This week's TTT topic is a freebie, so we can write about whatever we want. I chose to pick 10 books that I've read over the past year that have challenged my thinking or given me more to ponder. It's a mix of fiction and non-fiction. I do try to vary my reading to include books for pleasure and others to help me learn and gain new perspectives, so here are some that stood out. Enjoy!
1. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi: This book covers several hundred years of a family in Ghana and the United States. It touched upon colonialism, slavery, and oppression. It gave me a lot to ponder and was a compelling read as well.
2. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: This book made me laugh and cry, but it's also the story of an outcast who in some ways has a heart of gold. I don't want to give too much away, but the book made me think about the people around us who are going through great suffering, and how easy it is to dismiss someone as cold or grumpy when there may be more going on.
3. My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me by Jennifer Teege: The author of this book was adopted as a young age, and found out in her 30s that her grandfather was a Nazi war criminal. The book made me think about what family is and how we cope with the burdens of our past, both in our families and the collective past of our culture.
4. All Roads Lead To Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith: Okay, this book wasn't super deep, but I enjoyed the reflection on how people with different nationalities and cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds reacted to the same books.
5. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah: I really liked this book about two sisters in Vichy France during World War II. The author made me think about how I would respond under occupation, and what is real heroism? Is it just the person who puts her life on the line who is a heroine? It's not always so easy to judge what is right and wrong.
6. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander: A heavy and sobering book about the impact of the war on drugs on the African American community.
7. Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: I listened to the audiobook of Coates' letters to his son about what it means to be an African American male, and I plan on reading it again this year. Lots of food for thought.
8. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood: I had read this book in high school and picked it up again on a whim. It made me think about the treatment of the mentally ill in society, as well as at the idea of voices. Whose voice do we listen to, and whose do we disregard?
9. The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng: As with The Nightingale, this book made me think about the lives of those in extenuating circumstances (in this case, Japanese-occupied Malaya), and the idea of complicity and guilt. Some people had to cooperate with the the occupiers in order to save others. How do we determine whether that is heroism or guilt?
10. Joni: An Unforgettable Story by Joni Eareckson Tada: If you're not familiar with Joni's story, she was a teenager when she had an accident that left her as a quadriplegic, but has ultimately been able to use her story to inspire many. The book talks a lot about suffering and how it has the power to shape us. As someone who has gone through a major loss in the past year (though very different that Tada's), I appreciate her contemplative book about how we hold onto faith in the midst of disappointment, when He does not choose to heal us.
I'd love to hear what books have given you food for thought!