Last week I started sharing why I read and to briefly review, it is based in the past, present, and future that books bring me.
Last Thursday I wrote about how the past was a reason I read. I spoke of my faith’s past, the world’s past, and my nation’s past.
I also read, as noted in the tag line of this blog that appears above “to experience the present.”
Now I stretch the present a bit back say, since the 1980′s? And this is where I love memoirs, especially those whose stories go back at least 32 years. (What an arbitrary number!)
I have always found people interesting and a story from college days reminds just how much I study people. I had a wonderful philosophy professor who lived, at the time in a geodesic dome (a la’ Buckmaster Fuller) and looked like philosopher. He was a simple and unpretentious person who was truly counter-cultural but in a gracious and not gruff way.
In the early 70′s he took a sabbatical and visited several communes in the American West including one in Colorado. One day he was invited to go to the zoo and declined. A week or so later he was again invited to go to the zoo again and decided to go along.
The zoo was the local suburban mall where they went and people watched!
Over 20 years ago I was engrossed in Lee Iacocca’s stories of his time in the American automotive industry from the Ford Mustang to the Chrysler turnaround. I have read President Obama’s first book Dreams from My Father that describes his life up to the point of the launch of his political career.
I have recently spent time ‘watching’ Carolyn Weber as she wrestled with issues of faith as an Oxford graduate student in her book Surprised by Oxford: Ian Morgan Cron and his journey through the murkiness of his family life with a mysterious father and the alcoholism that affected them both in Jesus, The CIA, my father, and me; and Jennifer Wilson and her family’s journey to Croatia to discover her family’s past and coming to terms with suburban American life in Running Away to Home. Each of these books have enriched my thinking and understanding of faith, the past, the present, the future, the big questions of Why? How? When?
Some perhaps find such writing ‘boring’ but the memoir, which I think tends to be a first person, takes us on a journey through a person’s eyes and the reveals to me at least, the common humanity we all have as we face as we navigate life and its transitions.
See you behind the page!