Monday, July 30, 2007

Summer reading

It kicked-off with Three Cups of Tea – non-fiction about Greg Mortenson, a man who oughtta be a shoe-in for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Then it was A Thousand Splendid Suns, fiction by Khaled Hosseini. I half-expected to be disappointed by this one only because his first book (The Kite Runner) was knock-your-socks-off fabulous. But ATSS was equally fabulous, just different.

If you’re going to read any of these books, start with Kite Runner, then read Three Cups of Tea followed by A Thousand Splendid Suns. These stories will make you see the Middle East – especially Afghanistan and Pakistan – as they are, not as the guns-in-the-air-screaming-Death-to-America media portray them.
Yesterday morning I finished reading Crashing Through by Robert Kurson.

I swear, Kurson is such an amazingly talented storyteller that he could write a book titled “Watching Paint Dry” and it would keep you up ‘til 2 a.m. wondering what happens next.

I learned about him via a former co-worker who let me read a publisher’s copy of Kurson's first book, Shadow Divers. It’s about a German sub discovered off the coast of New Jersey in the early 90’s and the courageous and compassionate divers who make it their mission to properly identify it, and all the doomed souls on board.

If you’re going to read Kurson, start with Shadow Divers.

Crashing Through is an entirely different sort of adventure story, but equally engaging.

It’s the true story of Mike May, a man who was blinded at three years old. He goes on adventures that those among us with 20/20 vision wouldn’t dare to do. He holds the speed record for blind downhill skiing. He’s an inventor and an entrepreneur. And a husband and father.

In his early 40’s, he meets a doctor who tells him there’s a new procedure that might help him see again.

I won’t tell you what happens, but here’s a quote from May that pretty much captures his experience: “Some of the best things seemed to happen when you didn’t know for sure where you’d end up.”
This book does an incredible job of explaining the miracle of how we see – not just with our eyes, but with our minds – in ways that make things like stairs and faces much easier to navigate and understand.

And it got me thinking (as all the best books do) about two things:

1) How we perceive others by how they look rather than who they are.
2) What I’d miss if I couldn’t see.
Because May is blind, he doesn’t make assumptions about people based on appearance.

This might be twisted, but I can’t help but think what a blessing that would be.

To be able to focus on the really important things about people, rather than the superficial. To make no assumptions about that person based on how they look – only on the things they say and do.

Crashing Through helped me have an even greater appreciation for the bazillion shades of green in one maple tree. And the sagey-light leaves of the willow at the far left of the tree line beyond our backyard.

I’d miss all the subtle things – like candlelight and moonlight. The way that kind of light flickers and shadows and makes everyone look like they love you This Much.

I’d miss the reflections of people in the glass of revolving doors. And the clean lines of the portico at the Opera House.

I’d miss seeing the way the tip of Gromit’s tail wags across the floor when he’s sitting down and smiling.

I’d miss my Mom’s green eyes.

What would you miss?
I am reading: In between books for today
I am listening to: Morning office noises
And I am: Seeing things more clearly



Seeing the physical development/changes of my boys- I'd miss that the most.

msmoo1 said...

I would miss the morning dew drops on the blades of grass;
The swallows as they dip and dart across the summer sky – fast, fast fast;
The curve of the river and all its living and breathing;
God’s beautiful sunrises/sunsets and their magical colors as they are leaving;
I would miss the sacred moments of people’s faces and expressions that I hold so closely;
These things are just a small list of what I would miss mostly.

s.ray said...

-i'd miss the giant grin on my son's face when he gets a hit
-i'd miss my daughter's snaggle tooth smile
-i'd miss my wife's face when she's pssd at me
-i'd miss riding my bike...and golf..and tennis..and watching college football...and checkin out Milfs
-i'd miss watching rain and snowstorms
-i'd miss reading books and hedyblog
-i'd miss fall
-i'd miss looking out the airplane window
-I'd miss driving....road rage would end in my town
-but i already do feel blind..i don't get to see my dad anymore

Posolxstvo said...

I think I would adjust to all the forced lifestyle changes pretty well (after the requisite angry thrashing and cursing god for a couple of weeks), but I would really miss watching a good movie. And I don't think I would pick Braille up so easily, so I'd probably miss reading.