Thursday, September 11, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: 9/11 Edition

Today is the 7th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I know that not all of you who read are in the U.S., but still, it’s vital that none of us who are decent people forget the scope of disaster that a few, evil people can cause–anywhere in the world. It’s not about religion, it’s not about politics, it’s about the acknowledgment that humans should try to work together, not tear each other apart, even when they disagree.

So, feeling my way to a question here … Terrorists aren’t just movie villains any more. Do real-world catastrophes such as 9/11 (and the bombs in Madrid, and the ones in London, and the war in Darfur, and … really, all the human-driven, mass loss-of-life events) affect what you choose to read? Personally, I used to enjoy reading Tom Clancy, but haven’t been able to stomach his fight-terrorist kinds of books since.

And, does the reality of that kind of heartless, vicious attack–which happen on smaller scales ALL the time–change the way you feel about villains in the books you read? Are they scarier? Or more two-dimensional and cookie-cutter in the face of the things you see on the news?


I think the books I read affect the way I view these events. The power of a good book lies in its ability to transport you out of your own worldview and skin and give you insight into another. Whether it be fiction or memoir, if the book doesn't teach me something about someone else's perspective, than it has probably failed.
I don't particularly like to read books about modern day terrorism. I do like to read books about people that live in Iraq or Iran or another country in that area, about the everyday lives of people, about how they see things, the struggles they face, and their reactions to it all. I believe that if we saw each other as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, neighbors and co-workers, we could indeed begin to remove the thick blanket of misunderstanding between us--we could start to quiet the hate and begin to make decisions taking other people into account. And I think books are one of the most powerful tools we have to begin to do that. Numbers are less likely to make an impact on people...if I tell you how many people are dying today because they don't have enough food to eat, you are likely to feel passing regret. But if couched within a story, a point of connection...you will be more likely to do something. So yay for books and reading and learning!

View more answers at Booking Through Thursday

2 comments:

Jen - devourer of books said...

Great post. That is part of what I was trying to get at in my response as well. You could almost call it the redemptive power of storytelling.

Smilingsal said...

Sorry, but I'm not ready to read about the lives of those who grow up to bomb buildings. I don't think I want to understand such hatred.

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