I Hate Eclipse And Need Things To Get a Little More Real Around Here

Last weekend Toronto was taken over by the G20 summit. A police presence, protests and destruction of property ensued.

I was uptown in Yuppie-ville reading the third book in the Twilight series, Eclipse, so what do I know about any of this? Nothing.

I'm not ever going to participate in a street protest. I don't watch or read the news. Sometimes I think the only cause I believe in is my career and when I'm finally going to be able to afford a cottage up north (sigh, some day).

I have't quite checked into the apathy hotel yet, though. I did the Myers-Briggs test last weekend and I'm the INFJ personality type. This means I have some capacity for empathy. And if I believe in anything, it's the power of books to open minds and hearts and dispel ignorance.

Yet, smarts don't necessarily equate good deeds. That's why books, especially novels and narrative non-fiction, are so important because they humanize and add dimension to raw data.

I'm going to make more of an effort to feature books that enlighten as well as entertain. Hell will freeze over before I read a book straight up about finance or politics but I've found there are creative ways to get around this problem. On my TBR pile is Meltdown Iceland, which focuses on how Iceland's financial crisis illustrates on a small scale what's happening with our global economy. I can manage this because I have a fetish for Iceland as some sort of mystic Viking colony.

Even novels can work well. The cyber thriller Freedomtouches on food politics. The Sookie Stackhouseseries champions gay rights. Blonde Rootsturns racism on its head. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoohas a feminist and political bent.

Non-fiction with a strong narrative aspect also appeals to me. Don't Sleep, There Are Snakesexplores environmental destruction and questions the emotional health of modern living. Methland, one of my favorite book ever, touches on how the meth epidemic is closely tied to America's failing economy.

I'll reveal the series name later, and also possibly a badge for those of you who also want to highlight books that host crucial knowledge. I don't care if it's A New Earthor The Ascent Of Money, I'm just interested in books that illustrate something about how the world ticks today, what matters to motivated people, how ordinary people can contribute at an ordinary level to making the world a saner, healthier, educated place, what current thinking looks like a little left of centre, and what's happening in the world outside of the radius of our morning commute, weekend retreat, and beach vacation.

Stay tuned.


Serena said...

Isn't it fun to find books that speak about larger issues, but in a more entertaining way than nonfiction ever could?

B.Kienapple said...

I'm starting to warm up to non-fiction ever since I read Methland. I'm also just about to dive into The Authenticity Hoax, which I'm told is awesomesauce.

August said...

I'd highly recommend David Simon's Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. It's about the Baltimore Police Homicide unit in the late '80s (and is the main source material for the two best cop shows in TV history, Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire), but I think it has tremendous relevance for the contemporary reader.

The style is accessible, and there are surprising elements of grace and humour for what is essentially an up-close, highly-personalized look at one of the bleakest jobs in the world.

I read maybe one volume of non-fiction a year, but I'm such an evangelist for this book I would even loan you my copy if you decide you were interested.

mynovelreviews said...

Looking forward to this series! i love fiction books that touch on contemporary real world issues...

I really liked Even the Dogs, about heroine addiction. My mind is blank right now, but I's sure you'll come up with some great and enlightening reads.

B.Kienapple said...

August: you've sold me. I will library it. Consider it read and reviewed.
Tricia: I've heard good things about Even the Dogs but I gave my copy away so I don't see me reading it. A Million Little Pieces holds such a place in my heart on the subject of addiction (EVEN if it's a false account) that I doubt any book could usurp it!


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