Grateful 43 – Books

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Day 22 -Books

“Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body. As by the one, health is preserved, strengthened, and invigorated: by the other, virtue (which is the health of the mind) is kept alive, cherished, and confirmed.” – Joseph Addison

Reading is a pastime that can soothe, encourage or even teach. The below books taught me.  I am grateful 4 these 3 books I’ve read this year.

ONE. Small Great Things: A Novel by Jodi Picoult. This book was enlightening and difficult to read at times. It showed me how my white skin gives me certain privileges, even today, even in California.

It wasn’t until I read this book that I really looked around and SAW what I wasn’t seeing. Like when I come out of  a local grocery store, I am NEVER asked for my receipt. And yet I frequently see people of colour being asked.

One lesson I learned is the necessity of me to use my white privilege for good. “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are,” (Benjamin Franklin).

I am grateful for this shake up in perspective. And may I use this changed perspective to make a difference.

TWO. A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson. I don’t remember who recommended it. But once I found out that the main character lived a yearlong “quest,” I KNEW I had to read it. I am fascinated by those types of books because we get to see the changes people make – the determined start, the messy middle and then the changed person at the end.

I am grateful for this book because it pointed out six areas of change I want to be mindful of. I don’t have to go on a year-long quest to learn and embrace these ideas. Here is my post that shares my six areas with corresponding favourite quotes from the book.

These 6 areas are . . . Be Happy With Me . . .  Have Friendships That Cause Me To Grow . . . Become Whole By Paying Attention . . . Laugh More . . . Live A Full Life . . . Choose To Age Well.

THREE. Glass Houses: A Novel by Louise Penny. This latest book is a novel from the Chief Inspector Gamache series. These books are mystery/crime books set in the imaginary, hidden away town of Three Pines located on the eastern Canadian/American border.You can go here to read about the book.

I appreciated two ideas from the book.

First, where am I most comfortable and is it a place of competency or a prison?

We all have, she knew, a place where we’re not only most comfortable, but most competent. Her’s was her bookstore. Olivier’s was the bistro. Clara’s was her studio.

Sarah’s the bakery. And Anton’s was the kitchen.

But sometimes that comfort was an illusion. Masquerading as protecting, while actually imprisoning. …

“It’s important, Madeleine, not to cut people out of our lives. Isolation doesn’t make us better at our job. It makes us weaker, more vulnerable. ~ Chief Superintendent Gamache

Second, are we letting bullies into our lives and what are the ramifications when we give them that kind of power?

We see it when bullies are in charge. It becomes part of the culture of an institution, a family, an ethnic group, a country. It becomes not just acceptable, but expected. Applauded even.

Penny wrote the following in her Author’s Note . . .

Three Pines is a state of mind. When we choose tolerance over hate. Kindness over cruelty. Goodness over bullying. When we choose to be hopeful, not cynical. Then we live in Three Pines.

I don’t always make those choices, but I do know when I am in the wilderness and when I am in the bistro. I know where I want to be, and I know how to get there. And so do you.

Penny wrote the following about her series . . . 

… more than murder, more than all the rancid emotions and actions, my books are about goodness. And kindness. About choices. About friendship and belonging. And love. Enduring love.

If you take only one thing away from any of my books I’d like it to be this:

Goodness exists.

Goodness exists because people (in her books and in real life)  . . . make purposeful choices to be kind . . . are sacrificial in their friendship . . . thoughtfully consider how their actions impact others, . . . . and answer to a higher court.  . . . I am grateful for this book’s theme that “goodness exists” and we do need to protect it with our actions and words. I want to do this.

Your Turn . . . 

I am writing a gratitude series titled Grateful 43. I will do this for 43 days. And I will write three things for which I am grateful 4 each topic. Do you see the play on the words 43 and FOR THREE?  Go here for the 43 Days of Gratitude JOURNAL Prompts

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