling. I can’t be more thankful that reading has provided me with so many opportunities to learn and absorb stories that are different from my own, and as I grow older (and hopefully wiser), I’ve come to the conclusion that I never, ever want to stop learning. The following three books are ones that have strongly influenced me, helping to shape my worldview and opinions on certain topics. Since this weekend is American thanksgiving, I thought I’d give my thanks to these books on my blog.
1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
With everything that has been going on lately, I’ve been compelled to put all of my other books aside and re-read Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. I read this book for the first time in high school and even then it resonated strongly with me. During this re-read, I am not only aware of its political message, I am also appreciating Atticus Finch’s character a lot more; he is a great father to Jem and Scout and their relationship is so wonderful and heartwarming to read about. I have not finished my re-read, but I’m seriously contemplating reviewing the book once I am done.
Everyone should at least give this classic book a go as it reminds us that right thing isn’t always the easiest to do, but standing up for what is right is always worth a try.
2. All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
Shortlisted for the 2014 Giller Prize, this tender and skillfully crafted book asks us to reconsider our views on assisted suicide and depression. As Yoli grapples with her sister Elf’s desire to end her own life, she is faced with a difficult question: should she help her sister? Is it selfish to keep someone alive when they want to die? Is there a right or wrong thing to do? This has always been something that I’ve wondered about, and I respect Toews’ nonjudgmental way of presenting the varying point of views on this subject. After reading this book, I feel like my thoughts on this are more well-rounded, and I am thankful that this book allowed me to work out my feelings along with it.
I’d recommend this book for those who have ever wanted to read an insightful and thought-provoking book that deals with the morality of suicide. The book itself doesn’t deliver a concrete answer, but perhaps you’ll be able to work out your views yourself along the way.
3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Another classic that is commonly taught in high school, The Handmaid’s Tale is a book that reinforced my views regarding gender inequality, and how haunting it can be when a society or regime is so oppressive that basic human rights are restricted by made up rules. What would happen if women’s basic rights to read and live a fulfilled life with a chosen family get taken away? Logically, human rights should be a given, but The Handmaid’s Tale presents a terrifying world where these rights are privileges belonging to a select few.
Interested in human rights and gender equality or unconcerned when it comes to these matters? This book is bound to be thought-provoking to whoever picks it up.
That’s it for me! These books have all profoundly impacted me in one way or another and I would love to hear your thoughts on them. Have you read any of these books? Are there any books that have shaped YOUR worldview and changed your mind about things?