Literary musings, and news you can use, with Amye Archer
Three books that will renew your faith in humanity
Let’s face it, this week has been rough for everyone. As a mother of 6-year-old twins, it’s not lost on me that my children are exactly the same age as those lost at Sandy Hook Elementary. I, as well as many of you, have been grieving for days. It seems as though a fog has settled over most of the parents I know. Like you, I’m not quite sure what to do with the pain I feel. It’s so large and daunting I’m not sure where to put it.
I don’t expect that any of us will forget what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary anytime soon, nor should we, but if you’re like me, you’re searching hard for something to restore your faith in humanity.
And, if you’re like me, you sometimes turn to books for the answers. Here are three stories that might help to brighten the darkness in your world and maybe even make you smile again.
1. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. In this inspiring memoir, Rubin writes about her year of happiness. While riding the bus one day, Rubin decides that she is wasting time and not appreciating her life as she should. She then decides to embark on a 12-month happiness project where she sets out to test-drive the wisdom of others, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to become a happier person. The book has been a New York Times best seller, and has sparked a movement across the country.
2. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. Randy Pausch was a Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon when he delivered what is considered one of the most inspirational lectures in the school’s long history. Giving a “last lecture” — in which you impart life lessons to your students — is fairly common among professors, but what makes Pausch’s speech so powerful is that he was diagnosed with terminal cancer shortly before delivering his own. Instead of focusing on his impending death, the lecture is about childhood dreams and overcoming obstacles. It is a beautifully uplifting read.
3. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. I’m not a particularly religious person, but this book helped me remember how one life can touch so many others, a sentiment that might help all of us right now. Eddie is an old man who believes his life was uninspired. When he is accidentally killed and arrives in the afterlife, he discovers that heaven is not a place, but an experience enriched by five people who explain to him the real purpose of his life. Eddie soon discovers that his presence in the world was more meaningful than he had ever imagined. This book reminds us of the connection we share and why being here matters.
Not only might these books help you to find some easement for your own grief, but they would make a great gift for anyone you know to be struggling with the events of the last week, a reminder that there is still good in the world and that we must work towards keeping that alive.
Amye Barrese Archer is a writer and teacher in Scranton. You can read more about her at www.amyearcher.com.