This post is fresh from my dusty Drafts folder … a collection of things I wanted to say but didn’t.
The horrific events in Christchurch are a reminder that decent people should speak up more often. Failure to do so can mean public discourse is dominated by blinkered, unbalanced, extremist voices. When these are all we hear, the angry clamour can be normalised. There’s a risk we’ll forget there’s a rational moderate middle ground, inhabited (I believe) by most of the population. Good people are out there. It’s just that they’re too polite or wise to engage and/or publishers know their views don’t work as well as click bait.
Which brings me back to the original purpose for this post. I can’t recall who said it first, but books are empathy tools. Or, to quote Neil Gaiman, ‘little empathy machines’ that make it harder to hate.
I believe in the maxim that it’s best not to judge people until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Books let us inhabit another person’s shoes, head, world…
The titles listed below all deal with immigration issues, asylum seekers and human rights. The content is confronting. It includes torture, murder, starvation, extreme poverty, death, grief, mental illness and injustice.
All four affected me deeply. Please consider the maturity of readers when recommending these books. Actively debrief those readers but encourage them to keep reading on these subjects.
Because if we don’t understand why some people need to seek safety, ignorance and fear may continue to fester. And that’s dangerous for all of us.
Highly recommended reading:
- The Bone Sparrow – Zana Fraillon (Middle fiction / YA)
- Shining (The Story of a Lucky Man) – Abdi Aden (Autobiography)
- Illegal – Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin (Graphic novel)
- The People Smuggler – Robin de Crespigny (Non-fiction)