Saturday, October 09, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 17

Today's topic is a book that I've read that changed my views on something. Again, this is particularly difficult because there are so many to choose from. Not just because I read so much -- which I do -- but because almost everything I read affects me in some way. All good books should affect you like that. And the great ones? They should make you think about things in a new way, make you question your beliefs, and inspire you.

That said, in the past few years, I think the book that has affected me the most is The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. First and foremost, she's become one of my favorite authors -- which is especially wonderful because she's still alive AND relatively prolific -- which means that I keep getting to read new things. (And she's even on Twitter! Bonus!)

Anyway, I read the book in a contemporary literature class during my first year of college, but like a lot of things I read in college, I raced through it, just getting what I needed out of it to get a good grade on the paper or exam -- which, sadly, was pretty much like my approach to college in general. (This, ultimately, is why I'm back in school.)

Lucky for me, someone mentioned something about the book to me sometime around the time of the 2004 presidential election, when there was a strange intersect in this country between what seemed a little like fundamentalist religion and right-wing neo-fascist politics. So I re-read the book. And wow! Imagining what might happen if the country took a few more steps towards a social conservatism led by people who interpret the bible literally? SCARY. But what is most frightening is that the book is not all that far-fetched. I mean, usually, when you read dystopic futuristic books, there is some kind of crazy environmental or scientific catastrophe that launches the entire world into a tailspin. But this book? Completely possible, and completely in the control of human beings. So now, every time I hear about some politically-oriented fundamentalist group trying to use biblical literalism to back up some completely immoderate position (see Westboro Baptist Church), all while laughing in the face of basic human values, a little chill goes down my spine. Because this book shows just what is at the end of the slippery-slope. And it's not pretty.

Oh, and the book? Great read. Well written, interesting, fantastic story.

Yesterday: Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Tomorrow: Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.

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